In an effort to provide easy access to photographers’ rights while making pictures in public places, <a href="http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Photographers_rights_campaign_spawns_lens_cloth_launch_news_299405.html" title="Amateur Photographer“>Amateur Photographer – a London based magazine – will be providing a free photography rights lens cloth with the July 10 issue of its magazine.
The rights (or guidelines) were issued to Metropolitan Police officers last year to help them understand photographers’ rights in public.
The small cloth, made of microfiber material that can be used to also clean lenses, reads:
Dear police officer/PCSO
These guidelines have been issued to all police staff by the head of Specialist Operations for the Metropolitan Police Service, to assist them in dealing with professional and amateur photographers taking pictues in public places:
“Whilst we must remain vigilant at all times in dealing with suspicious behavior, staff must also be clear that:
•There is no restriction on people taking photographs in public places or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances
•There is no prohibition on photographing frontline uniform staff
•The act of taking a photograph in itself is not usually sufficient to carry out a stop
•Unless there is a very good reason, people taking photographs should not be stopped
•Officers do not have the power to delete digital images, destroy film or to prevent photography in a public place under either power (sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 200)”
Editor. Amateur Photographer magazine
These points remain true for here in the states as well (read National Press Photographer Association’s release on photographers’ rights to take pictures in public places) and although it is important for amateur and professional photographers to have easy access to guidelines to protect themselves, it is important for photographers to understand their own states laws and regulations.
Photographers should also remember that just because you have the right to make a photo in a public place doesn’t always mean that you should. I think the lens cloth is an interesting novelty and I truly support Amateur Photographer’s campaign, but if the cloth is the one thing that protecting you in a hostile situation with authority then I think there are some bigger issues to examine.
See Amateur Photographer’s lens cloth.
Read more stories from Amateur Photographer on ‘photographers rights’.
Read National Press Photographer Association’s release on photographers’ rights to take pictures in public places.
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