Project 365 – 12th Sept 2010 “PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME”

Posted: September 12, 2010 in Project 365
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Today’s photo was inspired by a blog I stumbled upon by Carlos Miller called ‘Photography is not a crime – It’s a first amendment right‘. His aim is to highlight the cases where photographers and videographers are being arrested for simply taking photos or videos. I also happen to think he is absolutely right to highlight some of these cases.

In the world today there is so much hysteria about people taking photos. For me, as someone who loves street photography, just photographing people as the are in their natural environment without makeup artists, photoshop, airs or pretences, I can’t begin to tell you the number of people who have given me grief about taking photos. For one I was in Sydney Park the other week and I was taking photos of locations I thought would be good for my fashion assignment for college. This woman comes up to me and asks me what I’m doing. Not that it was any of her business but I told her about my assignment. She still had a scowl on her face as she said “I thought you were some weirdo taking photos of my dogs”!!!. First of all, WHAT?! What is weird about taking photos of dogs? Imagine if you were entering a photo competition on animals (apparently one of the most difficult subjects to shoot) and didn’t have one yourself, where would you go but down to the local park. Some people might like the posed shots but I don’t especially unless it’s a portrait. I like to take photos of people as they are and you can’t do that if you stop to ask people or pets to pose because they automatically stop what they are doing and are aware of the camera and pose, or get their pets to pose.

Secondly she obviously doesn’t, as many people don’t, know the laws concerning photography in Australia, and most countries in the world. As long as you are in a public place, or a private property with permission, you can take photos or whatever and whoever you like, it is considered being like an extension of your memory, you already see the person or place and you are allowed immortalise that moment for personal or editorial purposes. Editorial being like a visual document of something documentary worthy, for example to accompany a newspaper story on people walking dogs in parks. Commercial photography is different and needs model/building releases. This would include taking a photo of someone with a dog and using it to promote a dog washing business for example.

Since 9/11 I guess there has been massive fear about people and what they’re doing like never before. Whatever theory you subscribe to about the perpetrators one thing is clear. They succeeded in their aim and that was to make people fearful. It also succeeded in giving people authority to ban whatever they like in the name of ‘security’. So many places now, like train stations have ‘No photography’ signs and their reason? You could be a terrorist taking photos of the infrastructure. Next they’ll be banning people from looking at anything as they walk past in case they remember what they saw. It’s threatening to get out of control and that is the real terrorism being practiced today, those that make us suspicious of each other, because it’s an attitude that spreads and spreads until we can’t enjoy anything because of fear.

I will quote one of my favourite songs in tomorrows blog as it ties in with this.


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