If you’re ever in England and come across an old camper van with the words “Camper Obscura” splashed across the side, knock on the door and say hi to photographers Jonathan Blyth and Matthew Pontin. Since the summer of 2010, Blyth and Pontin have traveled widely around the South West of England, teaching people about photography from the rear cabin of the vehicle. Read more…
Their life sentences were cut short, however, when they were released in 2001 under the protection of new identities and a court order that prohibited the publication of any info that could reveal who they were. Now a full 12 years after their release, UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve is finally getting a chance to enforce that court order. Read more…
Magnum street photographer Bruce Gilden shoots his candid portraits on sidewalks by walking right up to strangers and sticking his camera and flash up into their faces, as seen in the “walking NYC streets” video we featured last year. In the behind-the-scenes video above, British Journal of Photography editor Olivier Laurent follows Gilden around as he shoots a project in Derby, England.
The Royal Family is really getting into social media: in addition to their YouTube channel, Twitter, and series of iTunes podcasts, the Family now has a Flickr account which went live to the public this morning. Currently, the British Monarchy’s photostream contains 683 uploads of both recent and older historical photographs. According to an announcement from the Royal Collection, photos will be continually added to the account. The Flickr account launch was scheduled to coincide with the summer opening of Buckingham Palace. Some of the images featured on the photo-sharing site are to be featured in the exhibit, The Queen’s Year, which opens tomorrow at the Palace.
Police in England recently raided a Bowdon house to find 22,000 fake camera cases worth an estimated £500,000.
Messenger Newspapers reports that the cases were branded as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax and Kodak. A 40-year-old man at the residence was also taken into custody.
His downfall came when Canon discovered the counterfeit bags being sold online and conducted a number of “sting” purchases, passing on the information they discovered to authorities.
Something else that caught our eye about this story was that the police also discovered counterfeit camera lenses at the residence. All of us have obviously heard of fake bags before, but counterfeit lenses? I’d like to see one of those.
Over the weekend 16-year-old freelance photographer Jules Mattsson was photographing police cadets in an Armed Forces Day parade in London when he was approached by police and told that he needed parental permission to photograph the cadets.
According an audio recording of the incident, the police officer argued, at first, that it was illegal to take photographs of children, before adding that it was illegal to take images of army members, and, finally, of police officers. When asked under what legislation powers he was being stopped, the police officer said that Mattsson presented a threat under anti-terrorism laws. The photographer was pushed down on stairs and detained until the end of the parade and after the intervention of three other photographers.
Mattsson, having been stopped by police before, started recording audio of the incident on his cell phone in an attempt to capture the arguments that police use against photographers. In the recording, an officer can be heard stating that they didn’t need a law to detain Mattsson.
This reminded me a little of the confrontation between a photog and policeman in Los Angeles that we wrote about earlier this month. However, in that case many commenters thought that the photographer had crossed a boundary and was intentionally provoking the officer in order to create a scene.
Amateur Photographer magazine is doing something about all the stories in the news of photographers being stopped and harassed by police in Britain. They’ve created a special lens cloth that has guidelines that were issued to Metropolitan police officers last year printed on. The lens cloth set will be bundled for free in the July 10th issue of the magazine, which hits newsstands on July 6 and lands in the hands of subscribers on July 3.
Now who’s going to step up and make one for photographers in the United States?
More good news for photographers in the UK. A week after UK’s terror tsar called for the abolition of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, UK’s Crime Minister David Hanson has new statements assuring photographers that anti-terrorism legislation should not be used to hinder photography. He is quoted as saying,
I recently met with Austin Mitchell MP, members of the Parliamentary All Party Photography Group and representatives of the photographic press and the Royal Photographic Society to discuss the issue of counter terrorism powers and offences in relation to photography.
I welcomed the opportunity to reassure all those concerned with this issue that we have no intention of Section 44 or Section 58A being used to stop ordinary people taking photos or to curtail legitimate journalistic activity.
Guidance has been provided to all police forces advising that these powers and offences should not be used to stop innocent member of the public, tourists or responsible journalists from taking photographs.
These powers and offences are intended to help protect the public and those on the front line of our counter terrorism operations from terrorist attack. For the 58A offence to be committed, the information is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
I have committed to writing to Austin Mitchell MP to reinforce this message and to follow-up on the representations made.
Indeed, news of photographers being stopped unreasonably has died down in recent weeks, so it seems as though things are becoming more photographer-friendly in the UK. If you’re in the UK, have you noticed any improvement?
Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, has begun calling for the abolition of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial stop and search law that allows police to search individuals without having reasonable suspicion has become the bane of many street photographers, who are often ordered to stop shooting and are detained when uncooperative.
In January, over 2,000 photographers gathered in Trafalgar Square in London to protest Section 44, and apparently the negative publicity has gotten the attention of the government. The London evening standard reported yesterday that Carlile has begun calling for the act to be repealed:
Lord Carlile of Berriew said the use of Section 44 powers was having a “disproportionately bad effect on community relations” and had become “counter-productive” in the fight against terrorism.
He also revealed that not a single arrest for terrorism offences and only “morsels” of intelligence had resulted from more than 200,000 such searches carried out last year — 151,000 in the Metropolitan Police area alone.
He suggests that the new law should allow searches without reasonable suspicion to be carried out only during terrorist events or around a small number of sites critical to the countries infrastructure.
What we found interesting was the following quote:
Nothing fills my in-tray and in-box more than complaints on the use of Section 44.