Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please, don't shoot!

Listening to: 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You [The Twelves Remix]' by The Black Kids [-]

I like taking photos. Whether they're silly candids of family and friends, documentations of significant occasions, or attempts at artistic interpretations of the world we live in, I am snap-happy. If the weather's good, I usually have my camera with me, just in case I see something worth capturing. And I definitely have it with me if I'm travelling. I'm learning more and more about how to develop my hobby, and while I can only aspire to mimic the talents of haelio, Co25 and others, I am content with what I do produce.

"Yay, she's found a hobby!", you might think, after my whinging about needing a distraction. Yeah I thought so too. But it appears the Met might not agree.

I'm sorry, but can someone please define "odd"?!?!? If I kneel down on the pavement in order to get a better angle for my pseudo-arty pic of Nelson's Column, am I 'odd'? If I spend 20mins on Westminster Bridge taking as many photos as I can of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament from as many angles as possible, am I 'odd'? If I have brown skin (and a beard/headscarf - delete as appropriate) and I'm walking around with a camera and a backpack (full of lenses and a tripod), taking pictures of sights that would be appreciated by the photographic community, but considered pointless by everyone else, am I 'odd'?

London-based flickr groups have been buzzing with tales of innocent amateur photographers being 'stop & search'ed by police, for taking photographs in public places. Now the mainstream media - well at least the times and the bbc - have got wind of the situation. I spent a while trying to find some kind of guidance for amateur photographers on relevant government websites, but to no avail. So basically, no one knows what photographers can and cannot legally photograph in public. The general consensus is that anything goes, but would you risk a run-in with the boys in blue?

A concerned citizen has set up an e-petition on the PM's website, asking for clarification of photography laws in the UK, and the numbers are steadily rising. You can show your support here (as long as you're a British citizen/resident). I'm sceptical about whether it'll amount to much, but you know what they say - "evil thrives when good people do nothing".

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