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The water feature and the law.


Jestertheclown
6 6.6k 242 England
1 Aug 2012 10:54PM
31-07-12-fountains-44.jpg



In the centre of Luton, in a busy, pedestrianised open area, there's a corner put aside at this time of year for a kind of children's play area. There's a mobile roundabout, a couple of rides and a fixed water feature, consisting of several rows of nozzles, set into the ground which squirt water into the air at set intervals and presumably, to a pre-ordained pattern.
Chloe, my ten-year-old, decided in her infinite wisdom, that it would be a good idea to go and play in the water. I didn't have a problem with it, so she removed her jacket (and later, her trousers) and got stuck in.
Obviously, I had my camera and I wasn't going to miss an opportunity so I began taking photographs as she leapt about.
We were in plain view of anyone passing and many did, laughing and passing comment as they did so.
After a while, another parent arrived, a lady with two boys. One was about six and the other, a toddler, still in his or her nappies.
She said 'hello,' laughed at Chloe and got her two undressed, down to nappies and underpants and they joined in.
As it happened, I'd stopped taking photographs before she arrived but simply out of courtesy, I would have done so when her children joined in anyway.
We were sitting a little way apart, just watching our children, when two PSCOs arrived on the scene and asked the lady if the children were all hers. Obviously she pointed out that Chloe was with me, so they came to see me instead.
Apparently, someone in a control box somewhere had seen on their CCTV, a man (that would be me) with what was described as a big camera, taking photographs of a girl (that's Chloe) playing in the fountains.
They asked my name and what was my relationship to Chloe. Chloe herself told them her name and where we lived.
I explained that I had only taken photographs of Chloe and no-one else and offered to show them the contents of my camera.
They very politely declined, saying that they had no real need to look but that we would have to wait with them while someone at the other end of his talking brooch checked that we were who we said we were.
That didn't concern me at all and we stood, chatting quite happily as the checks were carried out, during which time, I mentioned that I was a teaching assistant, worked in a school and was the holder of two enhanced certificates.
They eventually did look at my images, just out of curiosity and we all had a giggle at Chloe's antics.
Finally, a disembodied voice informed the officer that I was one of the good guys and with a friendly pat on the arm and a 'goodbye and thank you for being so co-operative' to both of us, they went on their way.

The whole affair took about ten minutes of my time, at the end of which I'd concluded that firstly, if you treat these people with a modicum of respect; they'e only doing their job after all, you'll probably find it reciprocated and secondly, that the guy in the CCTV control room was actually paying attention to what was going on.

In the event, I was obviously doing nothing wrong but it could have been a different story.

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tpfkapm e2
3 151 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2012 11:04PM
I agree that it pays to be polite, but what I object to is the bias towards fathers. This has happened to me, but I wasn't taking pics, and lots of the mums(?) were . I pointed out that it was unfair, particularly as the assumption that men are the only wrong doers has been completely proven wrong, and I politely requested that they check all the women taking pics to ensure that they were "legit"

They did!
NEWMANP e2
6 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:10AM
why would it have been so wrong to take pictures, its been acceptable for the last 100 years. why is it acceptable if they are 3rd world children in travel pictures.

i resent that people are trying to draw comparisons between child abuse and photographers. and does it matter if its a small or a big camera, what bearing on anything has that.
has all this gone too far.
Focus_Man 4 481 631 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:21AM
I carry a little card which clearly states " ( I don't know how to show it here)

I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER
1 AM NOT A TERRORIST
I AM NOT A PAEDOPHILE ALL IN LARGE CAPITALS WITH THE "NOT" in red and the rest in black followed by this in smaller print.

In UK Law, a photographer can legally take a photograph in any public place.
Whilst there are exceptions such as the security of certain defined premises,
there are no other restrictions upon the photography of anyone in a public place
be they adult or child, civilian, military or police.

I didn't invent this I copied the idea from asomebody who wrote an article in a photographic magazine. It does come in handy as a lot of people do not know the law. I was photographing an oil refinery (Industrial landscape) from the road outside when two security officers dashed up to me in an attempt to both take control of my camera and to arrest me. I showed them the card, whilst keeping tight hold of my camera, and explained the law about photographing from a public place, the road outside. Eventually, they became very nice and suggested that I could offer the management copies of the pics to decorate their foyer.

So it can come in handy, (just make a few on cardboard) and I recommend it to you.
alansnap e2
10 529 23 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:24AM
The law is clear. You were in a public place and the children were also. You can take photographs of whatever you like. Check The RPS site. As a member I carry a card that gives advice agreed with the ACPO. The first sentence of this is "Every person has a right to photograph in a public place." If this harassment is starting again, please report the facts to your local police authority. The instance of this is declining but it is obviously still a problem. A lot of work went into agreeing this and the RPS did a sterling job, ignored by their detractors of course. Principles were established and should be known to the police and PCSOs, and you cannot be searched unless there is a police officer present, and only then if there is suspicion that a crime is likely to take place or have taken place. Provided you are not taking photographs in aid of terrorism, you can photograph what you like in a public place - and that includes all the posh buildings you can name too. Only if you are standing on private ground can you be asked to stop and then it should be by the owners not the police.

Nice photo, and Chloe looks as if she's having a ball.
Alan
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:24AM

Quote:Why would it have been so wrong to take pictures, its been acceptable for the last 100 years. why is it acceptable if they are 3rd world children in travel pictures.
has all this gone too far.



Yup. AFAICS there is no crime and no hope
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:36AM
I don't see the police as the problem, especially as they seem to be becoming more relaxed about photography whether it is of buildings or people. The real issue for me is the public who make the automatic assumptoin that man-with-camera = paedophile, or photographer =invading my privacy (or someone making a quick buck out of me). If they complain to the police then the police have an obligation to look further and so they should.
collywobles e2
10 3.4k 9 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:56AM
I would have told them that I am taking photgraphs legally and what ever else they think they can go to hell! I had one security guy approach me on the Southbank and inform me that I had to stop taking photos as it was private property - I said that I would oblige povided he also stopped all the tourists taking photo's with their smartphones and compacts - he walked away and I carried on. I realise confrontation is not necessarily the best approach but sometimes you just have to, to make your point.

PS: I am CRB checked!
kaybee e2
10 4.0k 24 Scotland
2 Aug 2012 9:53AM
I am glad to see a posting where the photographer is happy with what happened and has pointed out the good points.

What I am not happy about is the way the thread seems to be taken over as an "I am doing no wrong - bugger off and leave me alone" rant.
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 10:11AM

Quote:What I am not happy about is the way the thread seems to be taken over as an "I am doing no wrong - bugger off and leave me alone" rant.


What's wrong with that ? people are entitled to their say.
Having been stopped quite afew times by security guards, etc I tend to fall in to the "bugger off and learn the law" camp.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
2 Aug 2012 10:39AM

Quote:a man (that would be me) with what was described as a big camera


Use a compact or camera phone and nobody would have bothered you! Wink

Possibly even a CSC + pancake lens.
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 10:48AM
LOL I hadn't been bothered for ages - first day I went out with my CSC I got hasseled!
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
2 Aug 2012 11:02AM
I did say with pancake lens. Wink
franken e2
12 3.3k 4 Wales
2 Aug 2012 11:37AM

Quote:What I am not happy about is the way the thread seems to be taken over as an "I am doing no wrong - bugger off and leave me alone" rant.


Actually he isn't doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law and the only failing here is the lack of the understanding of the law by the two psco's in question.

It's not a rant actually as these two psco's had no right to actually make an approach in the first place. I was stopped photographing a building by one recently and I was in a public place.
I showed him information that I had on me and always carry with me that explains the law and his comment was,
"I was unaware of that!"

This was the information that I showed him and was free with AP
http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/photo-news/535640/photographers-rights-campaign-spawns-lens-cloth-launch
keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
2 Aug 2012 12:11PM

Quote:Actually he isn't doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law and the only failing here is the lack of the understanding of the law by the two psco's in question.


Not the case - the PCSO's were responding to a request to attend.


Quote:It's not a rant actually as these two psco's had no right to actually make an approach in the first place


Since when did anybody need 'a right' to approach anybody?

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