Saturday, May 02, 2015

Photographing Children

Click on any image for a larger version

A recent trip to TESCO found this man in the foyer. He was offering photos in period costumes for children and families. I thought it was a great idea and asked him if he'd mind me photographing him and his stand for a blog post. No problem.

So I took the photo above. I was immediately approached by a security man who told me photos were not allowed in the foyer. I explained that the man was quite happy having his photo taken. Made no difference. Photos were not allowed in the foyer. People might not want their photo taken.

This gave rise to a maelstrom of speculation in my head. Might I have incidentally included a couple who were having a clandestine affair. Might someone have pulled a sickie and gone on a shopping expedition. Might some proud Southsider fear being seen on the Northside. The possibilities were endless.

Anyway, I put away the camera (with its precious photo) and took a shot of the other side of the stand, with the rack of period clothes, on my way out. Where was the security man then? Just between ourselves, he's half way down the foyer behind the dresses. As obscured from me as I from him.

I am not against data protection, but really, when it's carried this far it's just plain nuts.

I was in my local village one day a good while ago when I spotted a procession of kids passing through. On closer inspection they had horror masks and painted faces and a variety of spooky costumes. It was apparently a school spookwalk for charity. I thought it would be nice to blog a photo of such an interesting happening and took out my camera. This was immediately spotted by the kids who started playing up to it. All good humoured. I even gave my card to one of teachers and said I was thinking of blogging a photo.

Imagine my surprise and horror when I subsequently got a phone call from the school principal, who turned out to be as embarrassed as I was, but "would I please not use the photos". Apparently the Principal would have had to get releases signed by all the parents and that would be another big task on top of the already overloaded day job. I had no problem laying off the blog post and sent copies of the photos to the Principal for use in the school.

But I really thought it was all going a bit far and that it was such a pity that the great sense of fun, innocence, enthusiasm and happiness of these kids was being overshadowed by such an all-pervasive sense of fear on the part of the adults. Anyway, not my call.

It is a bit unnerving though to think that I and all those around me are walking around inside a cocoon of copyright. Maybe I should stop saying hello to people in the street in case I inadvertently burst their cocoon.

Then I read in today's paper about new RC Church rules on parents taking photos of their children on church property during Confirmation. Worth your while to read the piece. Not only do the restrictions appear unnecessary, they are positively cruel in this digital day and age. It is one thing to ask people not to disrupt or distract from the ceremony when taking photos, but another to prohibit them altogether.

Anyway, I'm making my personal protest below in visual form. This is my first holy communion day in 1951. So there.

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