The War on Photographers

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by plasticbastard, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. plasticbastard

    plasticbastard Member

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    There has been a lot of misconception amongst the public about photographers and photography in public spaces, and the protection/s that they have as citizens.

    I was random surfing tonight when I came across this blog of a photographer by the name of Carlos Miller.

    His blog makes for a very interesting read, especially as most other countries appear to have laws fairly similar to ours - that is, the right to take photographs in public (for us it's more the lack to right of privacy in public).


    In many ways, his blog shows the importance of having a defined 'Bill of Rights'.
     
  2. chilloutbuddy

    chilloutbuddy Member

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    At least over there they actually have terrorists.
     
  3. afrikajeff

    afrikajeff Member

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    While you might have the right to take a photo in a public place, that doesn't necessarily mean you should. Thinking about a situation before saying 'I'll do what I like' is a good idea, as is listening to police orders:

    I remember reading one story where someone refused to show their bag at a store, and they were detained. What's the point in being a jerk to people simply trying to do their job? This was obviously a huge overreaction from the police, but if he wasn't trying to be Sir Noble - Defender of Photographers' Rights the World Over, he wouldn't have had any trouble.

    Again, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

    edit: for anyone skimming through this post, I'd like to make it clear that I don't condone the actions of the police :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  4. metawaffle

    metawaffle Member

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    Yeah, I agree - there's no point being a prat just because there's no law against it! :p
     
  5. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

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    I didn't read the blog, but for all we know the police may have had "move on" sort of powers, and could have been telling him to piss off for his own safety.
     
  6. revhed

    revhed Member

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    Does anyone remember this incident: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/lapd/kingvideo.html

    I'm sure the officers that featured in the video above would like to have been able to delete that footage.

    I believe police should not ever be given powers to destroy photographs (or other recorded media) It is effectively giving them powers to destroy evidence.
     
  7. watchtherocks

    watchtherocks Member

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    Police do not have the power to destroy photographs.
    The only legal course of action they can take to make you delete your images is to get a court order detailing the action.
     
  8. bcann

    bcann Member

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    The police in NSW at least do hav move on powers. This guy was just being an absolute knob. I'd like too see his reaction when its his wifes mangled body being photo'd by some other jerk photographer.

    Its all well and good to say its a public place, but have a bit of compassion for the scene and subjects of that scene.
     
  9. nakey

    nakey Member

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    please. no one was dead, no one was dying, no one was injured. it's not "take pictures of the dead without assisting to help prevent them from dying"

    Sure, he was an ass about it. but it's taking photos of police. no dead bodies

    If he was in the way, or impeding the police in any way, that's completely understandable. What's the problem of being far enough away to take photos, without impeding the police in their work?

    Even if it was a case of injured or dead bodies, i still don't see the problem. I'm not advocating a Diana case here where it could be construed as "they caused the problem, and did nothing to help". but if they're just there as a PJ, and the police and other emergency crew have the emergency at hand, and again, be far enough that it does not imped the police/emergency crew in any way, i don't see the problem.

    Besides, this isn't a diana case. the only thing injured is the police's pride.

    Compassion for what? a piece of road?

    As far as i'm concerned, the police did their work, a PJ did his, and as long as the PJ doesn't imped on the Police's work directly, i don't see the problem?

    Should George Halliday have had compassion for the scene when he shot footage of police brutality?
     
  10. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Member

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    Sure. Why stand up for yourself when you're doing nothing wrong or illegal when you can bend over and get pushed around by the government and its law enforcement officers? Why ignore a bogus order when you can just give up your rights and comply? Submissiveness and apathy is so much easier.

    Don't make any waves, don't cause any trouble, don't question us or anything we do... just be a good little sheep and do what we tell you to do, and you'll be just fine. Do what we say and keep your mouth shut, if you know what's good for you.

    Sigh. I don't much like the future we are headed towards. So few people have any backbone at all anymore, it's no wonder our rights are being pissed away every day.

    He was taking pictures of cops in a public place. Cops whose salaries are paid by taxpayers. He has every freaking right to photograph them doing what the public pays them to do. Not doing it "just to avoid trouble" is spineless and cowardly and contributes to the problem of rights erosion.
     
  11. afrikajeff

    afrikajeff Member

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    Easy there Billy. The police gave this guy at least two orders to move along, which he blatantly refused to comply with. Instead of having a 'fuck tha police' attitude, why not be reasonable about it? Both sides need to be logical about this, and I don't see how being an arsehole for the sake of it is going to earn you any respect from the authorities, whether it is your right or not.

    What rights have been 'pissed away'? Perhaps you should put down your copy of 1984 and take a look out the window.

    What do you think having a 'fuck you all, it's my right and I'll do what I like' attitude does towards the general view of photographers? Have you had some run-ins with the authorities before that have led you to feel so strongly about this?

    Yet another topic that leads me to believe that people are becoming less rational, less curtious, and less respectful of others.

    Why can't we all just get along? :upset:
     
  12. djnz

    djnz Member

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    It's probably not. The way I see it in this case the cops could be thinking several things;

    1) Why would this guy want photos of cops, is he working for a criminal who wants to know about the cops involved in a recent drug bust(or stopping some other crime)?
    2) They don't want idiots crowding them while they work, for the idiots safety.
    3) The cops are acting illegally and don't want anyone with evidence eg Rodney King video.

    In 1 & 2 I can see why they would act as they did, though I certainly don't condone it. Of course if they just want a bit of space around the car crash/stabbing scene etc then they should have no issue if the photographer moves across the road or a bit further down. They've moved him out of danger and can do their job, he's safe and can do his.

    Of course if it's #3 then ask yourself if you would want a photographer to have evidence when the police do something like that to you?

    Several years ago I remember walking toward Fed Square (here in Melb) and watching along with a crowd of about 20 people the detention of a, fare evader I guessed, by ticket inspectors on the St Kilda Rd tram platform. One was on the phone to the cops while 5 others were wrestling the offender to the ground. They eventually got him subdued, with two holding legs, two holding arms and another guy with his knee pinning the offenders head to the ground. I'm sure there is a section in the Transport act that allows for this but I thought it was a bit over the top. Never saw it in the news so I assume not much came of the incident.

    However if it was to become big news and he tried to sue them then had one of us taken pictures they would have made pretty compelling evidence. Of course I also wonder what would have happened if one of us had decided to photograph the event and was seen by the inspectors in the process.
     
  13. revhed

    revhed Member

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    If someone were gathering intelligence for some dubious means then covert photography works so much better ;)

    Unless they wanted the cops to be distracted from something in particular.....

    watchtherocks - if this is the case then why are there so many stories of police ordering photographers to delete photos? I believe it's even happened to a couple of the photography forum regulars in OCAU! Care to post a link to the law or reference which states they don't have this power?
     
  14. Amalgam

    Amalgam Member

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    I'm not a lawyer or anything, but I would have thought they would have to have specific powers to destroy property, like photographs, rather than the other way around. If the police actually had the power to order anything, unless specifically stated in law, I would be very worried indeed :Paranoid:
     
  15. d31

    d31 Member

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    Why should he have to comply with them? If he's in a public spot walking down the street (which he was) why should he comply with the police. The police _love_ to throw their weight around and if people dont stick up for themselves they're going to get owned.
     
  16. metawaffle

    metawaffle Member

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    In the story, though, it didn't seem the police were trying to lord it over this guy, but that the guy was resisting the request for the sake of it. :Paranoid:
     
  17. steveo2004

    steveo2004 Member

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    I was in the city months ago now, I setup my tripod went to take a photo and this guy asked me not to take his photo. I said very well, so I crossed the road put my big zoom lens on and went to take his photo, just to have a undercover cop walk up to me and asked me to stop taking photos due to the fact they are drug dealers.

    So with that in mind I went over to them and I got a few hits...... :lol: What I did was I comply with the cops and walked off, there have been other times where cops have asked me to stop taking photos and I asked them "on what grounds do I need to stop?" there response was "Disturbing the peace" I told the cop that it is 8:30 at night and no one seems to have a problem, but i packed up he walked of and I set up again.

    No point in being a prick to them because at the end of the day you hold no rights when you are talking to the cops.
     
  18. Silenius

    Silenius Member

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    Mate, if you took a photo of that drug dealer, you'd be in a bag floating in the harbour somewhere.. :). Also when they're staking someone out, if the dude is ready to commit a crime, being photographed will almost certainly spook him. There may or may not be laws against interfering in an investigation.

    In any case, as someone previously mentioned, the police in all of Australia have no power to delete photograph or otherwise destroy any property. We can photograph in any area we desire. AFAIK the local councils may actually have the power to fine people for taking photos at parks, beaches, parking lots... IMO they have way too much power and are fucking corrupt :)..
     
  19. Caffeine

    Caffeine Member

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    Don't worry, they'll all shoot each other soon
     
  20. steveo2004

    steveo2004 Member

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    I found this on Page Two of the NSWphotorights.pdf doc and the link is

    www.forsterdigitalphoto.com/files/nswphotorights.pdf

     

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