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Should nativity photography be banned?

sinargee 18 245
5 Feb 2003 11:13PM
No, because you differ from the majority of common sense, law abiding citizens. Right
photoid 18 57
6 Feb 2003 8:44AM
You may call yourself whatever you like. So by simply calling yourself an "artist", you achieve a special status within society, and ordinary law and order should no longer apply to you ?
This is art theory?
When we discuss "censorship" in "art" I believe that we usually refer to the finished artwork, and not the individual artist as a person.
We censor people by putting them in jail, not because they are "artists", but because they have broken some silly law or another.
I hope this is not another attempt to use a photographic forum as a platform for personal political theories.
mad-dogs 18 2.2k England
6 Feb 2003 9:03AM
Alan C.

Making a stand against unjust laws or suppression is fine if common sense is applied.
However, if you choose to stand up for your rights to photograph, draw or paint around such areas as oil refineries, airports or chemical companies at the moment, you will no doubt be deemed a possible terrorist and will most likely be arrested and treated as one. You will then be subject to the anti-terrorist laws which are far more severe than tresspass etc..
Big Bri 19 16.7k United Kingdom
6 Feb 2003 9:17AM
Alan. The majority of people drive. One person speeding is not going to make you think that every other driver speeds. (Well, it wouldn't make MOST people believe that - from your earlier comments you believe everyone speeds anyway). Photographers however are a "minority". Complaints about behaviour like yours will lead to stronger laws on privacy and even less rights. This is what happened to the gun- rather than camera-shooting community. One idiot and they take the guns off everyone else. Which has stopped gun crime hasn't it. er.. (getting a bit off topic I know).
Point is, the gun lobby stood up for their rights, refused to give an inch and so had their guns removed. Had they met the government half way with sensible proposals their sport may have been saved. Same with photography. If you are prepared to respect peoples privacy, the problem will go away. If you are so bloody minded that you insist on taking the shot, even when you are clearly in the wrong, the laws WILL get worse for all of us.
photoid 18 57
6 Feb 2003 9:43AM
Bri, the thing is that everyone has cameras. Everyone thinks that they are artists. I don't think that one person's bad behaviour would change anything for the rest of us. Do you realise how many selfish, arrogant people there are out there ?

To be taken seriously, one has to ask permission, present one's credentials , whether it is to photograph a person or a place, or an event.
By contacting the head office concerned in advance , you also avoid embarrassing public scuffles with security guards. Or policemen.

6 Feb 2003 6:44PM
This debate was initiated by Pete, who asked for our views concerning the banning of photography at a school play. The ban was because of worries that images could get into the hands of paedophiles.
There was some discussion of the problems society faces in dealing with child pornography and the perpetrators thereof. This is a very sensitive and emotive issue on which many people hold strong or opposing views.

I did not comment on the child sex debate because, although I obviously have opinions, it is not something I can comment on with any authority or insight. An opinion that carries no authority also carries no credence. So Mr A says "They should all be shot", Ms B says "No they shouldn't", and we get nowhere. Remember I'm talking here about debate, not Mr A getting a higher vote than Ms B and them being shot.

Then came the wider implication, which was anticipated from the start, "Where does it end?".
Free Speech and Human Rights. That's what we're debating here. Many of you have raised concerns about being asked to stop taking photographs or about when and where we can or cannot do so. "think" and "maybe" and "if" being noticably prevalent.
This is where I came in and stated that in MY opinion we should not allow ourselves to be prevented from taking photographs because ANYONE tells us we must not. Say "No" I said and carry on. Now that is ALL I said(read it again). The reason I said what I did is that some people believe that they have authority when in fact they do not. So, if I am told to stop I say "NO" and bring into question the persons authority. Remember we are talking civil liberties and human rights here. For this Big Bri tells me I am not standing up for my rights but am the sort of person who gets the rest a bad name(go on, read the posts again; that's the thing about these forums, one cannot change or conceal what one has said). When we are dealing with issues like freedom of speech there are bound to be conflicting opinions but "a bad name?". I presume that when Big Bri is asked to stop he meekly complies for fear of repercussions(bad name). At no time have I advocated violence or abusive behaviour, just refuse to comply and see what happens. It is my experience(and I'd be interested to hear what has ACTUALLY happened to anyone in a similar situation)that ninety-nine times out of a hundred the authority is absent, there is no rule this or regulation that. Again, remember we are talking about Human Rights, heavy duty. What about the one time out the hundred? Well, that's up to the individual. It's a choice one makes. What is the greater wrong to humanity, that we all are unlawfully denied, or that in challenging that unlawfullness one individual suffers?
Now to the lawfull bit. Much has been said about the law being the law and the law being democratic and again Big Bri takes issue and tells us that laws are part of a civilised society and that we can't just break the ones that we don't agree with. Well he's wrong because we can all do what what our will allows us and he's wrong because he breaks the law when he speeds on the motorway. As I said earlier "let he who is without sin blah, blah" What we must remember about laws is that they are not written in stone and they are not sanctioned by any god. They are made up to suit peoples needs and wants. I am not a total anarchist and I am the first to admit that without law and order our society wiuld be a mess but I do beleive in an individual or group of individuals right to contest any law or rule they see as unjust. And I do agree with the principle of Direct Action.
And next "in the name of Art". Photoid says sarcastically "wow, that changes everything". Does it? How do you know? Are you one too?
Well, yes, it does change everything actually. Why? Well because if it's art it should not be censored. My opinion? NO, FACT. Want proof, paint a portrait of George Bush with the word A*S*H*L* across his chest and display in public. Libel, slander or whatever, I think not. I did just that several weeks ago as part of an anti Israel demo in Glasgow . The police threatened to arrest me. They didn't.
I'm not going to go on now about the function of Art in society because I have rattled on too long already but I have to say;
I have noticed that in several forums people are being castigated for being "an artist". Art has always sought to enlighten and emancipate and has always and always will be in the forefront of "issues". This seems to bother some people. We all know that there are many who would freely admit that they don't understand Art, maybe Those who fear it should look longer, listen harder, and learn.
Sorry about the length. No I'm Not.
Big Bri 19 16.7k United Kingdom
6 Feb 2003 7:12PM
Alan, I think I have been taken out of context. I am all for you standing up for your rights (and mine) to take photographs where that right exists. However, your point was that you refuse to stop shooting even when you do NOT have the right. Artistic censorship ? Crap. It is about invasion of privacy. If you want to shoot a picture of my daughter, the fact you are an artist changes nothing. I agree art shouldn't be censored (and I fully support your anti-Bush stance). But censoring ART and stopping photographs being taken in certain places is not the same issue.

Regarding the law issue. Lets say I come from a foreign land and my religion says it's OK to sacrifice children to my god. Does that mean it's okay to do it here (or only if it's done artistically) ?? Is child porn OK if it's artistic ? No ? But that's art censorship....
photoid 18 57
6 Feb 2003 8:51PM
About my sarcasm : I truly believe that just anyone can call their "ridiculous offerings " art , and who am I to disagree?

That does not mean I have to perceive it as such.

The main thing is : have we or have we not established that "breaking boundaries" in "art" does not imply trespassing?

I could not care less about your politics , as I am sure you are equally uninterested in mine.

( I may be more curious about seeing your nude self-portraiture.... )
6 Feb 2003 9:43PM
Brian, (sorry about the Big Bri all the time, Ive just discovered how to see who people are) you seem to be missing my point. I did not say I refuse to stop when I am in breach of the law. Its when I believe that no such law exists in the first place or that when the statuary law being cited is, in my opinion, at odds with the laws on human rights or civil liberties that I refuse to obey Do you not know that laws and statutes have been repealed in the past because people stood up and said NO. As I say, nothing is cast in stone, what is unlawful today might be lawful tomorrow.
You again cite the scenario of me photographing your daughter. If I break other laws e.g. trespass, breaking & entry, etc then, yes, you can have me charged probably. But if I photograph her in the street for example then I am within my rights and you are powerless to stop me. Please note I am not talking about stalking or harassment here, walk up, focus, shoot.
Invasion of privacy. Stay at home then. If its in the public domain then its fair game.
If, as an artist, I am prevented from taking the images I need and the taking of these images cannot be proven to cause any actual harm then that is censorship. Individual fears or concerns are that, fears and thoughts, not hard facts.

As for the foreign country bit, it helps to highlight the point Im trying to make. One can sit in a bar or cafe in Amsterdam and legally smoke cannabis. In good old UK its illegal. What makes one nationality right and another wrong? If I am a criminal because I smoke a spliff in Britain what about when the law is eventually changed to bring us in line with our more enlightened European brothers.
If a law is unjust then it is unjust and should, nay, must be challenged.

As for child sacrifice, please dont get me started on religion. Politics is bad enough.
6 Feb 2003 9:53PM
I don't know what you do for a living, but how would you feel if I said about your lifes work.." Ooooh well, wow," and described your work as "ridiculous offerings" A bit nasty?

There is NO law of trespass in Scotland.

And no, you're not seeing my bits.
jenchris 18 3
7 Feb 2003 7:53AM
I think that there will not be an easy way forward on the rights issue.
How about looking at how effective the ban on recorded images will be:
a/ public places there will be little or no chance of stopping the recording as it could never be effectivly policed and lots of people will not stop recording or give valid or any id when challenged and still get the images. Also as its a "public" place do we have any rights to stop people viewing us then or later via recordings - I think not and its not practically enforcable to stop them recording at the time.

b/private places we could reaonabley expect to be able to apply privacy and expect no images to be recorded by any means possibly even by an artist (drawing) at the scene or from memory after the event. But will everyone even agree that the event was private or should have been private again I think not so we are back to enforcement and I think it still almost impossible to enforce at the time.

As for getting permission
Permission ???
verbal permission is of no use as you could get permission and then have it withdrawn later, if you get verbal permission from some but not all were do you stand ? What permission is being sought ? To take the image? To take it and use it in anyway you see fit? Did you miss someone out whos permission was not sought or who is unavailable?
Written permission would need a major legal undertaking from both sides so in most cases no one would agree to give permission so written permission would not be sought in practice

So in practice that leaves us with images being taken at all events with or without permission and we are only left to debate the usage and penalties for misusage of the images at a later date. This is my view of what will occur in reality whether I agree with it or not.
Big Bri 19 16.7k United Kingdom
7 Feb 2003 9:49AM
Alan, as I said I fully support you standing up for your rights where the exist. The debate was about refusing to stop taking photographs even when you are required to do so.
You may think the laws on smoking dope are unjust (and I agree) but it is not up to you or me to decide, it is up to our elected representatives (god help us). You are probably a well adjusted bloke whose ideas of which laws are unjust are fairly average. But everyone has their own opinion. What about the nutter down the street - is it OK for him to do whatever he likes because he thinks it's OK ?

{sorry this has gone so far off topic)

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