How do you feel when people point a phone camera in your direction and “snap”… take your photograph without asking?

Nowadays some people feel they have the right to photograph you when and where they please without a second thought to ask if it’s ok? 

This is something individuals in the spotlight, celebrities and the like have had to endure for years. But you could say that comes with the territory of being in that position. Journalist photographers working for newspapers and magazines all want to catch your every public move – its news! Although many law suits have been issued when the paparazzi take it too far and attempt (often successfully) to catch people in the privacy of their home or on vacation. It’s a subject of regular controversy. 

Let’s bring it a bit closer to home – Perhaps you’re a member of a group who meet for whatever reason of mutual interest and someone insists on recording the gathering… every single time! Despite your protestations, you’ll likely get the reply “oh don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine” and they carry on. It makes you feel highly uncomfortable! You might consider leaving the group – so what are your choices? You could just put your hand up to cover your face, (as in the image) or turn away (I’ve done that before now!). But that’s pretty drastic and could create social barriers within the group. You can try talking to the person and explain how you feel. You hope they are a reasonable and understanding individual who will allow you to stand aside and be out of shot. But that in itself could make you feel even more at odds, as then we could feel we were being the ‘difficult one’. 

There is currently no law in the UK preventing this if you are out in public spaces. 

So if you find yourself being one of those photographers and someone objects, stop and consider for a moment how it is for them. Accept that they find it a particular challenge and your actions are making them feel very uncomfortable. If you can do this without question or judgement, even better, it will be appreciated.

There’s more to be discussed on the subject of ‘Photographer Responsibility’ which will come out in a future blog.

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