If you’re a photographer you may have already come across the petition to “stop proposed restrictions regarding photography in public places” as it’s been getting a fair bit of word-of-mouth action. As well as being all over Flickr like a rash it’s been covered by photography agency Rhubarb Rhubarb and Film Birmingham. 35,000 people have signed it to date and it runs until August so that number is bound to increase.
The chap who started the petition, Simon Taylor of Farnborough, explains his reasons at length here.
I have NOT said that a bill is in preparation, or that legislation is being prepared, but am referring to the ID cards proposed by various bodies which will serve to create an ‘uber class’ of photographer, and restrict the use of cameras by normal citizens. These cards will only further the suspicion and misunderstandings that many photographers already suffer.
It’s unfortunate that the petition is rather inaccurately phrased and that he doesn’t identify these “various bodies”, but then the whole issue of public photography is something of a mess in this country. Cameras are now everywhere, from the ubiquitous cameraphone to affordable SLRs, and photography as a hobby and artform has become much more widespread. On a more prosaic level photography in public places by the public means we have a record of our society and environment like no other time in history, not to mention that these people who might not consider themselves artists are indulging in creativity and learning to see.
I think this petition is worth signing, not necessarily because it’s right but because it sends a signal that the pendulum has swung too far in paranoia’s direction.
Related to this, the UK Photographers Rights guide is a 2 page printable PDF which any photographer is advised to take a look at.