04/10/2006

Shooting rights and/or restrictions.


How will we be affected by them, if and when the laws come in? And why do I now suddenly develop a guilty conscience when I photograph children or want to do street photography?
Since the advent of the remarkable and ingenious mobile phone camera, there have been ever increasing reports of misguided people either being arrested, or at least forced to move on from areas such as, children's playgrounds, sporting events, swimming carnivals, beaches, etc.
And rightly so, if they don't have a legitimate enough reason for being there in the first place. But where does that leave the well-intentioned, budding amateur, or professional photographer, or even just a parent or grand parent, who is merely endeavouring to get a nice record shot of the little loved one as he or she streaks across the finish line, amidst the shreaks and cries of their school mates cheering them on?
It is so unfortunate, that because of a demented few, we who have always enjoyed the freedom and pleasure, and the liberty, of taking candid shots of kids just being kids, with their totally innocent ways, their ever grinning faces smeared with chocolate birthday cake, taking their first steps, riding a bicycle for the first time and kids who are care free and just love life and show it eagerly in their mischievous demeanor.
I love to attend the birthday parties of my grandchildren and take as many candid shots as I can, but what about the other children there? Do I need to get written permission from their parents, in case one of their children strays into shot?
I am told they are in the process of sorting out new laws regarding this matter. No doubt, the Attorney General will come up with something to make our lives even more incommodious, so to speak!
I can envisage, somewhere in the not too distant future, innocently taking photographs in the great outdoors, then having to produce a blue card, or something with special ID, that explains to the authorities, that it is highly unlikely I would be taking shots with dishonorable intentions.
Isn't it a great pity now, that when we're out photographing a street parade, or civic ceremony, we are going to have to be aware that at any moment, someone in uniform could approach us and force us to stop doing something we love to do and have always taken so much for granted. They may even have plain-clothed people patrolling such events just for that one particular reason.
What is this world coming too?
Perhaps it's just paranoia on my part, but until such laws come in, I guess we will just have to be more careful and aware of what we are doing and of the possible consequences, when we point our lenses towards groups of people and especially innocent children.

I would welcome any comments on this one!

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