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Photographing Children


pulsar69 10 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2012 4:30PM
I read a post on my facebook page this morning the brief version of which is this .....

A man was seen by a woman taking photos near a school gates , he was approached and left in his car. The woman then reported it to the police and posted a description of the man and car on facebook ..

The problem i have personally with all this is although we need to be aware and watch our kids there is developing one rule for one and completely another for everyone else, for instance had that man just took a swift snap with his mobile would he have aroused any suspicion .. probably not , he no doubt had a bigger camera more obvious. Such is the argument for me that neither a child molester nor a terrorist is really going to make themselves obvious so the whole idea of targeting those seen to be taking photos with good equipment is completely flawed.

We need a much more measured approach in this country towards photography , some of the best images you see on the internet are of kids playing, exploring and just their natural expressions and way of being in front of the camera , yet the opportunities in this country are limited to rubbish school photos or white background shopping mall teddy shots . God help you if you take photos of your child in a public place ( which is completely allowed ) as you may well be surrounded by a load of chavs who have watched far too much Newsround and wouldn't know a real camera from a mobile anyway.

Thoughts ?

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Jestertheclown
6 6.6k 242 England
19 Oct 2012 4:44PM

Quote:A man was seen by a woman taking photos near a school gates , he was approached and left in his car. The woman then reported it to the police and posted a description of the man and car on facebook ..

I'd be interested to know by whom he was approached and how they went about it. The description of what took place, as you repeat it is vague at best and meaningless at worst.
It would also be interesting to know what the Police said or did about it.
As for posting, presumably, her version of his and his car's description on a pointless social network site rather smacks of a lynch mob or vigilante mentality. Unless she knew, or had very good reason to suspect that he was up to no good, she may just be opening a very unpleasant can of worms.
He may well have had a very genuine reason to be taking photos.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
19 Oct 2012 4:54PM
Lol he could have been nothing more than a letting or estate agent and very innocent Smile
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
19 Oct 2012 5:50PM

Quote:she may just be opening a very unpleasant can of worms.


Or possibly even opening herself to libel action!
19 Oct 2012 6:08PM
Presumed guilty until proven innocent. Seems to be the way these days. The details are very sketchy ("he was approached and left in his car"). Did he run to his car and speed off or did he try to explain his actions first?

We use these incidents as a society to give an impression of "safety" and "caring" when really there seems to be a real lack of care for others. Government, for example, is eager to jump on this popular bandwagon when it's hard to see where it genuinely cares for people, or maybe they use it to divert us from the real, and genuinely dangerous, issues that affect us. For example, people who can't afford to heat their homes this winter. Some may even die as a result. Can't get much more dangerous than that. Or the greed of the big banks that has torn apart society.

Sure, someone who takes a picture "near" schoolgates may or may not be doing it innocently. But lets get real folks. If we are not honest about what is really happening around us and ultimately ourselves then we won't improve society.
pulsar69 10 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2012 6:09PM
I am not sure i would want to fuel any fire on this occasion by repeating exactly what was said on facebook but the description gave the mans clothing type partial car reg and make school and area name etc so was pretty specific and as you point out could be anyone really ( including being a bad thing or good thing )

The point i was trying to make and what i wondered on others opinions of has been answered there as I agree there is a definite vigilante mentality happening in this country and unfortunately it seems more ripe with those of lesser intelligence which in turn makes it more dangerous. I suppose by definition vigilantism would be attractive to those of a sheep like nature.

Deciding someone is guilty of something wrong purely for taking a photo, whether it be near a school an airport or a dis-used building is uneducated at best and is not going to advance the field of arts in this country one bit if our budding future artists are scared to practice.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
19 Oct 2012 6:24PM
Paedophiles - real and imagined - are the 21st century equivalent of witches... who also tended to be considered guilty until proved innocent!

It may be an over-reaction to society's neglect in the past.
779HOB
2 1.1k United Kingdom
19 Oct 2012 6:34PM
Personally I would report the FB user to the police - this guy might well be innocent, most likely is, and he could find himself with a burnt out car or worse.
cameracat e2
11 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
19 Oct 2012 6:51PM

Quote:are the 21st century equivalent of witches


Add to that Photographers, Real or imagined.....Grin

Now imagine your a photographer, Who just happens to have a couple of black cats on his premises.....Smile

LOL....Smile That said to continue to broadcast these incidents, For whatever reason, Just advertises them even further, Silent, Legitimate action via the authorities would be a better option.

As Focused said, Report the FB user to Facebook and or the police, If you feel its justified, That at least would be action in the right direction.

Wink
Big Bri e2
13 15.7k United Kingdom
19 Oct 2012 7:40PM
pulsar - if it was on your FB page, presumably you know this person? Did you ask them for any more details?

I'm all in favour of photographers' rights, but as a parent of two young girls, I also understand the reaction that a parent might have if this person was taking photos of the kids for no reason. I've photographed most of the kids at the primary school when mine were there, at the request of the head, and with the permission of the parents. If a parent approached me and didn't know me, I would happily talk to them, explain what I was doing, and if they asked, delete any photos of their child. Had I seen someone taking photos and then scarpering when approached (we don't know the details from your post) then I would be very suspicious of that person.

We have to stand up for our rights, as photographers, but we also need to show some common sense and understand parents' concerns.
pulsar69 10 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2012 7:55PM
No i dont know them it was a friend who commented on their post meaning that I then saw it , from what i can make out the man did leave when approached but once again that could be for the simple reason of not wanting to be labelled for taking photos near a school , on the other hand as you say best to be safe and she was right to approach him , i don't however agree with the over sensationalism of then posting it all over facebook in an almost 'look i caught a criminal' type approach, but i do believe it is this approach the government and the media are promoting.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
19 Oct 2012 9:13PM
We, as photographers, need to know our rights and to stand up for them, where appropriate.

However............. common sense must also be exercised and, especially with paedo activity very much currently in the public mind for pretty obvious reasons, we need to ensure we don't make ourselves easy targets for vigilantes and busybodies.

It can be a tough balance, but it's the only way, IMO.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
19 Oct 2012 9:16PM
So if you have a posh camera you saying you should be treated differently and are above suspicion ?
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
19 Oct 2012 9:19PM

Quote:So if you have a posh camera you saying you should be treated differently and are above suspicion ?


The exact opposite. If you have a camera phone and are a kid taking a pic of another kid, nobody will turn a hair.

A lone adult, standing outside school gates with (say) a Nikon D800 and a big lens is asking for, well, comment at the very least.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
19 Oct 2012 9:22PM

Quote:A lone adult, standing outside school gates with (say) a Nikon D800 and a big lens is asking for, well, comment at the very least


And so they should.

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