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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Report highlights the growing assault on citizen photography

Growing problems with citizen photography - A new report just out brings the problems photographers face back into the spotlight.

"There is no overarching ban on photography, but there has been a creeping restriction of everyday photography," the report says.

The report highlights there are 'no-go' areas and 'touchy subjects' that are restricting citizen photographers.

The report says: "As a result, many children are growing up with gaps in the family photo album – no sports day or first swim photos - and as a society we have big gaps in our archives."

The study was compiled and written by Pauline Hadaway, director of Belfast Exposed gallery, and published by the Manifesto Club who 'campaigns against the hyperregulation of everyday life'.

The report highlights the 'terrorist threat' hysteria that currently surrounds photography and the growing concerns about photographing children. The reasons given for these photography restrictions are rather vague and according to the group, legally questionable.

The report said how several citizens were told they must have written permission to film in an airport or train station, a member of the public was told that he needed a 'licence' for his camera and parents were told that photos of their children's nativity play could end-up on a child pornography website.

After several more examples, the author finishes the report by saying: "Much of the contemporary paranoia around photography appears to be driven more by vague suspicion than by any real and present danger...it is time to stand up for citizen photography against the antidemocratic impulse to police the public gaze."

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