Is It Just Me, Or Are Things Getting Much Worse For Photographers in the UK?

Father-of-three branded a 'pervert' – for photographing his own children in public park | Mail Online Came across this post earlier today on FriendFeed about a father in the UK who was asked not to take photographs of his own children at a public park.

“Father-of-three Mr Crutchley, a consultant for a rubber manufacturer from Walsall, West Midlands, was with his wife Tracey and their sons when the pleasant Sunday afternoon out turned sour.

He said: ‘The children wanted to go on an inflatable slide and I started taking photos of them having a good time. Moments later the woman running the slide told me to stop.

‘When I asked why, she told me I could not take pictures of other people’s children. I explained I was only interested in taking photos of my own children and pointed out that this was taking place in a public park.

‘I showed her the photos I had taken to prove my point. Then another woman joined in and said her child was also on the slide and did not want me taking pictures of the youngster.

‘I repeated that the only people being photographed were my own children. She said I could be taking pictures of just any child to put on the internet and called me a pervert. We immediately left the show.’

Mrs Crutchley, 37, a teaching support assistant and qualified nursery nurse, said: ‘I was shocked by the reaction of those women.

‘It is very sad when every man with a camera enjoying a Sunday afternoon out in the park with his children is automatically assumed to be a pervert.’ “

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  1. Gary Denness says:

    I would say that anything printedin the UK’s Mail should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not that the story itself is untrue, but they have a certain ‘way’ of reporting things. I’ll bet there are isolated incidents like that the world over.

    More worrying for me was a recent statement by the UK Home Secretary…

    “Decisions may be made locally to restrict or monitor photography in reasonable circumstances. That is an operational decision for the officers involved based on the individual circumstances of each situation…..It is for the local Chief Constable, in the case of your letter the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force, to decide how his or her Officers and employees should best balance the rights to freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the need for public protection.”

    What is a reasonable circumstance, and when did matters of UK law become something that the police decide, and not the lawmakers?

    I understand that the police by necessity must take into account circumstances and use discretion during their daily work, but a government effectively placing policy in the hands of the police isn’t the way to go.

  2. http://photorights.org/ is a good site to keep track of the steady erosion of photographers rights.

    I’ve been called a pervert for taking photos of buildings, not even of people!!

  3. Gary has already pointed out that the Mail’s position is not always one of neutrality, although I do find it ironic that I’d have expected them to be more likely to take the “he must be a pervert” line.

    Perhaps I’ve been maligning them unjustly.

    Nah.

  4. Thaumata says:

    I’m in the process of moving to the UK and from what I’ve seen, this is less about photography in general and more about a really, really heightened concern about pedos compared to most americans I know. While it’s obviously something every parent fears, in the UK it’s a really massive issue and fear, to the point where I’ve heard guys say they’re scared to hug their kids in public.

    I don’t know that you’d get even close to the same reaction if you were photographing adults in a similar public space.

  5. @thaumata: If you’re not a peado, you’re a terrorist

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7351252.stm see the enlarged version of the poster.

  6. Dave says:

    There is an enormous fear of crime in general [and of pedophiles in particular] in England.

    There is also a widespread lack of understanding of what rights photographers actually have – see current controversies over Google’s StreetView in the UK. [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/latestnews/You-can39t-be-camera-shy.4297931.jp]