Surveillance and Photographers

Just spotted this on ZoneZero

Surveillance and Photographers

by John Perivolaris

…citizens are swiftly being transformed into suspects. This should be of universal concern beyond the photographic community. For example, the British government is currently determined to enact legislation that would enable it to issue its citizens with ID cards. These would carry all the holder’s personal information and would have to be carried at all times and presented to the authorities when requested, with no grounds for such a request having to be asserted. This would mark a reversal of the democratic principle of the state’s answerability to its citizens, with surveillance acting to inflate the currency of fear and paranoia on which Western governments, particularly in the US and UK, now trade in exchange for their citizens’ acquiescence to the ever-narrowing restriction of their civil rights.

How might photographers, artists, activists, along with their fellow citizens, further respond to the plethora of undemocratic restrictions to which they are now subjected in the name of security? Is the right to watch swiftly becoming a monopoly of the state? Is democratic citizenship also now a struggle for the right to see as well as to be seen? Who now has the right to record individuals’ and groups’ experiences of public spaces?

Read the full article here (also available as a .pdf download)

And check out the Flickr group “Surveillance Mirror“:

About Surveillance Mirror (quoted from their group page)…

In a period that has witnessed a proliferation of surveillance cameras trained on citizens’ every move through increasingly privatised public spaces, what is the place of independent photography and image-making of those same spaces? How are photographers to resist the plethora of restrictions to which they are now subject in the name of security? Is the right to watch swifly becoming a monopoly of the state? Is democratic citizenship also now a struggle for the right to see as well as to be seen?

Please post photographs and words of your experiences as you pass through the spaces of surveillance that increasingly define the public sphere.

We also invite citizens of other surveillance societies around the world to post their images and observations of surveillance in their countries.

Shortly, we shall invite you to join us for a series of walks through urban areas in the UK where some of the highest concentrations of CCTV cameras are to be found. Along the way, we shall also invite you to document this newest feature of the urban cityscape in photographs, sound, and video, as well as the encounters that ensue from such a process of documentation.

We shall coordinate the UK photo-surveillance walks with those undertaken simultaneously by partner groups around the world.

The documentary record produced of the walks will complement its simultaneous recording by CCTV cameras and will constitute a citizens’ reflection on life under surveillance in the 21st-century.

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
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3 Responses to Surveillance and Photographers

  1. forkboy1965 says:

    It just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

    Once upon a time there was this crazy notion that one was innocent until proven guilty.

    I would say that 9/11 changed all that, but it wasn’t 9/11. It was the junta we currently call the Bush administration. But that’s not the completely story as it is just as much the fault of the unwashed masses who are willing, as the article points out, so ready and willing to sacrifice freedom for a sense of security. Never mind that it’s a false sense of security. Never mind that container ships enter my country unchecked. Never mind that folks stream across our southern border completely unchecked.

    The war in Iraq is simply there to keep folk’s minds off the things the Bush administration HASN’T done to make us truly more secure. It was easier to play Commander in Chief than it was to do truly constructive and useful things.

    THIS, my dear English friend, is precisely what happens when a nation elects an idiot.

  2. fotdmike says:

    Or when it elects an arrogant devious Machiavellian toerag like the one that preceded our current PM!

    Alas, we can’t wholly blame the current or recently past crop of politicians, nor entirely the electorate. For what we’re witnessing (so I believe) is the working out of a trend that’s been gaining momentum virtually since the end of WWII.

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