An interesting and passionate article by Sydney Morning Herald photographer Jon Reid about the laws relating to privacy and photography. Essentially – in Australia it is not a crime to take photos of a person in a public place (although if you do it too much – like every day – you may be accused of stalking … and rightfully so !).
As a male and a photographer, I am increasingly concerned about the unfair assumptions people make in relation to the intent of my actions. Fortunately, I don’t tend to take a lot of pictures of people (except at family get-togethers) – I prefer nature – scenery and wildlife.
I do also love photographing architecture, which may see me arouse suspicion of a different kind, thanks to our terrorism paranoia. Why must we all become victims to everyone else’s fears. Why do we let the actions of a very small minority of people spoil the things that are interesting and beautiful in our lives ?
Here is a small excerpt from Jon’s article Photography Is Not A Crime:
I don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with the harassment and interference that may be levelled at photographers. My colleagues employ a variety of methods . Brendan Esposito says he carries every bit of gear he can manage, to make himself look obviously like a professional or newspaper photographer. Peter Morris says he won’t even try to take candid pictures on a beach anymore. He will always try to introduce himself
to those who are prominent in the frame. I’ve introduced myself on occasions, though it almost certainly tends to ruin any candid spontaneity that might otherwise occur. On one occasion, even after introducing myself as from the SMH, I was still harassed by a non-related third party who took it upon himself to object to what I was doing (a story on the cleanliness of Sydney’s harbour beaches.)
Just because photography is legal and there is no right to privacy doesn’t provide carte blanch to photographers. There are defamation laws that apply to published images. The national classification system also applies to published works and any image used for commercial purposes requires a model consent for anyone recognisable in the image. Offensive behaviour laws may also apply, and this was what
brought down Peter Mackenzie, 25 of Coogee, who was photographing topless women on the beach with a camera-phone.