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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Do we need a revolution????...Well where do I start: Background: After huge publicity across local and national press I decided to take along my ...
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:33   #1 (permalink)
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Do we need a revolution????

Well where do I start:
Background:

After huge publicity across local and national press I decided to take along my camera to the new Westfield shopping 'planet' in Shepherds Bush in London. I arrived at around 10.30am on Saturday morning.

I must admit the architecture and design is excellent (personal choice) and a delight to photograph for an amature photographer(me).

I was gladly minding my own business with my headphones on when I was approached by a male security gaurd (1st) and a female (2nd).

1st aked me if I was a press photographer ?- reply no.
Did I have a pass?- reply no, where do I get one?
You get them from Management- reply, take me to the office please?

2nd officer
We have a policy of not taking photo's- reply, there are hundreds of people in here taking photo's on SLR', pocket cameras and mobile phones.

We still have a policy of no taking photo'- reply can you show me a sign with the policy?

yes come with me- (marching about half a mile to the front entrance near Holland Park station entrance, past scores of people with camera's) she pointed to a sign on the wall with a camera reading security cameras in operation???

So there are no signs to prohibit you from taking photo's, she then asked me for my name.I asked her why, she said, so she could register my complaint. She then wrote on her tiny note pad that I was told not to take any pics in the centre, bear in mind it was now 11.30am and I had passed a number of security officers in the hour I was there.

She went onto say it was a pvt centre and I was a guest of Westfield, well if this is how guests are treated I wouldn't want to make them my enemy!!

My blood boiling and feeling like a social outcast, I walked out the centre

So I suppose my questions to the community are:
Is it because we carry SLR' we are harrassed?
Do all photographers need to make a stand , maybe a 'flash' demo on a particular day at establishments that treat the community in this harrassing way??

I look fwd to hearing anyone elses experience of taking pics in Westfield?
Best Wishes
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

It's getting to be a police state - we were asked for our name, address and postcode when attempting to buy a travel plug yesterday and were told they couldn't sell it to us if we refused. We bought one elsewhere.

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Old 02-11-2008, 11:46   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

I've had the same experience in the Harlequin Centre in Watford; it's hard to educate pork! Still managed to get the shots I wanted though - albeit I had to resort to the surreptitious use of my phone camera!



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Old 02-11-2008, 12:04   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

Excellent work, Jack, how did you come about final outcome?
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:19   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

This is common. Most churches/museums have a clear policy. Often in churches you have to buy a token "pass" for a few pound and you can then do what you want including using a tripod. Make the gift shop your first stop. Shopping centers depend on the which vogon is in duty. Find out what shots you want and then take them. Use hand held if required. Window shop as you go. Try not to be too serious. (look in dixons and jesops?) Keep your trypod packed up until you need it. Be polite if aproached and worse case leave and come back on a different vogon day. It is private property, I do not know the law and I do not know is knowing the law makes any difference at the time. I guess they can refuse entry for any reason.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:26   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

I believe on such private property they are allowed to impose such restrictions; the excuse usually given is that you might be casing the place for a robbery. I suspect that they are entitled to ask you to stop photographing or leave as it is private property and, if you did not do so, then you would be trespassing.

A few years ago I used a video Camera in Tesco's in York just to take a few seconds worth of my two children next to a dinosaur display while my wife did the shopping. I then found two large security guards stood on either side looking very threatening. They explained very rudely that no photography was allowed so I put my camera away and said I was surprised that they used the display to attract families with children so what did they expect. At this point the Deputy Manager arrived and stated that I should hand my camera over to him but I refused. The secuity guards became threatening and my children were frightened. My wife dumped the shopping and we all left with these three following us demanding my camera. I told the deputy manager that if he or his securty guards touch me or my family I would call the police. They they then backed off a little.

I later folowed this up with the Consumers Association and Tesco's Head Office. The Comsumers Association solicitors advised me that had any of the Tesco's staff taken my camera or had I given it to them under threat it would have been a criminal Offence. The incident was finally closed when I accepted a full written apology from Tesco's solicitors.

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Old 02-11-2008, 12:35   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

If I could just play "Devils Advoacte" for a moment. The shopping centre is private property. How would you react if someone planted a tripod in your front garden and started photographing your house?
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Old 02-11-2008, 13:56   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

Maybe if they displayed signs it would help, however they are not very private when they have thousands of the public milling around and gladly accepting people's hard earned cash!!! The ponit I was making, is that people with SLR' get more harrassed than someone with a pocket camera or mobile phone, that is what I witnessed yesterday? Still beleive that as amaeture' we need to challenge when we can??
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Old 03-11-2008, 00:12   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

that is so true Colva, about the SLR and Compact camera users, i have witnessed this, but ive come up with a theory that if we pull out a larger sized camera automatically you get ppl staring at you because paparazzi's have such a bad reputation so i guess by having a slightly large camera we share this reputation, that's what i think anyway
about the guy in front of my garden taking photos ? well i wudnt be too happy, if he/she asks me for permission? id be flattered and even make a new friend
any signs at the mall regarding photography or guidelines or where to get pass or wateva ? NONE
other ppl taking photos with a compact camera or phone? they ignore it
Us with big black larger size camera? they pay closer attention
well thats what i think anyway cheers
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Old 03-11-2008, 13:08   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

I get similar treatment at my local shopping centre. Fair enough, it's private property, but I was singled out because I use an SLR. A band were setting up to play on the concourse and, during the course of my conversation with the security ape, probably 20 or 30 people took photos with compacts/camera phones unmolested. There are no signs - I queried this and the guard said they prefer 'close contact notification'.

The whole issue, particularly the paedophile issue, is becoming a nightmare. My colleague owns a semi-disused industrial unit comprising a number of buildings, 3 of which have now been burnt down by kids. When I was last there he had a brick though his windscreen, parked next to a busy skate park. He told the assembled hoodies (who obviously knew nothing of the incident) that he had taken photographs of kids who'd trespassed on his site 50 yards away, he was met with the reaction of "You take pictures of kids? You F***ing pervert!" and instantly became the monster, not the victim.

It's out of control.
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Old 03-11-2008, 16:14   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

I recently took my SLR to the new Eurostar terminal and i knew i had to get a pass to use it, when i asked the station plod where i could get this pass they didnt even know i had to get one! I finally found the office where i had to wait for it, write my name on a piece of paper showing no ID whatsoever they then gave me a pass and i could stay as long as i wanted and use a tripod!
I returned the pass when i had finished
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:02   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

Quote:
If I could just play "Devils Advoacte" for a moment. The shopping centre is private property. How would you react if someone planted a tripod in your front garden and started photographing your house?
They do and its called Street Security Cameras but nobody from the police or council have ever asked for my permission for them to take pictures of me or my property. I'm sure that if I complained it would be ignored. Fair's fair, I say
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:24   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

I see that even the head of RoSPA acknowledged that the Health and Safety precautions were going a step too far and that we should be allowed some risk - it followed as a result of an eighty year old veteran being prevented from carrying the colours at a memorial service as there were some 'concerns for his health'

Can we hope for similar with cameras? Unlikely as all the shopping centres are private so they won't care what the prevailing mood might be

Oh, and there was the 16 year old who was arrested outside some London station for taking pics for his school project. Admittedly they were two 'plastic' police (Community Officers) who obviously hadn't a clue
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Old 10-11-2008, 15:26   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

Some very intersting reading here FREE DOWNLOAD - The UK Photographers Rights Guide. Make sure you go to Download PDF here for the fulll article.
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Old 10-11-2008, 16:56   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Do we need a revolution????

Street photography is perfectly legal for anybody and of course that includes council security cameas. The only cause for complaint from any member of the public is if you are suspected of harasment. Taking pictures of private property from public areas is perfectly legal; there could be grey areas with regards to public parks etc where children congregate but most councils will have a policy regarding this and to avoid any unpleasentness its best to seek out the park keepers ok. However, we do have rights and I always carry with me a copy of the mentioned download. Most petty officials and some police officers even, have no idea of the relevent law and I think we should all be prepared to stand up to these people but to do so you have to be aware of what your rights are!
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