I’ve heard it all now – a father was banned from a shopping centre last week and allegedly quizzed by police under anti-terrorist legislation for taking photos of his own daughter.
If you’re not familiar with the story Chris White was stopped by a security guard at Braehead Shopping Centre, in Glasgow, as he took pictures of Hazel (4), while she was eating an ice-cream.
The guard said it was ‘illegal’ to use a camera there and the police were subsequently called.
Since the story broke and the angry dad launched a Facebook campaign to boycott Braehead the powers that be have made a U-turn and changed their policy.
But where is it going to end?
We got caught up in a situation involving photos earlier this year when I was in Spalding with Nancy and a Free Press photographer, doing some pictures for a newspaper feature.
We popped into the library to get a quick pic of me renewing my books with the new machine.
Nancy was in her pushchair, next to me, enjoying all the attention, while the photographer snapped away.
However, our little shoot was cut short by staff who were appalled a man was taking pictures of a child in the library and they knew nothing about it.
Before I go any further I want to make it clear I concede I should have made a courtesy call to explain what we doing and why, and that I’m not criticising the librarians – they were only doing as directed by their employer – Lincolnshire County Council. But there’s another issue here.
My child was being photographed, with me, in a public building. There was nothing sinister going on; no chap in a grubby mac lurking in the shadows, sneaking photos of unsuspecting victims.
We were openly going about our business; not affecting (or photographing) anyone else. Am I the only one who doesn’t see what the problem is?
You could argue I should be grateful to the librarians for their vigilance but on the flip side, having worked in newspapers for almost ten years, I know how difficult it’s become for photographers, especially when it comes to taking pictures of youngsters.
We’ve covered stories about parents being forbidden from taking photos and videos at school plays – I know schools have a duty of care towards pupils and for certain reasons some children cannot be identified but isn’t it a step too far when a parent is dictated to when and where photos can be taken of their own offspring?
Ayscoughfee Gardens is in the charge of South Holland District Council. Does this mean every time a parent/guardian wants to photograph their children on the swings or running through the grounds they have to contact the council offices first? C’mon, I don’t think so.
Has the whole world gone slightly mad, or is just me who is missing something here? I’d love to know your views on this one.