You may have noticed that although I often speak about my children and grandchildren, I never include photos of identifiable people. I believe that most people protect their credit card details better than they protect their children!
After school, yesterday, my wife and I took two of our grandchildren to the park. They were enjoying themselves on the various swings and slides, and then they both went to sit in this egg-shaped spinner. It looked really sweet, so I got out my camera.
As I was lining up the photo, a park keeper stopped alongside and said, “You’re not allowed to use that here.”
For a moment, I wondered who he was speaking to. Then I realised it was me.
“The camera – You’re not allowed to use it here.”
Now, after 9/11 I was doing a photography course and I encountered a number of security guards who thought they were doing their job by stopping people taking photos in public places. So I looked into the rules and, yes, photos are allowed in public places.
This particular park, of course, is not a public place. It belongs to a local former mansion now turned into a museum.
“So where’s the sign?” I asked, not realising that I was right next to one! Yes. Embarrassing!
He started to explain, but I cut him short.
“It’s okay. I know the reason.”
“It’s not about you,” he said, “It’s to protect your grandchildren.”
“I know,” I said, and I put my camera back in its bag as he walked away.
This is not paranoia. As it happens, I agree with the rule. I think all children’s play areas should ban photographs. There are too many people out there willing to take, and sell, photos of children for obscene purposes.
So, yes. I complied. I took no photos. Because I know that in giving up that right, I am protecting, not only my own grandchildren, but children everywhere.