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Old 06-02-2008, 11:07 PM
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robiuk robiuk is offline
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Default Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

I know, there were similar discussions earlier... but I was just wondering how many of us Brits actually DON'T shoot on streets (in public places) because of not being sure if the law is on our side? Or are there other reasons why you're don't feel 'at home' when practicing street photography?

Are there any foreigners that have had unpleasant experiences while shooting on the streets of UK?

Have you seen this video?


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Old 06-03-2008, 01:50 AM
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Isabelle Isabelle is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

I went to UK 2 years ago with Rinie and we did not have any problem at all shooting in the streets. Well, our accents show we΄re neither american nor british.
Anyway, sometimes I have this problem here (i΄ve never been asked by the police though), and in such occasions I always respond in another language and soon people become more talkative and helpful.
But sometimes Robi, it΄s easier to say "i study photography and i have an assignment etc etc", to smile and not to give up shooting.
Warm regards from a rainy and cold Sγo Paulo,
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

Hi Robert
I have heard about this situation and the petition going on. A good thing that a politician,and photographer,is starting this.It has come to some nonsense, due to an unprecise law, that no one knows how to interpret.

Here, I am not aware if the paranoia has reach that proportion,I think not.

Lets hope that good sense will come back to England.
Have a good day Robert
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

The only problems I have ever had were people not liking my shooting - never a direct subject but a couple of times when people are indirectly in my image - and the other times have all been related to shooting in or near shopping centres - once because I was stood just inside their car park - a great kefuffle ensued and the manager was called and I pointed out I could take the same images by increasing my focal length and stepping back a few yards to the public pavement - oh well! It was for an exhibition in their town - free promotion!!

Another time I was picked out at an event in a local shopping centre for having a long lens - there were fifty others photographing and videoing a performance - 'we don't allow cameras like that sir' - OK!!!! ;-))

I am careful to read potential aggression - the random sort - but just this weekend I was subjected to a jumping kick out of nowhere in the centre of Lille late at night - I reacted instinctively (after 20 years of practising a martial art) blocked it and the guy was immediately afraid, he backed off and fell over - it was quite funny! I guess he was a little drunk!!

i've been keeping up with the debates - I guess we are safe to shoot for a while still but the restrictions due to 'security' issues is an interesting one...........

best wishes Kev
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

Yes, I've had problems - albeit minor ones.

I work in the City of London and thought that taking some shots inside Liverpool St station (which I use daily for my commute) would make for interesting images.

I was using my Leica M6 with 28 and 35mm lenses - so hardly papparazzi photo-snooping on anyone - when an extremely rude and officious pseudo-plod (Police Community Support Officer) came up to me and told me to stop using my camera and delete the images I'd taken.

I concede that she had a valid point that the station is not a public place - it is a privately owned building. Consequently, I had to obtain the owner's permission to shoot inside it - which was given subject to giving my proof of my name and address. However, I told little miss stroppy in no uncertain terms that what I was using was a film camera and, even if it had been a digital camera, there's no way I'd delete the images as she'd no legal right to ask or force me to do so. She went away.

Personally, I hate the idea of a 'Police State' and censorship / restriction of rights via 'Big Brother' tactics. In the UK we seem to be approaching a tipping point where our freedoms are in danger of being lost or curtailed for political reasons and at the hands of people who want to save us from ourselves.

I know there's a 'war on terrorism' and a need for vigilance in these uncertain times. However, picking on soft targets such as photographers openly and legally photographing people and buildings seems to be taking the easy option instead of addressing the real issues.

I hope Austin Mitchell's petition gets full support and we, as photographers, are able to go about our lawful and innocuous passtime without the fear of persecution.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

Hey Robi.

Thanks for sharing that video with us, very interesting! He was quite right in what he said about his rights to film the street and the proof of that was that the two policemen backed down in the end.

I haven't had any problems myself, but I read an article on the BBC website not too long ago about a man who was stopped by the police and they actually took his camera and deleted his pictures, which they had no right to do. I can't remember where in Brittan that was. I think its more your everyday policeman that will be more pushy about it and make an issue (like the two in the video)

I think it is important to know your rights, that you are allowed to photograph public places.

Interesting subject!

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Old 06-04-2008, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

Hello Robi -

I just got back from London last fall and I can say I had no problems shooting in the UK. Generally no problems with a tripod or the people. I did have a small problem inside Victoria Station right near the end of the rush hour. My wife and I were waiting for some friends and I took the escalator to the second level and began taking a few images. Local security spotted me and by the time I came down the escalator I was met by a pair of "London Finest." They inquired what I was doing and once I opened my mouth they knew I was a Yank and they politely explained about getting securities' permission to take pictures. We chatted about the heightened security at transportation hubs. Everything was very cordial, no demands to erase the images, or any threats. I am a former police officer and thoroughly understand their predicament. We shook hands and they wished us an enjoyable trip to the UK.

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Old 06-04-2008, 05:46 PM
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Default More stories and change of focus

What you read on the BBC website sounds like a story from Blackpool dated earlier this year.

There's also a more recent story that ended up on one point everyone was talking about it...

I think there's more to it than only what we quite often read in papers. Even number that shows how many people have had a peek into this thread so far (and earlier ones) is an indicator of:
- how many people are interested in this topic and/or,
- how many have had bad experiences or,
- how many people believe they might get in trouble if they decide to go shooting out on our streets.

The focus in above mentioned stories was on police/security members harassing innocent photographers. But I now wonder what about those that are being photographed in public areas (Brits) and their sometimes over-reacting and showing their aggressive side? Is this something to do with our mentality (British mentality)?
Or shall I put - Western mentality?
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:05 PM
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BennyV BennyV is offline
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Default Re: More stories and change of focus

Very interesting and worrying video and, yes, I do believe this fits into a trend in (western) mentality. Photographing people (and places) is a lot more difficult in the west than in other parts of the world. The only time people reacted aggressively to me taking their picture was in my hometown (in Belgium), shooting pictures in the west I try to avoid people... Sad, isn't it?

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Old 06-05-2008, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Has anyone had problems shooting in the UK?

Seems like it's time for Bush to bring democracy to UK :).
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