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UK photographers: the law and your rights: discussion

More photography laws?


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editor

hiraethified
"Oh you! You can't take that picture...."

So, I'm walking along Avemaria Lane (near St Pauls) minding my own business. It's quiet and there's barely anyone around.

Passing a car park, I take a snap from the pavement and am about to walk on when I hear a loud shouting:

"Oy! Oy! You! You with the camera!"

me: "'Scuse me?"

"Yes you - you can't take pictures"

me: "Err, yes, I can actually"

"Don't give me attitude. If I say you can't take pictures you can't"

me: "You're wrong, actually. I'm on a public highway and I am perfectly entitled to take pictures of anything I like thanks. That's UK law."

"Go on then, Take try and take another picture"

me: "I've already got the picture thanks"

(aggressively pointing his walkie talkie in my face) "Go on. Take another picture"

me: "are you threatening me?"

(louder and more aggressively) "Go on. Try and take a picture again. Go on"

me: "OK, if you insist." (takes another picture).
<pause>

(security man puts walkie talkie to mouth)
"Get me the flying squad"

*editor bursts into laughter and leaves.
 

editor

hiraethified
It's a pretty crap picture - I'll post it up later.

It's bad enough with there being so many privatised public spaces where arseholes in reflective jackets can legally stop you taking pictures without some tossing jobsworth trying to breach my rights in public areas.
 

maomao

四月她爹
What were you taking a photo of? It's just Stationers Hall and the backs of some buildings on Ave Maria Lane. Or were you further up Warwick Lane? There's some snotty legal companies up there.
 

mhendo

Aussie in Connecticut
You know, it's easy to laugh at morons like that, but i think that what photographers really need to do in situations like this is make a point of going to his superiors at the security company, and to the owners of the property, and telling them that they have a security employee threatening members of the public who are engaging in lawful activity.

It's possible that this guy is a wanker who just loves pushing people around, and that his actions aren't condoned by his bosses or the property owners. In that case, you give them a chance to discipline or fire him.

It also possible, however, that he's been told that he can, in fact, legally prevent people from taking photos, and that he has been ordered to try and stop picture-taking. In that case, you can make clear to the security company and/or the property owners that they are in breach of the law, and that you'll report them next time it happens.
 

editor

hiraethified
mhendo said:
It's possible that this guy is a wanker who just loves pushing people around, and that his actions aren't condoned by his bosses or the property owners. In that case, you give them a chance to discipline or fire him.
Thing is he was getting so riled up - especially after I burst into laughter after his "call in the Flying Squad" radio message that I considered it prudent to retire.

And then there's the thought that although the guy was a complete tosser, he's probably on a shit wage so who am I to try and get him sacked?

The fact that I stood my ground so firmly and was insistent that I was correct under UK law might just have sunk into his head and he won't be so quick to start on the next photographer.

Afterwards (as is always the case) I realised that I failed to employ my killer weapon during the argument - my valid UK press card!
 

Hocus Eye.

Snap, crop, scrap crap
R.I.P.
Have they still got a 'Flying Squad'? I wonder what the person on the other end of the radio conversation thought.
 

editor

hiraethified
gentlegreen said:
Is that him in the distance ?
No, that was his mate. The guy was standing 5 metres to my right and started giving it the big "Yo! Yo!" treatment as I was taking the shot.
 

maomao

四月她爹
Saturday shift in a loading bay in the city. Was probably the only thing that had 'happened' all day. I'm trying to work out what that's the back entrance to. I know I've been in there.
 

editor

hiraethified
maomao said:
Saturday shift in a loading bay in the city. Was probably the only thing that had 'happened' all day. I'm trying to work out what that's the back entrance to. I know I've been in there.
It was a short way up from Amen corner and just a little way down from Cutlers Hall (on the opposite side).
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
With the stupid number of cameras in the City taking pictures of everything and everyone, the very idea that "you can't take a picture"... what, there's a law somewhere that says you have to be a landowner to take pictures?

"Get me the flying squad" is class :D
 

mhendo

Aussie in Connecticut
editor said:
Thing is he was getting so riled up - especially after I burst into laughter after his "call in the Flying Squad" radio message that I considered it prudent to retire.
That's completely understandable. You definitely don't want to risk physical harm. I was talking more about going back later, or contacting his employers by phone or letter or email.
editor said:
And then there's the thought that although the guy was a complete tosser, he's probably on a shit wage so who am I to try and get him sacked?
I understand this train of thought too, because i am always very reluctant to complain about a low-wage employee. A waiter would probably have to spit in my food right in front of me before i would try to have him fired. Shitty jobs can make people rude sometimes, and i try to cut them some slack.

That said, i really draw the line at physical intimidation and violence. I don't care if you're on a crappy wage, you don't get to threaten me for carrying out lawful activity in a public place. Thugs are thugs, and their income level isn't an excuse, IMO.
editor said:
The fact that I stood my ground so firmly and was insistent that I was correct under UK law might just have sunk into his head and he won't be so quick to start on the next photographer.

Afterwards (as is always the case) I realised that I failed to employ my killer weapon during the argument - my valid UK press card!
I hope you're right that he's learned a lesson, but i'm not holding my breath. The press card would have been a lovely touch; shame you didn't think of it.
 

editor

hiraethified
mhendo said:
he press card would have been a lovely touch; shame you didn't think of it.
Like all my best lines, they're thought up about five minutes after the moment has passed. Doh!
 

editor

hiraethified
FridgeMagnet said:
"Get me the flying squad" is class :D
Up until that point it was getting a little hairy. I was determined to stand my ground and he clearly wasn't going to back down, but as soon as he delivered that ridiculous line I pissed myself laughing and thought it the perfect point to leave.
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
I couldn't have taken it seriously after that either :D

Heh, this has inspired me to take a few more pictures around where I work, I'm just near the Old Bailey and there are some terrific buildings there. (Camera's screen is knackered but it still takes pictures.)
 

Firky

The first of the gang
Banned
Sounds like my experience at Canary Wharf. Went to see tp on her lunch break and thought I'd take a few photos. Got a right bollocking. I think I posted about that too. Turns out they're right... Canary Wharf is a big slice of private American owned land in London, still it was funny watching all the CCTV cameras tracking me as I chain smoked my way around their pristine enviroment.
 

toggle

wobbly
mhendo said:
You know, it's easy to laugh at morons like that, but i think that what photographers really need to do in situations like this is make a point of going to his superiors at the security company, and to the owners of the property, and telling them that they have a security employee threatening members of the public who are engaging in lawful activity.

It's possible that this guy is a wanker who just loves pushing people around, and that his actions aren't condoned by his bosses or the property owners. In that case, you give them a chance to discipline or fire him.
knowing the way in which security companies flout the law in many areas, I seriously doubt they would give a shit.

It is also possible that the 'arseholes in reflective jackets' has been told that he will be sacked if he doesn't stop people doing something that they are legally allowed to do. my partner has worked enough as a arseholes in reflective jacket and that is about the least of the illegalities that his employers have tried.

The arsehole is probably on 12 hour shifts, minimum wage and a shift pattern that makes a lot of them ill.

get me the flying squad' is complete fuckwittery though. I'll have to see if himself will try that line on someone and see how they react.
 

aurora green

Tectonic
:D ^


FridgeMagnet said:
With the stupid number of cameras in the City taking pictures of everything and everyone, the very idea that "you can't take a picture"...

It is indeed a funny old state of affairs, where we are photographed everywhere incessantly, and yet it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to take photos...
 

BlackSpecs

The DogFather
when i went to Camberwell-College of Arts there where always countless stories from people going to Brixton to take some "edgy" images and returning without film or a smashed camera because they happened to include the local drug dealer in their pictures ! :D :(
 

nonamenopackdrill

Banned
Banned
Is it ok to take pictures of the Barbican car park (that's what it looks like if it's not) by law if they ask you not to?

edited to add that this is a serious question re private property. I don't know the law.
 

editor

hiraethified
BlackSpecs said:
when i went to Camberwell-College of Arts there where always countless stories from people going to Brixton to take some "edgy" images and returning without film or a smashed camera because they happened to include the local drug dealer in their pictures ! :D :(
Well, showing some respect for the people you're photographing and being a bit street wise is a different matter. :D
 

editor

hiraethified
nonamenopackdrill said:
Is it ok to take pictures of the Barbican car park (that's what it looks like if it's not) by law if they ask you not to?
If you're standing on a public highway, sure. The law is basically, "you can photographs whatever the fuck you like so long as you're not on someone else's private property."
 

nonamenopackdrill

Banned
Banned
editor said:
If you're standing on a public highway, sure. The law is basically, "you can photographs whatever the fuck you like so long as you're not on someone else's private property."
You can't though. You can't photograph children, for example (I don't think) and you certainly can't display such photos.
 

editor

hiraethified
nonamenopackdrill said:
Is that what you are?
When I'm taking pictures, I try to be, and I'm sure most other photographers here try to be the same too.

That's why this site has got over 500+ pictures of Brixton street scenes and I've never returned home with a broken camera.
 

editor

hiraethified
nonamenopackdrill said:
You can't though. You can't photograph children, for example (I don't think) and you certainly can't display such photos.
Yes, you can, so long as it doesn't break any other laws.

Or do you think they filter out all the children passing by in news pieces, for example?
 
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