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Photographer Public Enemy No 1?

Don’t you think it’s a bit sad, the atmosphere of fear and loathing that modern society (and more to the point government and media) has managed to whip up into a frenzy in the minds of the people on the street? This link leads to an interesting view on how amateur and professional photographers alike can be treated in public these days. As the writer of the article (freelance writer and photographer Christopher Deere) notes;

Meanwhile, every train station and office building and shopping centre and corner pub and casino is taking my picture, and there isn’t a damn thing that I can do about it.


  1. I am Christopher Deere, and I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed by the reaction that my essay in yesterday’s edition of The Age has provoked. I can only suppose that the issue is both wider and deeper than I had thought, and now I don’t entirely believe that it is only about photography. I think that it is about the fundamental issue of identity and the sense of control that any single person has (or feels, or would like to exert) in the world at large. Any threat to self-determination is always serious enough to provoke a reaction – or even an over-reaction. So a carelessly-pointed camera – or, more seriously, a carefully-pointed one – is a challenge and a questioning of our very existence, as individuals and as a community. Big Brother has too many siblings to count, so nobody can be sure of how he or she might be related to the human family. There are no true orphans now – only outcasts.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 10:30 | Permalink
  2. artpunkNo Gravatar wrote:

    Thank you for your thoughtful answer Christopher and also for sharing your thoughts that prompted me to post this entry referencing your article in the first place.
    I think these issues have been simmering under the surface of many people’s consciousness for a long time which may explain the reaction/discussion your article generated. These debates are ones we probably need to have if we are to understand and progress with our interactions with others in society.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 14:10 | Permalink
  3. 9/03/2008

    Two weeks ago my wife and I attended the Oregon State Fair. We paid our admittance fee, and went through the obligatory search of my camera bag. No restrictions were administered, and I was told to enjoy my time.

    We walked around waiting until dark so that I could practice my long exposure,amusement ride, abstract photography. As the sun faded there was still too much light for my abstracts , so I put the camera onto the tripod and thats when the trouble started.

    I was surrounded by four police officers, and questioned about who I was taking photos of on the ride! I told them that I was taking long exposures, and they said there were complaints about me taking pictures of the children on the ride. A position they kept insinuation even after they “ran” my identification. I tried to show them the photos since I was shooting digital at the time, but they weren’t interested. I called the Fair the next day, and they said they were sorry. The officers handled the questioning badly, and it wouldn’t happen again. But I’ve talked to someone else that had the same harrassment earlier in the day by two different officers.

    I’m sure that the confrontation happened because of my long “Santa”style beard. There were many other people with cameras, but few with tripods. I could understand their concerns if I had been wearing a trenchcoat with no trousers, but…

    I’ve since learned that I should have asserted my First Amendment Rights. I wasn’t obliged to tell them anything, and I shouldn’t have let them touch my license, They only had the right to see that I had identification.

    I’ve learned over everything else that suspicion is the coin of the realm, and that puritanical ideals have a home in America.

    Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 08:25 | Permalink

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