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Thread: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

  1. #1
    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    Yep, it is. I can attest to that from first hand knowledge. I was visiting London a few months ago and was doing some night time photography of The House of Parliament and Big Ben from across the river, not far from the London Eye when I was approached by two police officers. They questioned me and were very interested in what I was photographing. They were polite, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was being treated as a suspect. I was informed that I drew their attention because I was using a tripod. They said I had to give them my identification so they could check me out. They radioed my information into dispatch and after a few minutes I was cleared (not a terrorist). They wrote out an incident report, gave me a copy, and told me to show it if I was stopped by police again while taking photos and it would show that I had already be investigated and cleared.

    Since I was a visitor in a foreign country I was very cooperative. I did politely ask them why I was singled out for investigation while there were several other people taking photos in the same area. They said it was because I was using a tripod which would result in sharper photos (this was night time). I wanted so bad to challenge them about why they did not investigate everyone photographing the same location during the daylight hours - after all it wouldn't be much different than night time with tripod. I was so tempting to speak my mind, argue my rights, etc., but I knew there was nothing to be gained by being confrontational with police officers.

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    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    Sounds like Russia...I had a similar experience
    Mike

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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    You can't shoot on a tripod at a number of locations in NYC. Last summer I was stopped at Lincoln Center and made to stop.

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    The Amateur Photographer magazine has been waging a campaign for quite some time in the UK about this, lobbying members of parliament etc - so far to no apparent avail.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    It's so silly, a tripod is hardly surrepticious, shouldn't they be looking for suspicious people taking photos with their button hole cameras, no one could really expect a terrorist to be so open?
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    Re: Is it really this bad for amatuer photographers in the UK?

    What is odd about my experience in London is that I was not stopped or questioned after that initial incident. I went back to the same area the next night with my tripod and not a single police officer challenged me and there were plenty around. I was fully expecting to be questioned like the previous time. The application or enforcement of the rules doesn't seem to be consistent.

    Mark

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