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Old Oct 11, 2009, 11:33 AM   #1
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Default A warning to all

I wasn't sure where to post this warning and I thought that this might be the best place to cover as many readers as possible because it pertains to each and every one of us as shooters.

Yesterday I was out driving around looking for Photographic opportunities for my homework for a photography class I am presently enrolled in. I went from place to place shooting away everything I thought might be an interesting shot. I was driving from one site to another and was stopped at a traffic light and in the car beside me there was a little girl with a forlorn look on her face. My Camera was on the passenger seat beside me, so I picked it up and took the shot. I must say that it was probably the nicest shot I had taken all day.

I got home a couple of hours later and started to process the days shooting. Without a word of a lie the picture of the little girl came up on the screen and I decided to crop it down and I was literally in the process when the phone rang. My wife and I both picked up the phone at the same time. The caller introduced himself as Constable ***** of the RCMP. He said that he had received a call from the Father of the little girl who was very concerned about someone taking pictures of his Daughter. WOW, my heart nearly stopped, now I'm suspected of being a Pedophile. Right away I told the officer exactly what had transpired and my wife piped in that I was shooting for an assignment for the Photography Class I was taking. I assured him that there was nothing untoward about the shot and that he could come up to the house and see it for himself and that the shot was still on the memory card along with a couple of hundred more photos of everything and anything and no other little girls. He seemed to believe me and my wife but I'm sure that I am going to be put on some kind of watch list or something.

For obvious reasons I would also like to know at this time if any of you have some sort of consent and or release form that I could please get from you,.

I was torn as to whether I should post the Photo of the girl, but decided not to on the grounds of respect the parties involved privacy issues.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 12:35 PM   #2
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Can you explain how the father got your name? Did he follow you and get your licence #?

There is something wrong with this (not with you or your story) but with this scene. There seems to be an infringement on your rights as well.

While I can appreciate the 'new world' we live in the pendulum is swinging the other way to where the innocent are becoming the victims.

The fact that the father didn't say, or do anything initially is what bothers me. He could said 'hey buddy' what yer doing ..NO pic of my kid OK!!!..and the two of you could have discussed it. No he calls the cops, you get a 'mark' next to your name..and he walks off with nothing. For all we know he painted a terrible pic of you and you can't defend yourself or know what they are!!!

I guess the message for me in this is if I ever get a 'call'..I'm gonna say..Yes officer I took that pic..I was concerned that the guy next to her had kidnapped her or something...he was acting strange and she had this 'look'. I thought that if i took a pic, and there was a news item about her...I could tell you guys where I saw her and give you the photo....he seem creepy to me!

Now the cops gonna wonder about him too...
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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On a similar note I was asked by the local crossing guard to take a few pics of her doing her job. She was leaving and wanted a souvenir of her fun days because she liked her job. Situated in an inconspicuous spot between two buildings I was taking pictures of her doing her job. I hear a "What are you up to?" I look up and some guy is standing there and I asked "Whats it to you"? He then informs me he is a cop and I then said "so, whats it to you"? I then asked if I was doing anything wrong? He asks me what Im shooting and I quickly tell him the crossing guard who asked me to do it. Then I resume my shooting and ignore the guy. Next I see the guy driving around and approaches the lady. After a short conversation he drives off. She is the crossing guard for the local high school. Kids 14 to 18. It seems if I was there to photograph those teenagers Id be in trouble. Thats the first time I was ever approached by someone regarding my photography. Its a shame the majority has to play down to the lowest life forms.
In your case it was a simple matter for the driver to take your licence number down and supply that to the cops when he lodged his complaint about you. If you were never contacted by the cops again thats the end of it. But there might be that mark and your name is on the books. I remember a time when we could shoot anything and anybody. And then it was film so we couldnt go up to parents and show them the pic of their kid just taken. I cant get my head around pedophilia so its not something I appreciate others thinking that of me because I have a camera. Its a shame though that there will be a generation of cute pics of kids being kids that will never see the light of day.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 1:20 PM   #4
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It's always more polite to ask someone's permission to take their photo, though I frequently subscribe to the theorm that it's easier to get forgiveness than permission. But in any set of circumstances, I get the permission of the subject, whether it be before or after the fact.

While what you experienced requires a significant amount of diligence on the part of the parent and the RCMP, I don't think it's unreasonable for either of them to make inquiries about your intentions. When you took the shot, you placed the parent in what he or she preceived to be a vulnerable position, whether it was your intention or not, and the parent fought back. For that, I commend him or her. And for not taking matters into his or her own hands, I think you should consider yourself lucky.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 1:30 PM   #5
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Look, it's one thing to shoot people in public. Shooting a child in public is asking for extra scrutiny. Shooting a child sitting inside a car? Seriously? And you're wondering why the father and police might be upset? While not a crime, it's not very good common sense. Walking around with a sheet over your head and KKK symbols isn't illegal, doing it in a predominant black neighborhood isn't very good common sense. Sorry, but next time you feel the need to photograph a little girl in a car I suggest you think again.

And before we start the whole street photography nonsense up again - this is VERY different than the street photography shots under discussion in past threads. If the girl had been sitting on a park bench with her father and the photo was of both I'd have no issues. But a girl in a car? No, sorry.

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Old Oct 11, 2009, 1:33 PM   #6
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Yes indeed he ( the father) copied my plate number and reported. I agree that it is indeed a shame that it has come to this but I also understand with all the waco's about these days.

So do any of you have release forms of some sort? Thanks Ed
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 2:34 PM   #7
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While verbal agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on, I beleive that most people are honorable. If someone says I can use a photo of them, I may use it. And if they change their mind, I'll pull it. But I don't derive any income from my photography, so I've got little to lose.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 3:17 PM   #8
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A verbal ok is fine in my book too.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 3:20 PM   #9
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My wife warned me once when I tried to take a pic of a dog in a park. Because, many children were surrounding and petting that dog. I was kind of shocked to hear that. Well, I listened to her. I didn't feel like taking pics anymore though anyway.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law asked me take some pics of her daughter as she is a cheerleader for peewee football. So, she is like 6 or 7 years old I think.
Anyway, I went to the field and saw my niece, but not my sister-in-law. There are many parents were there to watch the game and I don't think they knew me at all. The game had started and I wanted to take some pics of my niece, but I couldn't even though no one gave me a suspicious look. A few minutes later, finally my sister-in-law showed up. She told me she had to go to a bank. Now, those parents saw me talking to my sister-in-law and they know her very well. Finally, I thought I was comfortable shooting some pics.

I guess I should wear a t-shirt saying "I'm just Japanese. Pretty much harmless these days." or something like that lol.

- Hiro

Last edited by hiro1963; Oct 11, 2009 at 3:38 PM.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 4:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Look, it's one thing to shoot people in public. Shooting a child in public is asking for extra scrutiny. Shooting a child sitting inside a car? Seriously? And you're wondering why the father and police might be upset? While not a crime, it's not very good common sense. Walking around with a sheet over your head and KKK symbols isn't illegal, doing it in a predominant black neighborhood isn't very good common sense. Sorry, but next time you feel the need to photograph a little girl in a car I suggest you think again.

And before we start the whole street photography nonsense up again - this is VERY different than the street photography shots under discussion in past threads. If the girl had been sitting on a park bench with her father and the photo was of both I'd have no issues. But a girl in a car? No, sorry.
What is so "revealing" about a girl in a car?

But there's a very simple question to ask. Is his action illegal? If it's NOT illegal, then how dare they track this guy down and demand ANY information?

Is the girl in the witness protection program?

Basically, the guy is minding his own business. There is simply nothing magical, harmful, wrong, about taking a photograph.

Perhaps I'm not familiar with the laws in Canada, but I see all of this as part of a trend. I mean really, who gives a damn.

Let me give people an analogy. Let us say that I'm smoking a cigarette in my car. Someone sees this, takes down my license plate, and calls the Cops to complain that a crack head just drove by toking away on his cocaine.

And if the police, as a result of this rediculous call, harrased me, would there be ANY controversy at all in this discussion?

Dave

Last edited by Chato; Oct 11, 2009 at 4:21 PM. Reason: Adding an addendum
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