The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

The long eyes of the law

Even in Japan

Been a bit worried of late about what I hear is a growing culture of intolerance in the UK. Especially regarding the rights to take photos in the street upon my return to England.

The catch all (and that is almost literally all) laws of anti-terrorism and public order now seem to have made almost and any act unacceptable to someone or other and thus illegal. Photographers particularly are being singled-out because we are being lumped together with paedophiles and terrorists planning an attack, as the worrying poster campaign  by the Metropolitan Police or better here shows.

The most worrying thing for me is how the British population is now complicit in reducing it`s own freedoms. But Sion Touhig puts it better than me over on his site with a surprisingly pertinent quote from Hermann Goring of all people!

Some sense of perspective is really needed as this article says. Street photography is not a crime. It, more than any other art form, has contributed to our understanding of ourselves and our culture. As Jeremy Sutton Hibbert says here, in Japan we are lucky to be able to take pictures pretty much where and as we want. For now at least!

Carrying a camera does not make me any more a suspicious person than someone without one particularly when plans, locations  and pictures of all public building can be found on a googlemap or in a Lonely Planet guide book. And using a camera to record what I see in my own ways, even if that is a festival or a child or a bridge, does not make me a criminal.

Where have our freedoms gone and why is no-body angrier at their loss? It is a smaller step now than at any time in our history to living in  fascist state. I`ve probably just fucked up my wife`s visa application by writing that. For example, because I`m sure the embassy are checking…hello UKNOW people or U KNOW (too much)!  🙂

Hopefully this stupidity will blow over in the near future. With new people in power who actually care about others more than themselves; especially, if Americans get it right this time and put a black man the White House, this culture of fear and the attendant powers of control that corrupt men connected to big business are seizing the opportunity to use will disappear. I hope that those who have profited from those abuses will also be held accountable one-day. But I`m not so hopeful of that.

Now I have to pack… …

Damon

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One response

  1. My first thought about trying to police people taking pics in London who aren’t registered photogs is how on earth do you track everyone?
    When I was back in the (Y)U.K last year and taking some london sights photos for a Japanese web page, I wasn’t the only one using an SLR. The tourists numbered in the many many and those not holding cameras that looked like an SLR were holding cameras that take similar pictures even if they don’t have the versitility.
    You would need the army and all their friends to police london, let alone the rest of the country.

    April 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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