Friday, 29 February 2008

In front of the lens

Let me ask you a question:

Before the husband did his back in we went to the beach for his birthday earlier this month ( was THAT mild). The place was heaving with people; hearty dog-walkers, families with cute kiddies running around in brightly coloured wellies, elderly promenaders donning hats and sticks, some dudey surfers looking to brave the sea and a flock of photographers wielding tripods and zoom lenses obviously on some sort of club outing.

We nestled into an out-of-the-way spot, off the main drag and set up our barbeque bits. Max and Chloe climbed on the groynes and we lit the coals which smoked and smoked and smoked. To our left, a couple were climbing some rocks with two ferrets on leads sniffing around the crevices. To our right an older lady with white hair - probably a member of the photographers' troop - set up a camera on a tripod and trained the lens right on us. A few minutes later a man came and set up his camera right next to her. So there were two - looking directly at us.

They were really quite close and 'in your face'. If they had just been snapping quickly I wouldn't have minded really, but they were all tripodded up and stayed there for ages, taking picture after picture. We began to feel a little under the spotlight and it felt intrusive. Were they taking pictures of us or focusing on the ferrets?

Eventually my husband went up to the old lady and asked. Yes, she was taking pictures of us she said - the smoke from the barbeque looked beautiful apparently. Husband then commented - fairly I think - that he would have preferred that she ask our permission before taking pictures of us at which she acted surprised and mildly defensive, making out it was her right as a photographer to take pictures of whatever and whomsoever she liked.

Did she have a right? I don't think so. I always thought you had to ask permission to take photos of people, whatever country you are in - and especially when there are children involved.

What do you think?


belle said...

Yes, absolutely she should have asked! As someone who has very good reason for not wanting strangers to photograph her children I would have been incensed.

Katherine and Pippa said...

I'm not aware that you have to ask. For example - what about a crowd scene?

Situations are different though. I think two people setting up tripods in your face is pretty off actually and I would have asked them to go away if I didn't want the pics to be taken.

Hope it didn't spoil your day.

Mid-lifer said...

I agree Katherine and Pippa: crowd scenes are different, but personally if I were taking a photo (not a quick snap) of a particular family I would feel I had to ask.

I also know that schools ask for permission to broadcast photos of your children and when Chloe plays football, if a parent wishes to take snaps they have to have permission of all parents present. Not sure how the law stands though.

Tom Foolery said...

Although I enjoy photography, I would personally never dream of taking pictures of humans/children without first gaining permission TFX

Omega Mum said...

Not sure. We wouldn't get much in the way of TV or newspaper coverage without pictures but I think it's only common sense to ask individuals if you're setting up a camera next to them.

Tina said...

Mid-lifer, am afraid I'm dull enough to know the answer to this one. (I blame my job & a half assed life). If you're in public, ie outside, then anyone can take photos of you, it's why surveillance is allowed. If however you're in your house, then they can't peek through your window, it's in contravention of the Human Rights Act.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. Of course that's only the legal stuff - I would have thought common courtesy would have made them come & ask you if it was OK.

Mid-lifer said...

This is interesting. I certainly remember this stuff Tina from my journalism days, but I still wonder if there's an issue about photographing children. Does the general outside thing apply when children are involved? What if they are kids in a playground? Or likewise on a beach? And is there a difference between general outdoor photos and those requiring a tripod to be set up and a very obvious focus on one particular group including children?

riverwillow said...

Like Tina I know the answer this to - its the public/private property issue if you are on private property, in your garden, children in a school playground, and you enter that property you have to get permission, if you can film from the public highway, public land you are OK - but I always tell film crews in crowds to advertise their presence, through signs etc, so that anyone who is uncomfortable can move away. Certainly this couple should have asked your permission -- I certainly would have been unhappy to be photographed, but then I hate having my photo taken so much that close personal friends have to beg and wheedle.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Bloody Hell!!! I think it's down right intrusive and extremely rude of that woman to be honest. Cheeky cow! I would have been absolutely fuming. I hate people taking pictures willy nilly and especially people thinking they have every right to do so. It is common sense (obviously the woman has none whatsoever) that when anyone is in the obvious lens angle thingy magig, to ask nicely "would you mind". No way should that woman or anyone be allowed to take photo's of your children. And if anyone did of my daughter I'd confiscate the camera where it might jolly well hurt.

Rant over!
Crystal xx

She's like the wind said...

Whether or not it's allowed, it's common decency to ask, there you are trying to enjoy your day with strangers watching over you and your children. I would have been annoyed. x

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I'm with you and Husband. Ask!

Flowerpot said...

Yes definitely she should have asked. Crowd scenes are different to personal pics on a beach of a family. Some people are very strange.

Suzy said...

I was a professional photographer for 25 years or so and would ALWAYS ask if I wanted to do a photo shoot- which is what they were basically doing- without your permission. I would also always get written permsission to use them.

Very rude. Permission should have been asked. If they ever publish those photos they could be in big trouble without not having your permission to do so.

Crowd scenes are different-public domain and all that- but to set up on a tripod and make your family their "Shoot of the Day" is insensitive and just plain wrong.

They also should have offered you photos in return and identified themselves.

Sorry about the ranting.



Manic Mother Of Five said...

New mind the legalities, when did good manners fly out of the window?? Am with Belle, Crystal and Suzy on this one. Bloody cheek if you ask me. I will loan you the husband next time you need someone given a mouthful. He is brilliant in such situations as doesn't have my "shush someone's looking" hang ups.

Think that's it!

MMoF xx

KAREN said...

Ooh, your blog looks like mine!

I take a lot of pictures, and would ALWAYS ask permission, in that situation - especially with children in the scene. I didn't realise it wasn't actually a legal requirement, but it's just good manners, I think.

Mean Mom said...

I'm not a professional photographer. I wouldn't want to take pictures of strangers. Seems a bit weird to me. They certainly should have asked. I think I would have said 'No!'

I was looking through some old family photos just recently. On some of them, other people had accidentally been caught in shot. It seems a shame to throw the photos away, but why would you want a photo of a complete stranger?

Hope you remember me. I've just come out of hibernation. Glad you are still blogging.