A Very Odd Campaign
As street photographers, we naturally share the concerns felt by many in the photographic community about the recent anti-terror poster campaign from the Metropolitan Police in London.
The campaign has created considerable confusion, and not a little anger. But it’s important to remember that the law regarding filming and taking photographs in public spaces has not changed. There are no restrictions on taking photographs on public land and in public spaces in the UK.
However, the campaign highlights a shifting attitude towards photography in public spaces, and threatens to taint photographers everywhere. Of course public safety is a legitimate concern, but there’s nothing ‘odd’ or necessarily suspicious about taking photographs. And given the varying interpretations of ‘odd’ behavior different people will have, it’s difficult to see the campaign leading to much more than a slew of misguided reports, a lot of wasted police time, and increased harassment for innocent photographers.
Photographing in public places is a basic freedom. We need to monitor these sorts of developments very carefully, and when necessary speak out.