Photography is not a crime!

Not a Crime

Given that the UK is claimed to be one of the most surveilled countrys compared to other industrialised Western states, with upwards of 4.2m CCTV cameras (about one for every 14 people!) and almost certainly increasing daily, its quite bizarre that there should be such paranoia about folk innocently taking photographs in public places.

Yet there is. A paranoia, moreover, deliberately fostered by State agencies and the Police. (See this post on my principal blog)

What’s even more worrying is when the Police actively obstruct Press photographers, photojournalists and the like, from performing their legitimate and legal function of documenting newsworthy events.
And not just actively obstruct them, but treat them as though they are criminals or even terrorists!

Well, the British Journal of Photography has now decided to help in the fight back against this ridiculous and, it has to be said, sinister situation with the launch of its “Not a crime” campaign.

In their words…

Increasing concerns about terrorism, paedophilia, health and safety, personal privacy and plain old paranoia about pretty much anything Her Majesty’s subjects get up to has resulted in a deep mistrust of photographers.

Police routinely invoke anti-terror legislation to prevent photographers from carrying out their work, and photojournalists are constantly filmed at public gatherings and their details kept on an ever-growing database. Tourists, particularly foreign tourists, are also targeted by police, as was the case with an Austrian father and son recently who made the mistake of photographing a building of an extremely sensitive nature—Walthamstow bus station.
Put simply, Britain has become a no-photo zone, and so if you fail to comply, you may find yourself liable to attack, arrest or harassment. Recognising that Britain is not the only country where such a draconian anti-photographer culture is developing, the British Journal of Photography is beginning an international visual campaign to raise awareness.

Over the next year we hope to gather thousands of self-portraits of photographers – professional and amateur – from around the world, each holding up a white card with the words, “Not a crime” or “I am not a terrorist”.

Check it out now, before its too late and you have to forever mothball your cameras or risk incarceration.

Photography is not a crime! _G106914

Photography is not a crime! _G106919

P.S.: The banner heading this post is downloadable in two different sizes from the “Not a crime” campaign website, and will be a permanent feature at the foot of this blog until its message is well and truly got across!
I’ve also created a new dedicated set on Flickr that I may well add to periodically!

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
This entry was posted in Issues, Photography Chat and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Photography is not a crime!

  1. mywayoutnow says:

    Hey, thanks for this Mike,

    Have heard a few stories of this nature and always find it rediculous how the authorities seem to be so paranoid about people doign anything these days.

    School’s are a hotbed for this issue, try taking pictures at school plays etc! it seems that people don’t want photo’s taken at a school function just in case the pictures fall into the hadns of paedophiles and this alerts the afore mentioned paedophiles to the fact that there are childrne at the school!

    it is also an irony that the authorities use ‘Personal Privacy’ as an issue when they allow a huge multi national organisation (Google) to send cars into every street in this country filming indescriminantly, everything that goes on, then puting it on the web for the whole world to see!

  2. fotdmike says:

    Yeah, the situation truly is getting stupid. If you follow the various photography journals, mags and stuff you’ll appreciate just how frequently perfectly innocent photographers have run-ins either with the cops (or the wannabe cops, the cpso’s) or sundry private security personnel. Whilst at the same time our own privacy and freedom of movement is being encroached upon by the proliferation of CCTV in virtually every public space of any significant size.

    As regards taking pics of kids, well, that’s just become a complete no-no.

    So insidious has this campaign against photographers become that, in my own case, I so often catch myself simply pointing my camera to the ground whenever kids appear in my vicinity. Even though taking pics of them may have been the furthest thing from my mind!
    That I should have unconsciously slipped into such a mindset appalls and disgusts me, and I resent the State, the mainstream media, ordinary stupid paranoid joe public in fact, for having infected me in such manner. Even more than that though, I resent myself for inadvertently sanctioning as it were this utter utter craziness.

  3. forkboy says:

    I don’t know…..the guy in the first picture looks quite suspicious. Maybe even dangerous and/or deranged!

  4. fotdmike says:

    Well, certainly deranged!

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