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04-20-2008, 07:48 AM   #1
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UK - Photographer's ID

I'm sure various people here are aware of the current reporting of photographers increasingly being challenged etc on 'security' grounds. E.g.
BBC: Innocent Photographer or Terrorist

As a student of architecture, taking photos of often random parts of towns etc, I've had a few strange looks and questions asked myself.

So I was wondering. Does anyone here belong to any photographic societies - ones that issues membership cards, something vaguely useful to prove "I'm a serious photographer" (even if really proving no more than that) upon being challenged.

Am just considering whether, for the sake of an annual membership charge, this might be a worthwhile thing to have/do.

Thoughts appreciated.

04-20-2008, 08:29 AM   #2
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Some Americans (a minority, probably) are also acting that way. If you search a little bit, you will find the threads.
04-20-2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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Petition to: clarify the laws surrounding photography in public places.

you may want to subscribe to the petition, frankly I find the situation stupid law enforcement is making a fool of itself showing itself up as plain ignorant and stupid, if I'm a terrorist I'm not going to run around in plain view with a big camera with the prowess the police are showing I wonder how well protected we really are they seem so incompetent just wasting their time, I'd like to know how many bad people were successfully caught with a DSLR in their hands. apart from many people being stopped when they have every right to take pictures it seems the police are more ignorant than us.

I'd say to them GROW UP and to get educated the real terrorists must be laughing their asses off at our forces incompetence in being if anything rational and fair and know their job
04-20-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by simons-photography Quote
Already have, in fact. Sent a letter to my MP as well on the subject.

However, I also think that if carrying a little piece of plastic proving that I'm a 'real' photographer puts everyone's mind at rest (mine included), then that's a fairly easy thing to do - it all helps, as it were. And in the event I get challenged by security/the police, and point out that I believe the law is on my side, well, carrying a card gives me a bit more credibility, perhaps.

04-20-2008, 11:25 AM   #5
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yea i think I'd carry my photographic club card with me not that it amounts to much infact I laminated it myself to make it more durable. I always have my driving license on me I'm quite happy if someone wants to see ID but I think the police tend to go for the wrong people. anyone can join a camera club and have a card to show thats not going to help in stopping terrosists its a case of the terrorists are not going to run around being obvious if a police man is so stupid to go for the obvious he don't deserve his job, so what if we take a picture of a building if we were to be a terrorist we wouldn't care about achitectural details we'd just bomb it full stop a terrorist just wants to blow it up not break in and get to the safe ! as my neighbour puts it the police are useless as they are green as grass

Last edited by simons-photography; 04-20-2008 at 11:37 AM.
04-20-2008, 11:25 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
and point out that I believe the law is on my side
technically the law is on your side. I'm glad its not as bad here in the states since 99.999% percent of my photography is street.

Last edited by séamuis; 04-20-2008 at 04:02 PM.
04-20-2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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I posted on a previous thread about how I was prevented from photographing the Gill Hodges Memorial Bridge on the South side of Brooklyn NY. It seems the Triboro Bridge Authority does not allow photos of any bridge under their control which is most of the bridges around NYC.

This past week I was questioned by two people in my neighborhood. One asked me why I was photographing their neighbor's house. I explained I was actually photographing the daffodils, she agreed the flowers would make a pretty picture.

On the same walk a women bounded out of her house to ask why I photographed her home. I explained I was photographing the seven cats on her front steps. We chatted a moment until she decided I was not doing anything wrong.

People are getting suspicious these days.

A residential area of Hamden Ct, a semi urban city.
04-21-2008, 12:02 AM   #8
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MrA, you might take a look at some of the photographer organizations here: Profotos - Photography Organizations

Best of luck; dealing with the current manifestations of xenophobia is getting to be a world-wide chore (once again)!

04-21-2008, 12:22 AM   #9
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I used to belong to the Australian Photographic Society, I'd guess England would have something similar. But, instead of paying for a 'card ID' have you considered getting a copy of the most up to date law regarding the taking of photographs, public areas incl; beaches and child privacy etc. and carry that with you? If you're ever stopped you could point out the obvious and ask why you're being harassed.

Leo... I would check the legality of a private corporation preventing any photography of a bridge. We have private agency's who look after some inner city railways and though they ask photographers to get an 'authority' from them to shoot on their stations, they don't charge money for it and they're not legally permitted to stop people from doing it.
04-21-2008, 12:58 AM   #10
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KrisK10D, the Triborough Bridge Authority is a New York State agency, originally developed and headed by (in)famous public works developer Robert Moses, with taxing and operational responsibility for many (most?) of New York City's bridges. (Moses also developed much of the state's highway and hydropower infrastructure, and was a big player in parks and "urban renewal" development as well.)
04-21-2008, 02:45 AM   #11
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Thanks Chris (Noice name btw ) Personally, I would still be checking those legalities. Not sure what the laws are up there but down here, togs and bridges are 100% legal no matter what any rent-o-cop may think
04-21-2008, 04:24 AM   #12
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Why are YOU so worried. The law is NOT an ass. I feel pretty secure knowing the authorities are asking questions - nothing wrong with that. They do it whether you have a camera or not.

Furthermore, if so-called "bad guys" knew that a dSLR kept the authorities from asking questions, wouldn't you think they would start using dSLRs!!!

Let the authorities do their job and WE will be on our way to continue capturing images. I would only start having a fit when they STOP me from photographing legitimately.

A piece of plastic ID from a camera club will prove nothing.
04-21-2008, 04:53 AM   #13
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all I'm saying is they should check every camera type not just target pro cameras yes your right if the message becomes that a DSLR is not a terrorist then they will be just that what I am saying is a serious terrorist does not need to take pictures with a big camera to get the info he/she needs to destroy the building and that its time we take a look at compacts too, so I work hard save my money and buy a "big" camera only to find it makes me a teror suspect like I said I don't mind proving who I am to the law but it seems every time a police man sees a big camera he thinks he is going to make a catch and overreacts perhaps to get recognition ? at our expenses, I mean you ask any police man if he is aware that a P&S can give in many cases just as good a picture as a DSLR what do you think his answer will be ?
04-21-2008, 05:03 AM   #14
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I feel this whole issue is being blown way out of proportion. Over the last twenty-five years (right up to yesterday afternoon and likely including this afternoon as well), I've taken literally thousands of photographs all over Europe with only two or three minor intrusions by the police during all that.

I'm excluding news-related incidents since those don't really relate to the issue here (private citizens photographing normal surroundings). I'm also excluding military police since I was, in each case, intentionally pushing the boundaries (photographing restricted areas, for example). Before anyone thinks I'm a spy, none of those involved military secrets. One, for example, simply involved photographing (through the fence of a military installation) the damage to the vehicle Gen Fredderick Kroesen, Commander USAREUR & NATO CENTAG, was riding in during an assassination attempt in 1981.

Getting back to everyday situations, I'm far more likely to approach a police officer than to have a police officer approach me. A good number of my travel photographs, for example, include police officers engaged in various activities. Some were aware of, and occasionally even posed for, the camera while most were simply street candids.

Where I was approached, it typically involved nothing more than a simple inquiry into what I was doing. In one case, it turned out the officer was a photography enthusiast himself more interested in what I was doing photographically than what I was photographing. None of the officers were rude or otherwise offensive, and none told me to stop photographing. Given that, I cannot imagine what those reporting such incidents are doing to attract the attention of so many police officers. I likely could not attract that much attention if I ran around with a camera while wearing no clothing.

Regardless, I don't see the incidents where people are simply approached by others as particularily troublesome. While a person can certainly photograph on the street, I see no reason why a police officer (or any other person for that matter) cannot approach and question that person's activities. As for individuals stopped from photographing, there are simply too many variables for me, an uninvolved third-party not witnessing the incident, to judge the rightness or wrongness of that.

In other words, I'm going to need a lot more evidence than just a few isolated incidents before I'll start shouting, signing petitions, carrying banners, or whatever. That's especially true if such efforts are intended to hinder, in any way, a police officer's ability to approach or question suspicious persons, regardless of the reason for that suspicion (crime, terrorism, or whatever). In other words, I want police officers on the street and intend to give them as much room as necessary, within reasonable limits, to prevent crime wherever possible.

stewart
04-21-2008, 10:13 AM   #15
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like wise, I don't mind being talked to and asked what I'm doing but it seems that some officers are out for a catch and go way too far or just like to through their weight around,

if the police were a bit more sensitive perhaps people would not be so histerical, its embaressing and anoyinh enough to be questioed when your doing nothing wrong it would be nice if it was done with some regard. all i seem to hear about though is people that sahow off a slightly bigger camera than most have and get picked off while the vast ragiority of others are ignored.

it comes to mind the incedent i read in a photography magazine (it was one of their columists I beleive) about talking pictures of a bridge, the policeman waded through a crowd of chinese tourists (or even terrorists) to get to him and pulled him away checked him over and told him not to take pictures, that was all done through very broken english as the police man was not an englishman and it seemed didn't consider adequate command of the language neccesary of course the tourists were never questioned.... it makes one wonder
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