Photography is under attack. Across the country it that seems anyone with a camera is being targeted as a potential terrorist, whether amateur or professional, whether landscape, architectural or street photographer.
Not only is it corrosive of press freedom but creation of the collective visual history of our country is extinguished by anti-terrorist legislation designed to protect the heritage it prevents us recording.
This campaign is for everyone who values visual imagery, not just photographers.
We must work together now to stop this before photography becomes a part of history rather than a way of recording it.
With a huge police operation, thousands of troops, private security and new legal powers taking over parts of London during the upcoming Olympic & Paralympic games, the PHNAT campaign will be closely monitoring the experiences of photographers, both amateur and professional, around the events & sites.
We want to hear from you any experiences or incidents, positive or negative, that you’ve had photographing around the olympic site in the run up to or during the games, or otherwise in connection with the olympics (increased stops with olympics given as a reason etc).
Help us track the impact of London 2012 on press freedom & the right to photograph, share this page and if you or anyone you know has issues, please let us know. Email us at email@example.com *
* – Please note, we cannot give any form of legal advice regarding any incidents, we are just collating accounts.
On World Press Freedom Day 2011, photographers and PHNAT supporters converged on London’s City Hall to highlight the harassment of photographers by security guards on privately owned but publicly accessible areas of London and hand our letter in to the Mayor. As well as the photographs and interview in the original article we want to share this video report of the action courtesy of Videojournalist Jason N Parkinson:
A glimpse of attitudes to photography of many city security guards:
Video & text from the London Street Photography Festival.
On Tuesday 21 June 2011 six photographers were assigned different areas of the City to photograph. Some used tripods, some went hand held, one set up a 5 x 4.
All were instructed to keep to public land and photograph the area as they would on a normal day. The event aimed to test the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers.
All six photographers were stopped on at least one occasion. Three encounters led to police intervention.
This is what happened.
Directed and Produced by Hannah White for the London Street Photography Festival Edited by Stuart York
Many thanks to:
Tim Bowditch Leona Chaliha Ana Galanou Michael Grieve David Hoffman Chris Ogilvie Pennie Quinton Liam Ricketts Toby Smith Grant Smith Camilla Webster Philip Wolmuth Stuart York
The use of Stop & Search without grounds for suspicion has been ruled illegal by European Court of Human Rights. This ruling from Strasbourg comes as thousands of photographers are set to gather in London on Saturday 23rd January to take mass action to defend their right to photograph after a series of high profile detentions under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.
Our society’s visual history is under threat of extinction by anti-terrorism legislation. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act has in effect ended the confidence of the citizen to engage in the act of photography in a public place as photographers, artists and illustrators, amateur and professional are harassed by police invoking terrorism legislation to stop and search them. The act of documenting our street scenes and public life, our built environment, whether iconic or not, is now considered to be an act of hostile reconnaissance and could result in the detention of the image-maker.
The Mass Photo Gathering has been called by the campaign group I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! which has over 11,000 followers on Facebook.
Notes for Editors
I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! Is a campaign run by photographers for anyone who values visual imagery. It was set up in 2009 in response to new terrorism laws preventing the photographing of police officers with a media event attended by hundreds of photographers outside New Scotland Yard.
I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! invite all Photographers to a mass photo gathering in defence of street photography.
Following a series of high profile detentions under s44 of the terrorism act including 7 armed police detaining an award winning architectural photographer in the City of London, the arrest of a press photographer covering campaigning santas at City Airport and the stop and search of a BBC photographer at St Pauls Cathedral and many others. PHNAT feels now is the time for a mass turnout of Photographers, professional and amateur to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws.
Freedom to Photograph – Reclaim Our Shopping Centres
Few people know about the restrictions on photography in ‘public’ spaces like shopping centres unless they have been frog-marched out of Canary Wharf, Westfield or the Arndale Centre by burly security guards.
These private shopping meccas welcome people spending their money but threaten to call the police if they bring out a camera.
We have picked a typical shopping day in September to highlight to the public these ‘photo free zones’ and we encourage all photographers, amateur and professional, to Flashmob their local shopping centre on Saturday 12th September at 3pm. Or come to the flashmob in London.
At 3pm on the dot everyone will take their cameras out and start photographing something interesting, this might be:
The hundreds of other photographers
A puzzled security guard trying to work out what’s going on
Security Guards trying to stop someone from taking photographs
Interesting architectural features
Wait a sec, is this legal?
Yes. Ok, well sort of. It’s not illegal!
Canary Wharf and many other shopping centres around the country are owned by private companies who can set any conditions on entry, most of the time this includes no photography.
However as we will just be ordinary citizens who happen to be carrying cameras and taking them out at the same time an offence isn’t committed unless you refuse to leave. You could download our bust card just in case!
Trespass is a civil offence so you can’t be arrested for it.
It’s probably a good idea if you don’t turn up looking like a Terrorist, that will get us into trouble and that isn’t cool.