Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Street photography

I do enjoy the challenge of Street photography; however, I am finding it increasingly difficult due to the shift of attitude in today's society and my experiences with the general public, particularly in the UK. One of my experiences, in 2010, was with the Police when I was taking photographs in my home town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. A friend of mine asked if I could tutor his 12yr old daughter, in photography. For the purpose of this blog and anonymity I will call her Susan. I agreed, gave her a camera to use and headed into town. She was initially nervous; however, became more confident, less embarrassed and began enjoying the experience. It was whilst I was taking a photograph of a shop dummy in a closed down shop window that we were approached by two police officers. Susan became anxious and I reassured her that it would be okay and maybe they might let her take a picture of them. This was not to be the case. They first of all inquired into what we were doing, I gave the explanation above. The Police informed us that we were not allowed to take photographs in the town, further informing us that it was due to the anti terrorism act. Whilst trying to reason with the Police Susan's anxiety increased to the point where she became tearful and she believed she was in terrible trouble. At no point did the Police reassure her. I stood my ground and informed the Police of my rights to take photographs in public places. Again, I was reminded of the anti-terrorism act and was told we could only proceed if we gave our personal details to the police, which was then radioed to the local Police Station. Again, no reassurance was given to my friends daughter. We were eventually allowed to continue; however, by this time Susan had lost her confidence and felt fearful of taking any more photographs.
This is one of many experience I have encountered whilst engaged in Street photography and I am interested if anyone else has had similar encounters with the Police, the general public or shop owners when taking photographs.  Its not a crime to take photographs in public places and people should not be treated as if they are committing an offense.


1 comment:

  1. a clear misapplication of the legislation and the officers in question if the were, ie not CSO's do little to instill trust and confidence in the Police.