The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

The Death of Photography in the UK

Please read this:

uk-gov-nationalises-orphans-and-bans-non-consensual-photography-in-public

Lunacy!

What is happening to the world? It is getting so restrictive. The limits on photography that are growing daily and the freedoms to steal our hard work presented to the rich and powerful by the orphan works bill are troubling but they are just a symptom of a bigger ill.

Like when I was taking the picture above in London, a security guard came out of the Gherkin Tower (one of the most visually stunning building in the capital and definitely a site worth photographing) and asked me what I was doing. This was not, it transpired, a joke question, so when I told him what I thought would have been bleeding obvious to anyone else he informed me that I wasn’t allowed because I was on private property and had to stand outside the tiled area to take photos and also I couldn’t take pictures of anyone inside the building. I looked down at my feet, saw the line he was talking about: the border of private and public space; his little empire of vacuous and irony-free power, and moved back the massive distance of 5 centimetres. That made him happy and I then went back to taking pictures, making sure to resume exactly the position I`d held before (only at a minutely greater distance) while he was still there enjoying his petty victory whereupon I pointedly told him that from where I now stood he had absolutely no authority to tell me to do or not to do anything.

I have only ever been stopped taking pictures in the UK and in Spain at an airport which is (I didn’t know at the time) illegal.

But it appears that, if certain law goes through soon (which is almost a foregone conclusion as they are so vaguely written it is hard for opposition MPs to object even if they cared) it could basically be illegal to take pictures in public places in the UK soon.

This quote from the link above hits home hardest:

“At a stroke, [the] ICO is redefining allowable photography to exclude all that contentious street stuff that has made the record of the last 150 years so insightful. Consensual falsehoods, celebrity promotion, ridiculous propaganda, marketing nonsense will all be fine, however.”

Nuff said!

If you are in the UK and like taking pictures try and stop this now by writing to your MP or whoever can and might make a difference.

Damon

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2 responses

  1. nexi

    Cheers, mate. I’ve already seen it. Photography is frowned on already in big shopping centres for ‘security issues’.

    February 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

  2. Not just lunacy but stupidity too.
    Its all a bit Orwellian, remove the publics right to document history, then if something happens you don’t like you can just delete it from the official records and it never existed/happened.
    Oh dear England.

    February 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm

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