Photographer Tim Allen spotted this sign outside the Aldwych tube station, an abandoned London Underground station that recently opened up for tours. While photography bans are pretty common, the station has decided to only ban DSLRs due to “their combination of high quality sensor and high resolution”. Other cameras are allowed in, as long as they don’t look “big” enough to shoot amazing photos.
Last Friday, 45-year-old Chris White was at the Braehead shopping center near Glasgow, when he took a snapshot of his daughter Hazel eating some ice cream. He was then confronted by security guards — and later the police — who cited the Prevention of Terrorism Act to explain that it was in their rights to confiscate his phone. While they did allow him to keep the photos, they demanded his personal details. Afterward, White created a Facebook page titled “Boycott Braehead” in an effort to draw attention to the incident. Read more…
After the widespread looting that occurred in the UK recently, a guy named Mrog Deville was inspired to distribute photographic art to the masses. Through his project This Was Found, Deville makes prints of photographs, frames them, and then leaves them in various locations where you normally wouldn’t expect to see art. His hope is that either the works will be left untouched at those locations for the public to view, or that people take them home to treasure privately. Finders can also visit the website to report the print as being claimed.
A 19-year-old man in the UK has been sentenced to two months in prison for snapping a courtroom photo. Paul Thompson was sitting in a public gallery last week — the defendant was a friend who was on trial for robbery — when another friend texted him to ask where he was. Thompson decided to snap a picture with his Blackberry to explain why he couldn’t talk, but was quickly arrested by officers who noticed what he was doing. He was then sentenced to two months in prison for “contempt of court” by Judge Barbara Mensah, who wanted to send out a strong message:
There are notices all around the court building about not taking photographs in court. This is a serious offence and the message must go out that people cannot take photos.
Although two months in jail seems harsh, it could have been worse: CBS News notes that the law gives the courts the right to jail someone for up to two years for photography.
It looks like all the negative news stories about photographers’ rights in the UK is finally causing some positive change — private security guards across the nation are being instructed (for the first time) to exercise some common sense when stopping and questioning picture-takers:
Detective Sergeant David Parkes, a counter-terrorism advisor at the Metropolitan Police, has instructed private security staff to consider why a terrorist planning an attack would openly take photos in locations that can be readily viewed on the internet.
‘Why would a terrorist put himself at risk of being caught if he can get [the image] by logging onto Google,’ said DS Parkes [...]
[...] Parkes replied that the type of equipment is of ‘no significance’ to the risk a person may be planning a terrorist attack, adding that he believed ‘the bigger the camera, the less likely they are going to do anything [suspicious] with it’.
On June 21, 2011, non-profit organization Shoot Experience sent out six photographers to various parts of London to see the current state of photographers’ rights.
Some used tripods, some went hand held, one set up a 5 x 4.
All were instructed to keep to public land and photograph the area as they would on a normal day. The event aimed to test the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers.
The result? Every one of the photographers was confronted at least once, and in three cases the police were called.
“Tombstoning” is what people in the UK call jumping into water from a cliff upright and feet first, like a tombstone. If you have a friend gutsy enough to do this, try shooting multiple exposures as they’re falling and combine them into a single image. Photographer Alastair Sopp captured the beautiful image above of a nameless daredevil jumping from a 100 foot cliff into 20 feet of water (yikes!).
When American photographer Alex Soth arrived in the UK earlier this year to work on a commission for the city of Brighton‘s photo biennial, he was told by the customs officer at the airport that he couldn’t do his photography work without a work visa, and that getting caught might result in two years of jail time.
Instead of going ahead with the project anyway or calling it off, Soth decided to hand his camera over to his 7-year-old daughter Carmen. The duo strolled around Brighton for a few hours each day, with Alex directing many of Carmen’s photographs while Carmen looked to check off entries on the shooting list she made (shown above). Read more…
Over the past year, Demotix has issued press passes to select active citizen journalists. But now, the UK Press Card Authority, which issues press credentials for news organizations like BBC and SKY, warned that the press passes are not the same, nor should they be treated similarly to official credentials issued by the Authority. Furthermore, UK Press Card Authority chairman Mike Granatt said he would share his concerns with UK police and authorities, saying that the Demotix passes may appear similar to the official national press passes.
Our concern is that the police and third parties might be misled by the Demotix card. Its intention is confirmed by Demotix’s advice on their website, which suggests ‘ … walking up to the authorities with swagger, then shove the press pass in their face along with “that’s right, I have access to this event” grin on your face’.
No professional journalist would behave like that. And no one should encourage anybody to try to bluster their way past a cordon or into an event with this hobbyists’ ‘press pass’.
NewsARSE has a pretty funny satirical piece poking fun at the photographers’ rights situation in the UK:
Police forces have been taking an extremely tough stance against any members of the public wishing to take photographs of public buildings and public places, leaving many would-be terrorists unhappy at the implication they are also photographers.
As one member of a Coventry-based Al Qaeda cell explained to us, “I resent being treated like I’m some sort of photographer. The officer who stopped me had absolutely no evidence that mere photography was my intention, so what right did he have to detain me and delete my photographs.”