Photographers Face Paranoia in UK

The Telegraph has an article this week about the paranoia that even casual photographers are facing in the UK. Photographers have been chased down by police for taking photographs while in a town centre. The writer behind the article, Sam Delaney, described his own experience sitting in a coffee shop while simply taking a look at a camera he had borrowed:

As I sit familiarising myself with this new toy, I sense suspicious glances from the people sitting beside me. I tell myself I’m probably just imagining it. I hold the camera up to my face, point the lens through the window at the busy street outside and peer through the viewfinder. The first thing I see is a large, bearded, angry-looking middle-aged man thrusting two fingers in a V-sign at me.

His story gets better. Delaney left the coffee shop, hung the camera around his neck and walked towards some nearby stores. The lens cap was on, but a security guard immediately homed in on Delaney and announces that photographing the area is prohibited. The guard insisted that Delaney put away the camera or leave.

There are so many incidents these days when photographers are assumed to be up to no good, simply because they’re taking photographs. How did photography become a crime?



  1. Jeff says

    “How did photography become a crime?”

    People have no common sense any more. I was involved in a discussion about this topic a few weeks ago. One lady in particular was adamant that it should be illegal for anyone to take pictures of her children in public places, like a park. She said “They could be perverts who will go home an look at the pictures and have sexual thoughts about my children”. That could be true, but they could also do that from memory.

    There is no way to completely protect yourself or your children from someone “having sexual thoughts” about you or them. Also, if you are in public, other people can see you and may, accidentally or not, take your picture. As long as that picture is not used for profit, then there is nothing illegal about it (barring it being taken in the restroom or shower area).

  2. says

    Wow did you hit it on the head… I had this discussion last night with some friends, but it is an ongoing thing that really really gets irritating.

    I have been harassed by so many people over the years, and just last night, I was trying to shoot a soccer practice and I told the guy in charge what I was doing, he said ok, sounds good, he called someone and 5 minutes later, they said, sorry, we see you sell photos on your website, you will have to leave.

    Another time in Memphis I actually had police trying to take my CF card, and they called the FBI, which I had to talk to for an hour, the whole thing was ridiculous.

    I have given up areas in sports, aviation, people, street, etc etc because of the continuous hassle. It is a camera people, not a bomb.

  3. Calin says

    We here in Eastern Europe have had this kind of Big Brother’s “careful” supervision for almost 50 years. It looks like it’s ended, but for you there in UK&US it’s only the beginning. Read Orwell’s book “1984” and beware. At least we knew who was “the enemy”…