Sign of the Times: Erosion of Photographic Freedom

While poking around on the Web this morning, I stumbled across a letter Emeritus Professor Des Crawley wrote in response to a personal story Port Macquarie photographer and APS member Rob Smith related on his Web site about the time a police officer confronted him as he was photographing people (including children) in a public place for a project on which he was working.

Firstly, Rob's article:

This is well worth a read.  Rob very candidly goes into what he was doing (which was in no way wrong, perverted or insidious), and relates in horror what happened to him when the police officer turned up in response to anonymous, well-intentioned but grossly off-the-mark concerns by members of the public about a middle-aged man photographing children with a telephoto lens.

Rob handled the situation very well, as you will see upon reading the article.

Des Crawley responded to that story, and has some very wise and passionate advice to offer on the matter.  Here is his response:

This alone is well worth a read, even if you had not seen Rob's story.  As it turned out, I read Des's response before reading the article it was addressing, but the advice is generic enough to stand on its own.

Please, read both of these articles, be aware of what we face (as if you were not already), and take on board Rob's approach to handling situations like what he encountered.

Published on Saturday, 4th September, 2010.