Home > Photo and Tech News, Photography, Politics / Current Events > Seething as I am asked not to take pictures on my own street!

Seething as I am asked not to take pictures on my own street!


I just dashed off this fun little missive to the location manager, sub-manager and Brent Council Film Office contact for the location shoot that is going on across the road from me right now. Try to gauge my mood here.

Update 30 minutes later - wow, that was quick, they have replied to my letter – see the bottom of this post.

To whom it may concern, 
 
Hi, I live on [my] Road, and, having been on a film set before once or twice, was naturally interested to see a location shoot rock up on my humble street (despite lorries loudly arriving post-midnight last night).
 
Whilst on the way to do some shopping I whipped out the iPhone to do a casual snap of the film crew in action, to show my absent girlfriend later, when I was approached by one of the gentlemen from [Security Firm Name] who asked me not to take a photo. I was standing on the public pavement at the time. 
 
I am a photographer on the side and am, as you will see, very protective of photographic rights. I’m going to get pedantic here, but you need to hear it.
 
I explained to him that I had every right to do so, as I was on public land (see http://www.photographersrights.org.uk/page6/page6.html) and furthermore he was a visitor on my street, not the other way around. 
 
He tried to explain that there was a “custom” of not taking photos of film crews, which was a new one on me. I said he did not have the right to ask me to stop – not even a policeman’s badge, much less a high-viz jacket, would give anyone the right to stop me taking a photo from a public place – and he demurred that I had the right to take the photo, but then he had the right to wave his arms around in front of me (which he did not do) in order to prevent the photo. I admit that this is technically true, but he would have been harassing me if so and the police might have got involved. I was called “argumentative” for sticking up for my rights. Damn right I am. 
 
The point of all of this is that you are filming in a public environment, and so am I. You have a permit, I don’t need one. For your information I took an oblique photo (not video) of the crew, no cast members, and nothing plot-threatening (to be honest, rom-coms are not my cup of tea). But that is not material. As long as I am standing on public property, I could have had my professional camera out, shooting right into the action, and been within my rights. 
 
I understand your desire to protect copyright and prevent plot details leaking, and I am excited to have this sort of action in my street, but your desires do not outweigh my rights, and I am not going to be cowed by some guy because he happens to be wearing a vest. 
 
Thanks
Luke Robinson

This was the admittedly very conciliatory and friendly reply, sent within thirty minutes. Fair play, I am a bit less seething now.

Hi Luke

Thanks for your email.

You are quite right, we have no right to stop anybody from photographing on the street, we only try to avoid flash photography or sounds ruining our shots, but that’s all, and this is usually just a request.

I am surprised that any of my security crew would have stopped you from using a camera in the street, only to ask you to be careful not to use a flash or something similar.

Please accept my apologies if this has caused you any inconvenience at all, I can assure you that this is just a misunderstanding, I will ensure that this does not happen again.

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