No Photographing Children without Parental Consent?

Readers — We’re getting to the point where ANYTHING having to do with children is so fraught with inflated fears that we are going absolutely crazy. Consider this bill just introduced in the New Jersey state assembly: It would outlaw the photographing or videotaping of kids in situations in which “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction.”

How’s that for vague? So, suddenly, a kid in the background of your park pictures is taboo if his dad is mad you’re taking a pic? Or maybe you’re breaking the law if you’re videotaping your child’s pool party and the other parents haven’t signed a waiver? Since when is photography a crime? The camera really does NOT capture anyone’s soul. Promise!

The bill was prompted by an incident last summer in which a 63-year-old man was caught taking pictures of some pre-teen girls. The geezer admitted to police he was photographing them because he found them (fully clothed): “sexy.”

For the record, that is kind of creepy. But it’s also harmless. And one man’s ickiness should not criminalize anyone with a camera. If photographing kids becomes illegal, we will have entered a new kind of society. A kind of totalitarian one, where our everyday rights have been stripped away, supposedly for our “protection.” Except that now we can be arrested for something that poses zero danger!

Somehow, I don’t feel safer. And I don’t feel my kids are safer, either. — L

Would we have any pictures like this if the proposed law was passed?

181 Responses

  1. Guilty until proven innocent, as usual. I’m worried about a society that sees this kind of preemptive suspicion normal, because all of the historical examples I can think of have been despotic or just collapse really quickly.

  2. it was on the agenda at a cub scout leaders’ mtg last night here in central NJ.

  3. Why can’t they just say that parents have the right to demand pictures of their children be removed from any electronic device (including a camera), so that parents who DO have issues with it have the law behind them?

    I do think that we should have some rights regarding reproduction of photographs of ourselves, and once something is on the net, it’s hard to get off there. A lot of the rare weirdos that do have these photos share them with others in exchange for photos that the other weirdos took.

    Is that my main concern at the playground? No. But while I think this law is the wrong way to go about it, giving people a little more control of their own image wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either.

  4. This is one of those laws that one bad apple ruined it for everyone type thing. It is also the type of law where they are not going to enforce it unless someone complains and it is a more serious situation such as the original situation that prompted it.

    With cell phone cameras a lot of things have changed because honestly it is hard to retain any sort of privacy or modesty. I hear stories all the time of men slipping their cell phone camera under an unsuspecting woman’s dress in line at the bank or in class, etc. Its pretty darn sick. And I kinda welcome that if something like that happens that I would be able to press charges against them. If anything it might prevent that type of thing due to fear of being prosecuted.

    I doubt they are going to go around arresting people taking pics of their kids playing with other kids and innocent things. It would only be enforced if there was so serious shenanigans going on.

  5. I am with Elizabeth that I do want some control of my image and my children’s images. For example if some person that didn’t like me took my kids pictures and then insulted them on a blog or facebook, I should have the right to demand to have them legally removed. There needs to be a happy medium.

  6. There is a saying “What people think of me is none of my business” Maybe it should be adapted to “Why people want pictures of me is none of my business.”

    I am surprised the parents were not arrested for not supernaturally knowing that an icky man would be taking pictures, or for not being able to stop him before he depressed the button on his camera.

  7. Elizabeth, not to be confrontational but, bottom line, how does it hurt your child if a weirdo/weirdo looks at his/her photo? How would you know it’s even happening?

    I can see why it’s creepy to think about, but I can’t see that some guy somewhere who likes looking at my kid’s photo is hurting my kid in any way. I also don’t believe my kids are so amazing looking that a creepy stranger would a) want to intentionally take their photo while pretending to take a photo of something else, and b) share it.

  8. I don’t think it has to be about hurting. I think that we have a right to photos of ourselves.

    Of course I don’t always know if it’s happening, but I believe that I do have the right to ask someone not to take my photo.

    I believe everyone on this planet has that right, for whatever reason. No, they’re not taking my soul, but I guess I’ll just say that I have two photojournalist friends. They don’t publish pictures of people without the permission of the subject, or the subject’s family. I think that’s ethical.

    I do not think that perverts, ad men, or photojournalists should be allowed to take pictures of children or anyone for commercial or personal use.

    And it should be noted that most news agencies do not do that, out of respect for the individuals photographed.

    “Why people want pictures of me is none of my business.”

    It is my business. That’s a picture of me!

    I should say, I believe the rights apply equally to adults and children, and I never would have thought of this as a pervert issue. My main thought was the guidelines we got for taking pictures for humanitarian organizations:

    Don’t treat the person as an object.
    Always ask permission to take photos before the session so you can get photos of the person in action, otherwise, interrupt the action to ask. Never take a photo without permission.
    If the subject may not be aware of what publication means, show the subject photos of other people looking at pictures. Ask if she would like to be in the photo.


    And this was in every country, not just very poor or underdeveloped ones. Rules were the same in Skopje and in Kabul.

    I think our kids deserve the same!

  9. “I do not think that perverts, ad men, or photojournalists should be allowed to take pictures of children or anyone for commercial or personal use.”*without consent.

    Obviously taking pictures, period, is okay, provided it’s done with consent.

  10. A hobbyist photographer, this absolutely is a biggie in which I get very riled up. Frankly, I don’t see how it could stand up to constitutional scrutiny via Freedom of the Press.

    Parents do anymore, however, think that there’s something “creepy” about your photographing practically anything in public if their kids happen to be within approximately a 3 trillion mile radius of where you’re doing your photographing. I have experienced this: I once photographed ducks at the lake, DUCKS, and a local mother was screaming “stop photographing my kids you pervert.” My reply: don’t worry, I only photograph things that look good (i.e., you have one ugly kid), ha ha.

    But seriously–when you are in public you lose all expectation of privacy where it regards this. You can’t have it both ways–wear a bikini at the lake, you will get some stares, don’t like it, cover up–and that is NOT the same as saying a woman in a skimpy dress asks to get raped, I’m talking about a brief stare, not even leering.

    As for kids–as Lenore says, no harm is going to come over simple pictures, it doesn’t rip out someone’s soul. As for my prior example, had I been photographing her kid, I would’ve been breaking no law. People like that are really starting to bother me because they’re a reflection of how totally out-of-kilter this country is really starting to get.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson ( would be a criminal under this bill. Considering Henri Cartier-Bresson has his street photograph in museums, that shows just how ridiculous this would be.


  11. “I also don’t believe my kids are so amazing looking that a creepy stranger would a) want to intentionally take their photo while pretending to take a photo of something else, and b) share it.”

    You know… not that I think most kids’ pictures end up in the hands of creeps (my kids photos are on facebook, set to private, hope it works, if it doesn’t, oh well), but.

    Isn’t that rather like saying, “I’m not pretty so I won’t get raped?”

    Seriously, the very rare sicko that does do that, is not interested in the prettiest child, per se. You have no idea what makes children attractive to those people.

    Now, that is not to say, “Therefore, this law is a good one.” I think having the right to ask someone to give back a photo, or the obligation to ask if it’s okay, is plenty enough.

    But your reasoning is based on a false assumption–that pedophiles look for “amazing” children.

    They do not.

  12. Eilzabeth I respectfully say–I do not need and will not ask for permission to photograph ANYTHING in public. Period. I have been known, on an occasion here & there, to see a stranger’s kid do something cute, and I photographed it. I was breaking no law, nor was I doing anything decent. It’s part of life. I mean no disrespect, but no one should have to ask permission to take a picture, that’s just totally ridiculous.

    And yes, for the record, I have children, and yes–if someone wants to photograph them, go right ahead.

    Again, look it up–Henri Cartier Bresson.


  13. Okay. Let’s do a thought experiment. I have had this debate on mommy boards and ultimately it comes down to:

    I own my likeness.
    I don’t own my likeness.

    (Rare identical twins and other resemblances being irrelevant because that is not their fault.)

    If you think you do NOT own your likeness, suppose someone got a picture of you and used it in, say, an ad campaign for a bill to make crime victims take a lie detector test and psychological test. And your image is associated with that, and there are billboards, pop-up ads on the Internet, the whole shebang.

    Are you REALLY going to be all, “Why do I care what someone else does with my image?”

    Or suppose you think that’s a great idea, psychological tests for crime victims. Let’s say in that case someone from PETA takes your picture and photoshops a fur coat on to you and makes you evil villain number one. Tiny print says it’s a representation and not reality. Does not bother you?

    Or you are put in the ad of “normal joes” (no name attached) who support a political candidate you hate.

    Still okay with your image used any which way?

    I am sure some of you would say yes, but I wouldn’t be okay with that. I’m not worried about my children being used by perverts–it’s too unlikely. I would, however, be irritated if someone took their picture and didn’t ask.

  14. “Again, look it up–Henri Cartier Bresson.”

    I know who he is.

    It doesn’t mean I approve of 100% of what he did and how he did it. A criminal? No. I don’t think the law Lenore posted should be passed. HOWEVER.

    Just because you don’t think people own their own likeness, does not mean you are absolutely right. Others may disagree and I think you ought to respect that.

    Sorry that lady called you a pervert, though. That was uncalled for. A simple, “We don’t like to be photographed or published, thanks,” would suffice.

    “I do not need and will not ask for permission to photograph ANYTHING in public. Period.”

    I disagree with you. I think ethically, you do. I think I own my likeness.

    PERIOD. (Because that ends the debate? I can always tell when I’m arguing with an “artist”… sigh…)

  15. I ran into an older man (stranger!) taking photos at my daughter’s soccer game. I struck up a conversation with him and found out he is a hobbyist photographer and was taking pictures of his granddaughter. He asked me which number player was my daughter.
    Turns out, he loves her facial expressions and had some of the best shots of her I’ve ever seen. He gave me copies at the next game and they are some of my favorites (she gets a really angry look on her face before she shoots on goal- it’s priceless!).
    I see this legislation as just more rules to avoid simple conversations.

  16. PS, My photographer friends would also disagree with you. Perhaps that is because they work with people whose rights have been trampled on enough?

    Warning: if you go to a poor country, where people have nothing but their pride and dignity, you might have to adjust your thinking. Or else get the crap beat out of you, or your camera taken.

    Just because you do the job does not mean you get to define the limits of your obligations.

    Your hero, Mr. Bresson, might well have asked his subjects, after the fact, if he could publish the photos.

    Would that be so hard?

  17. I do not care what someone does with my or my kid’s likeness.

  18. “Cartier-Bresson was a photographer who hated to be photographed and treasured his privacy above all. Photographs of Cartier-Bresson do exist, but they are scant. When he accepted an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1975, he held a paper in front of his face to avoid being photographed.[1]

    In a Charlie Rose interview in 2000, Cartier-Bresson noted that it wasn’t necessarily that he hated to be photographed, but it was that he was embarrassed by the notion of being photographed for being famous.[9]”


  19. Elizabeth, my feelings are NOTHING like “I’m not pretty so I won’t get raped.”

    My precious snowflakes are precious snowflakes only to me. I am not arrogant enough to believe they are also precious to everyone else. (And yes, I’m using ‘precious snowflake’ sarcastically.)

  20. On one hand, I agree with you. By that logic, they should make it illegal for men to purchase women’s underwear.

    On the other hand, I don’t like the unauthorized photography of my kids for official purposes. Every year my kids’ school has several “picture days,” plus there was that time when the cops offered to come in and fingerprint and photograph our kids so we could identify them if they were kidnapped, murdered and dismembered. Ugh! In none of these cases did I give my consent/place advance orders. Yet at least for the regular school pictures, they always took my kids’ photos anyway, supposedly so they wouldn’t “feel left out.” I would not be surprised if they did the same during the cop ID event.

    No harm was done, but I don’t want my kids’ info to be arbitrarily placed in some database somewhere. I don’t need the government to be keeping tabs on my kids. I can do that myself.

    I’m sure some people will think I’m being paranoid, but with the whole nanny state thing going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided, for instance, to track who had and hadn’t had an MMR vax and force it on those who hadn’t. I don’t like them having all my info. (They already have plenty of info from every doctor visit we’ve ever been to. Ugh.)

  21. Elizabeth, I disrespectfully disagree with you. I don’t think people automatically own their likenesses. If they did, the paparazzi would be out of business, and PETA would not have been using Michelle Obama’s likeness without permission in a recent campaign.

    We also would not see all of the images brought to us during large scale world events…Who could get the permission of all of the looters we saw after Rodney King was aquitted? Or of the crowds of people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina?

    I do not believe we do own our images beyond the confines of our own property.

  22. Sorry, I was typing too fast and didn’t proofread…

    I meant:

    “Who could get permission from all of the looters we saw after Rodney King’s attackers were aquitted?”

    Sorry for the misinformation!

  23. “They don’t publish pictures of people without the permission of the subject, or the subject’s family. I think that’s ethical.”

    That is ethical for something PUBLISHED in the media. I’m not going to ask every person who happens to be in the background of some picture if it’s okay nor am I going to delete, take down off my blog, etc. a picture of my family vacation because you or your kid happened into the picture. Nor am I going to not post pictures of my kid’s birthday party because my kid invited yours. To expect others to do so is ridiculous and, frankly, self-absorbed.

    “If you think you do NOT own your likeness, suppose someone got a picture of you and used it in, say, an ad campaign”

    Again that is for COMMERCIAL use. Nobody can use your image for COMMERCIAL use without your consent (and paying you). However, that does not mean that you own a image of you taken by someone else for the photographer’s personal use. If you come to a party and I take a picture of you, that picture is MINE and only MINE. I can’t attempt to make money off of it without your consent, but as long as I don’t seek to do so, I’m perfectly within any law that exists, or should exist, to keep that photo and do whatever I want to with it in a non-commercial setting. That includes posting it on Facebook. You accept the risk of being photographed for my own purposes by attending my party.

    The fact is that the second you walk out into public someone can take your picture and do with it what they wish, as long as they are not making money off of it. If you don’t want to ever have your picture taken without your permission, never leave the house.

  24. Elizabeth Think what you want, but again, in person, you have NO RIGHT to the expectation of privacy. Except in this wacko weirdo legislation NJ is considering, it’s long been legally established. The ONLY reason any person could possibly think otherwise is because they’ve been brainwashed by the media at large, or they have an elevated level of discomfort which, to be frank, I have no interest in pandering to. I don’t intend to be a jerk per se, but some things I just can’t respect, and that, frankly, is one of them. It’s not up to me to assimiate to their level of discomfort, but theirs to just–well–lighten up.

    And I do not know for a fact, but I don’t think Henri Cartier-Bresson asked permission. He just did what he did, in fact, he deliberately camoflauged his camera with black tape so that people wouldn’t know, and even had it modified to where it took photos at an angle–e.g., it was pointed straight ahead, but was in fact taking photos of whatever was to the left or right of it. His camera was a Leica 35mm rangefiner camera with a leaf-shutter, as opposed to a focal plane shutter of an SLR, which was by nature quieter–again, to be purposely discrete. The camera had a wide-ish angle lens, so he was close to his subjects when photographing them, not popping them off from afar with a telescopic lens.

    He did all of this so as to PURPOSELY photograph people unaware–but NOT for the purpose of being disrespectful to their feelings, but because it was his opinion that people would “pose,” as opposed to acting natural, if they knew–and he wanted the genuine deal with regards to their facial expression. That is exactly what street photography is all about.


  25. “If they did, the paparazzi would be out of business, and PETA would not have been using Michelle Obama’s likeness without permission in a recent campaign.”

    Acutally public officials are treated much differently from private individuals in this area. A private individual could sue PETA (but then why would PETA want to use some unknown person in an ad). It is unlikely that Michelle Obama can.

  26. LOL, I have got to slow down when I type.

    Elizabeth, I just realized I said I disrespectfully disagree with you. I hope you know I meant I respectfully disagree!

    I am going to bow out of comments now. I am having non stop brain issues today.

  27. Sorry for posting too much and “clogging” this thread, but I just had to say–once againDonna–right on. You absolutely nailed it.

    To wit: I once took a photo of someone’s kid because they had seen my kid, my son who was 1 at the time, picked him up and held him to be affectionate with him. I took a photo of it–hey, MY CHILD was in the photo–and the mother objected, wanting me to delete it. I refused, and in fact told her she needed to go to and learn how to not be so paranoid. Prior to that, I told her–look, I could think the same way as you are. You say you don’t know me–well lady, I don’t know you, and most of all, I don’t know your child, who took it upon herself to just up & pick my child up and hold it without asking. But unlike you, I’m not having a bipolar moment over it.


  28. There is no right to privacy in public. If you go out into the world, you risk the chance that someone will photograph you, put your unflattering picture on a website, and mock you for the rest of the world to see. That is what it means to live in a society, and especially in one where there is freedom of speech. If you have an issue with yourself or your children being portrayed poorly in a photograph taken by someone else then stay inside for the rest of your life, or man up an deal with little sticks and stones that don’t break your bones. If you’re worried about some sicko taking photos of your kids while fully clothed and getting off on them…well…is it hurting you if he does? Is it hurting your kids?

  29. What a bunch of idiots. It must be re-election season. Gotta get all those paranoid parents votes. So how about the rights of those taking pictures? “Hey move out of the shot, your kids are in the way!” I’m pretty sure parents would frown upon that as well and make a big stink. “My kids are aloud to be where ever they are!”. Sheeesh, heli-parents they want their cake and eat it too, along with yours, and everyone else at the party. Bunch of self-centered, self-gratifying, ignorant fools. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids. At least that way we won’t have future heli-parents ruining it for the future generation.

    If my kid gets caught in the background of someone taking a general pic, they get caught. No harm. If the person is suspect, and seems fishy, I’d approach him and inquire, if they are still fishy and I don’t buy his explanation I’d demand for him to delete the photos. Or if the person is taking pics of kids for professional reasons (ie. making a park calendar and selling it), well, I’d ask him for a signed contract. After all if my kids likeness is going to be used on something that’s being sold nationwide, I’d like to protect his interest. Whether it be monetary, or just plain protecting him in a business stand point of view. There’s always exceptions. But to make it outlawed? That’s ludicrous.

  30. Last year I was taking photos of a long abandoned railway right-of-way. Some of it was a weed-grown vacant area, but part of it was a long, and relatively narrow park. There were children playing, and other youngsters walking home from school. I was quite careful not to include any recognizable people in the shots. Years ago, I wouldn’t have worried about such things.

  31. That includes posting it on Facebook. You accept the risk of being photographed for my own purposes by attending my party.

    Aye, but there’s the rub: something like Facebook. These laws were fashioned before Facebook (the Internet) came along. In actual fact, I would say Facebook is the “commerical” that the law had in mind back then.

  32. Actually “commercial” is very much defined to EXCLUDE Facebook. “Commercial” means “make money from.” Someone or a company or a cause cannot PROFIT from your image without your consents. I receive nothing for the pictures posted on Facebook. If only I did.

  33. How much is Zuckerberg worth? Apparently, you’re just his, I think the “street” terminology would be, hoe (no, just kidding, I’m not that square), ho.

  34. Zuckerberg profits from my use of Facebook not my image. Huge difference. The fact that I can post pictures makes use of Facebook more desirable but my individual pictures have no value. However, they could not use my pictures in ads for Facebook because that is profiting (or not with my image) directly from my image. Under your theory, Walmart couldn’t print my pictures without the express written consent of every person in them since I pay them to print them (again, Walmart is profiting from my use of their services, not my images).

  35. I’d just be happy if my dingbat sister-in-law didn’t use MY child’s photo as HER Facebook profile picture. Strangers don’t bother me nearly as much as my relatives.

  36. And a P.S. that’s actually on topic: This is an area where the law, well-meaning as it is, is criminalizing an act that is bad etiquette. It is rude to photograph someone without permission, it would be rude to refuse a parent’s request to delete a photo of his or her child. But thankfully, RUDE doesn’t make it a crime.

    I’m appalled when people come to dinner and don’t send me a handwritten thank you note on a piece of paper they send through the mail (well they could have their footman drop it off in person if they prefer). But I don’t want my government to waste its resources (which are really MY resources) punishing people for that. And I don’t want the people in congress to have the power to make it a crime.

    Perhaps the earlier commenters who are disagreeing do actually agree that the act may be objectionable and are mostly disagreeing about the penalty that should apply.

  37. Mrs H I agree & disagree. I don’t think it’s rude to photograph publicly without permission, nor rude to refuse a parent’s request to delete–I think the latter is a ridiculous request, although if one asks NICELY I might be apt to comply, I sure as heck wouldn’t if it was hostile and/or based on this whole “I don’t know you” squat. I’d be inclined to reassure them that the photo I’ve taken won’t be used for “dark” purposes, or–frankly, maybe “fake delete.” (It’s easy to recover images off of the card after deletion even if you’ve formatted the card, so long as the card hasn’t been used since. When you delete an image it’s still there the only thing is the SPACE it occupied is now designated as “open” and a new image could fill that space, but if you haven’t done so, it’s easy to simpy “unmark as reserved” that slot & recover the photo.)

    Maybe I’m a jerk, but that’s how I feel–I wouldn’t ruin a friendship over it I think, but otherwise I stand by my right to photograph publicly, if for no reason than because so many people think you all but don’t have this right, and this needs to be cleared up for its own sake.

    However, I obviously agree that legal penalties surely shouldn’t apply, and I agree with you about your sister-in-law not so much in terms of “MY child HER profile,” but rather this–one of my pet-peeves is people making their child’s picture their Facebook picture. My name is Larry Harrison, not Adrian or Helen (my child’s names), why should their photo be my profile photo when I’m Larry not Helen or Adrian? If someone is looking me up to see if I’m who they remember, they won’t have a clue looking at a photograph of some child they don’t know.

    (And notice how free I felt to use their real names, ha ha!)


  38. What I find interesting is that this bill would not make illegal certain activities that ARE wrong and invasive. Think of celebrities out with their children, who are harassed beyond all reason, and because they could “expect” that kind of treatment, the photographs would not be illegal.

  39. While my child is my Facebook picture (she’s much cute than me), I think it’s odd to make someone else’s child your profile picture. I wouldn’t demand they take it down or anything but it’s a tad weird.

  40. Spot-on piece, Lenore.

  41. I agree that there should be no legal expectation of privacy when you are out in public, but it seems like just common decency not to use someone’s picture if the person asks you not to. I wouldn’t even say you should make “asking nicely” a condition of it, but I wouldn’t blame someone if an outright belligerent or hysterical person inclined them not to cooperate.

  42. And of course the law is totally stupid. I was referring to other aspects of the conversation here, not the OP.

  43. 1) Loved your comment & story, @lollipoplover : )

    2) My FB profile photo has been everything from photo of flowers to my staff to my child to me. It represents what’s going on in my life at the moment or what catches my eye. I’ve heard the “moms who use their child’s photo have lost their own identity!” argument before but I don’t get the big deal. I know who I am. My FB profile photo is a convenient way of sharing a picture of my kid.

    3) Re: “Can’t take photos* without my permission!!”
    People need to chill out.

    *Commercial purposes excluded

  44. I agree to a point pentamom. I don’t think people should post random pictures of people if those people ask them not to. I don’t really need to post a picture of your baby kissing my dog no matter how cute. However, asking me to take down pictures of my kid blowing out her birthday candles because your kid happens to be in the picture is a bit much and is not going to be met with a positive response. (Neither of those things have happened as my friends seem to be okay with posting pictures).

  45. Overall I don’t think we own rights to our own image captured by someones camera. This proposed law is frustrating and out of line. it will be a sad day if it passes and a sader day if it’s upheld in court.

    It actually seems a rather self centered and entitled concept to me. The idea that I (or my kids) happened to be in or the focus of someones photo in public or at a private event so therefor I have a say in what happens to that persons photo is crazy to me. I don’t have a sense of entitlement to privacy of my or my childrens images out in public or private places I’m invited. I don’t like the idea of salways being watched or captured in the act of whatever but I don’t expect privacy nt to be either.

    Using a picture for advertising or other money making reasons is a different story. Images used in those situation should be concented to. if money is going to be made of me or my children or one of our images is going to be used to support a product or cause then I should be ablle to say yes or no to it and have the oportunity to negotiate terms or finacials. That’s a buisness thing.

    I have n fear of people taking my kids pictures or having them in pictures they are taking. I don’t worry about how they will get all over the web or people will look at them in nasty ways. I guess I just have bigger and more realistic things to think about. I don’t have time or energy to hover over thngs like this.

  46. When I started reading this post I forgot it was a FRK post instead of a PINAC (Photography is Not a Crime) post.

    The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, which guarantees the right of photographers to report on what’s happening in our country, often through photographs. This right extends to citizen journalists, aka Moms and Dads and everyone else with a camera.

    This law will not hold up to Constitutional scrutiny if passed.

  47. CCTV is now everywhere. If you go out in public it is almost certain that your image will be recorded in some way.

    The politicians looking to criminalise you and me for taking a photo are, themselves, already doing it with impunity.

    One rule for them and another rule for us.

    Somebody should ask the New Jersey legislature if they are going to ban CCTV in public places.

  48. There is no expectation of privacy when you go out in public, period. You are constantly under surveillance, whether by corporate or government cameras. That is what you should care about, not a single photographer taking a picture for personal (non-commercial) use.

  49. I agree with Elizabeth. This law is very broad so I don’t support this particular law but a happy medium I might support. We do own our likeness and I would not want someone using a pic of me or my kids unless they checked with me first. It is common courtesy to ask permission to photograph someone and especially to use their likeness or post it on the internet, etc.

    It is more just a common courtesy issue to me and if someone got attitude with me because I asked them to stop taking my picture then I might have to escalate it by calling the cops for harassment. I am not talking about just taking pictures that we happen to be in the background. I am talking about directly taking pictures of us when I asked you to stop. That is harassment. Same thing if I ask you to remove my picture from your blog or facebook page etc and you don’t.

    I had a friend ask me nicely to take down a pic with her in it because she thought she looked bad. I thought she looked great but I honored her request because it is HER body in that pic and I should respect her wishes. It is just common courtesy.

  50. Donna, I think I agree with that. I was thinking more of the situation where someone is snapping pictures in public, they’re not obviously taking action pictures of their own family where yours “just happens” to be in it, but are taking pictures that could just as easily be retaken without your or your child in it, and you simply ask them not to, or not to post it.

    But yeah, if someone is taking candid pictures of people doing something and they want the image of the person doing something, and then you or your child is in the frame because they’re actually *with* the person being photographed, I don’t think you should deprive them of doing what they want with their kid’s birthday picture or whatever.

    timkenwest, I wanted to say something like your #2 but didn’t know how. You said it well. People concerned about wanting to be found should post pictures of themselves. People like me who figure anyone who wants to find them can figure it out from my maiden name and school information or otherwise don’t care, should put up what they want for their profile. It’s not a Rohrshach test, it’s usually more like a personal whim.

  51. And for the record, I don’t care about this “posting a picture of my kid” thing at all. Do what you want with pictures of my family, commercial purposes excluded. I just think that sometimes being generous over a small thing is more important than “you have no right to ask that of me.”

  52. Pentamom: I agree with your sentiment about how there is no reason to get outraged if someone asks you to please not take or post your picture. I don’t know why people get offended so easily. Maybe they have good reason to ask that: maybe they are in witness protection, maybe they have an deranged ex they are in hiding from and don’t want them seeing a pic and finding where they live. maybe they have a stalker.

    There are all kinds of legitimate reasons for not wating a pic of your kids or you taken or posted and people should respect that. For example, I had to get onto my SIL for showing my estranged FIL pictures and telling him info about my kids. My husband has chosen to not have any contact with this man for very good reasons. So it is not SIL’s place to tell him about us or show him pictures of us. That is a violation of privacy. Wheither she took the pictures or we took them, if I ask her to not show him, she should respect that.

  53. I don’t think a person would be guilty of harassment for taking photos when they’ve been asked to stop, and that includes posting them on their site–unless they took these photos on the person’s private property and the property owner had made it clear that they did not want to be photographed, or they used the photos to slander the person or commercially without permission (aka a model release).

    They might be guilty of being inconsiderate I suppose, but I’m pretty sure that would be it. They’ve even established so far that, for instance, if I understand it correctly, someone taking photos at Lake Travis in Texas, where nudity is allowed, were not wrong to do so because it was unreasonable for people to expect privacy there. Naturally people wanted to be able to sunbathe nude & not be photographed, but in public, that’s a totally unrealistic expectation. That’s what nudist colonies are for–that’s private property and the property owners can do so there.

    So, people DO have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” on their own private property, so if you photographed them there when they’d told you to cut it out, harassment charges probably would stick or distributing photos you took in that context, but in public–yes, I have the right to photograph whoever all I want, without it constituting harassment, so long as I’m not clicking inches away from their face etc, without legal prosecution–and post it ad nauseum at any site I have. How else do the paparazzi do what they do? (And no I’m not the paparazzi.)

    As for family sharing photos to outsiders, especially if they took them (as opposed to redistributing photos I took), if I don’t want that, then I shouldn’t allow them in my world at all. If someone consented to allowing me into their “inner circle” but then told me I couldn’t take any photographs, I’d just not be in their inner circle at all. Why have me see all of these details but then have me under some veil of secrecy? As a hobbyist photographer, part of the very fabric of who & what I am is to photograph my experiences–this is so important to me, if I’m not allowed to, I will pass on experiencing any of it at all based on that one stipulation I don’t agree with. (Hence I refuse to visit caves, museums etc if they don’t allow me to photograph them.)

    Unless you’re a rock star or someone like that to where every single photo could be picked up by TMZ etc and made scandalous, it’s kind of pretentious to think you’re really all that. I can respect most people’s feelings typically even if I disagree with them, but not this one so much.


  54. Phil, good point. Brings to mind the citizens who have been stopped by police and try to film the following events (citations, arrests, killing of unarmed persons) and the police want to take away the phones/cameras.

    Isn’t there a case up before the US Supreme Court about this?

  55. While there needs to be good sense exercised (we ask parents to sign a waiver at our school so we can easily post group, random and sports shots on the school website) there is no need to legislate this.
    On the other hand, imagine our surprise when we found a SOLO picture of our teenage daughter on the back cover of a Baptist Youth Magzine as part of an advertisement for an event she had attended. We were fairly certain that there had been no realease signed, and she certainly wasn’t remunerated.

  56. Yesterday I was at World Market and picked out a scarf for my Mother’s Day present. When I got home and cut the tag off, I thought of Free Range Kids. You’ll never believe what it said! Not intended for use for people under 14 years old (or something to that effect)! Really?! A little pink flowery rayon scarf?! What harm could ever possibly come from a scarf? Sure, maybe it could suffocate a newborn but a 5, 9, or 11 year old can’t wear it? What is the world coming to?!

  57. I’m of two minds about this law — part of me thinks it’s sort of reasonable (I’d consider being in the background of someone’s playground video or b’day party or landscape shot as “expected”) because I’m uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger directly photographing my kid. Or me. It gives me the creeps. But I’m also aware that on public property one has no legal right to privacy.

    I’m fully aware that having the creeps over this probably isn’t justified. Don’t care. I don’t post photos of my kid online and I don’t like when others do, though if he’s only in the background, I just ask them to remove tags identifying him, not take the whole thing down. Am I worried about safety? Not really. But he’s not able to give informed permission to post his photo, so I’m not posting it. Same rule I use for photos of other people, whether or not there’s money to be made.

    I’m with Dolly, directly photographing someone who hasn’t given permission is just plain rude, insufferably so if they’ve asked you to stop. And Larry — I’m an artist too, and I record my life in my art, but I think you’re the one being pretentious. You can’t live if you can’t photograph whomever and whenever you please? Give me a break.

  58. Lollipoplover – your anecdote is awesome. You should post it again and again until some of the others who’ve been commenting actually read it.

    Elizabeth and Dolly – So what you’re both saying is that when you’re on vacation and taking pictures of your kids, etc, you make sure that no one – absolutely no one – is in the background of any of your pictures, right?

  59. Frances I say this respectfully, hopefully I do.

    When you say your child isn’t able to give permission for a photo, my point of view–where I come from, it’s a totally foreign concept the very idea that a child would even have a say in the matter. Growing up if my mother wanted to take my photo and I didn’t cooperate, I’d get spanked for it. It was considered disrespect, a form of “sassing.” (Obviously the Internet aspects didn’t exist then, I’m referring to the actual act of photographing vs posting). It was the same with everyone else in my observation back then, before we tried being our kid’s friend instead of their parent.

    You can sure bet I’m that way with my kids, too, unless they’re sick etc. I give them LOTS and LOTS of playtime, way more of that and freedom (in terms of freerange) than the average parent based on what I’m seeing these things. It isn’t going to kill them to cooperate for a few photos–after 2-odd minutes or so, I let them loose. If their attitude is disrespectful and uncooperative when I try to photograph them, I take away their play until they stop disrespecting me that way.

    Yes I am free-range, but I’m also disciplinarian. I’m part Lenore Skenazy, but also part John Rosemond.

    As for taking photos without permission being rude–again, I refer you to Henri Cartier Bresson, who made a living of doing just that–in a discrete matter, mind you, but still–he didn’t ask permission from what I gather, he just did it. I will never accept the position that he was rude to do it, and if it’s considered rude now it’s only due to the same sort of paranoia feeding the other silly things we read about.

    As for me being pretentious, I beg to differ. It’s simple–photographing what’s around me is as much a part of me as breathing. It’s just what I am and it would be unreasonable to expect anything else. Not that “I’m all that” (in terms of talent level) but you wouldn’t ask Michael Jordan to totally divorce himself from basketball, or Beethoven (in his day) to divorce himself from music (or Michael Jackson 3 years ago if you want a more recent example).

    In like matter, invite me to your child’s birthday party or many of your outings, and yes–I am going to want to photograph them, and yes–post the best photos as examples of what I can do. None of my friends are in high-risk jobs like, say, in a high-level position at the Air Force or CIA etc, so there’s no legitimate threat there. To ask me to be at your kid’s birthday party or on outings etc but to not photograph them & showcase it–with NO NAMES, by the way–as pure art (again, not that I’m really that good anyway)–sorry, I mean no disrespect, but I’m not going to play along. I dont mind keeping it off Facebook–in fact I post almost no photos there–but at, say Flickr or Smugmug under an alias–there’s no reason to fear.

    I also do some part-time side-work photographing people, granted not a lot of it, but regardless, every single time, I state to them this–you MUST be okay with my posting these photos wherever and however I please with regards to using them in a portfolio setting to showcase my ability. If you are uncomfortable with this, you have every right to feel about it as you do, but you will need to find another photographer because I simply don’t do it that way. Others in the area, it seems, get more clients than I do, and I wonder if that’s because they honor the client’s wishes along those lines if it comes up. If that’s the case, fine–I will live with the consequences, but I’m not going to dumb it down for the ignorant, because yes–it’s ignorant to be fearful of this. Just plain ignorant.


  60. What a lot of folks here seem to be missing is the concept of a candid vs a posed photo. There is a spirit, a rawness to a candid photo that is impossible to produce in a posed photo (even with pro models or actors). The very act of asking someone before you photograph them destroys this.

  61. Oh, and feel free to send me a picture of yourselves so I can put them on my wall and hate on you.

    Don’t feel okay with that? Gee. WONDER WHY.

  62. ELIZABETH is wrong in a way. If PETA was to take my pic and use it in a smear campaign, yes PETA would be liable, but not for the reasons Lizzy is suggesting. In that case, it would be slander.

    Giving up right to privacy is a double edged sword. When people supported public registries and open records like mug shots, it paved the way to greater loss of privacy. If I knew Liz’s full name, I can collect her public records like arrest records, credit history, and the like through Intellius or similar record selling companies. Many people willingly give up info like kid’s photos on their FB pages, including those people who propagate the fear of online sex predators (how contrary, eh?)

    Public means public. Back a few years ago, Cincinnati was going to have to allow the KKK to march through the black neighborhood (Free Speech) but they could not hide their faces behind their white hoods. Apparently they got the idea from a similar event in New York state. That means you can take pictures of the racists. Needless to say, it went a long way in killing the march.

    Its not the taking of pictures that is illegal, it is how they are used.

  63. My name is not Lizzy. Please don’t be rude.

    And no. If PETA does not say that you endorse the campaign, but merely use you in a picture, it’s not slander.

    They just. do . not. have. that. right.

    And I’m not sure I think that people do not have the right to cover their faces when going out… KKK or not.

    My name isn’t Liz.

    I think this highlights the difference between people that callously treat others as objects for their own purposes, and people who speak to others as human beings with their own rights and dignity. Your desire to “get at me” by using my NAME speaks to your ethical code. “Your name isn’t yours–what I call you is my right.”

    “Giving up right to privacy is a double edged sword. When people supported public registries and open records like mug shots, it paved the way to greater loss of privacy.”

    Criminals lose certain rights when committing a crime. I do not support publication of mug shots before trial.

    Lenore has posted on the right to privacy of convicted sex offenders if their offense was not really a danger to the public. I agree.

    Privacy is important.

  64. Katie You nailed it, that is exactly right. I read that very idea & concept in photography years ago, in the 80s as a teenager just getting into this for the first time. Discrection is the key.

    What gets lost in all of this is the “face in the crowd” reality that, properly done, such photos can be seen by millions without it being traced to the subject directly. Think of all those “lose 30 pounds in just 3 weeks” commercials, complete with a woman in a bikini looking hot. Zillions of people will see that woman flaunting herself in a bikini but won’t associate the image with the person. She could teach 3rd grade arithmetic but no one knows she’s a teacher moonlighting showing 3/4ths of her body on TV, not even her students, she’s a nameless face in the crowd.

    Done right, photos taken will be the same way. The trick is to post somewhere like Flickr or SmugMug under a userid as opposed to posting them on Facebook under your real name, “friending” your subjects and “tagging” their names. That’s where people get nervous. But the way I do it as described, no one’s going to associate my subjects to who they are in real-life.


  65. The woman in that photograph–lose 30 lbs–gave her permission and was paid for the use of her photograph.

    Why are you so opposed to doing your own subjects the same courtesy?

  66. Elizabeth The woman in the commercial is legally entitled, candids are not.

    And good Lord, that person who called you “Liz” wasn’t trying to offend you. All you needed to do was say “I prefer Elizabeth,” it’s far less abrasive and doesn’t make you sound like you’re fishing for reasons to CHOOSE to be offended.

    Now let’s all get some sleep. Enough bickering. Sometimes I think Lenore must shake her head at how some of these posts get–yes, that may include some of mine as well, I must admit.


  67. Donna, my understanding is that Facebook owns everything you put on there. There’s some small print that says so. I believe even if you decided to un-join, they still own everything you posted before. You can’t take it back, so to say. So the moment you post it, you know longer own it.

    My sister knows someone who something horrible happened to, and the tabloids got hold of the story. She recognized the photo in the paper as the one on the person’s Facebook page. I’m not sure how the tabloid got the photo, but since Facebook owns the photo, maybe they sold it to tabloid. Right? I mean if they own the photo, then obviously they can do what they want with it. But I’m not sure how it works. Do any of us? This is what I find disturbing.

    The rules for taking someone else’s photograph were well thought out, balancing people’s right to privacy, right to compensation, and right to happiness (taking photographs). But the Internet has changed all that. Facebook is commercial in ways that were not conceivable when the initial law was made which then thought in terms of advertising, etc.

    A pity that the law in the post only focuses on children, and was inspired by nonsense, once again playing on people’s base (and baseless) fears of predators. Sure that’s silly. But maybe all of us should be thinking a little harder about what the new world order, ushered in via the Internet, means.
    Facebook, Google-earth, — someone out there is using you and yours and making a profit out of it. Maybe there’s little we can do about it in the end, but to blithely go along with it all as merrily as can be, isn’t a good idea either.

    It may be ill conceived to immediately jump to making laws to ban something you can’t anyway, but the time for public discourse on this subject is long overdue.

  68. Again you seem to be missing the point Elizabeth. PETA doesn’t have the right to use your picture because it’s for COMMERCIAL purposes. They can’t use your picture for their own benefit without your consent and offering you payment. An exception would be a image taken a PETA event. If you attend a PETA rally and pictures are taken, PETA can use those images.

    Like it or not, your friend has every right to take your picture and post it on Facebook. Now one who would do so against your wishes is probably not a great friend but is not a criminal either. I also would not consider someone a good friend who came to my party, ate my food, enjoyed my liquor and either refused to allow me to take their picture or demanded I remove them from Facebook because it’s an “invasion of their privacy.” It would likely be the last party that person was invited to attend.

    People have a right to document events in their lives as they see fit. If you don’t want to be a part of the documentation, don’t attend the event.

    And give me your email and I’ll send you a picture. I don’t personally care whether you hate on it or not. I don’t know you. I will never know what you do with the picture. What a stranger says about me is completely and totally meaningless in my life. In the limited time I spend worrying about anything, I’ll worry about things that matter a little more than a strangers opinion. I feel the same about strangers taking pictures of me. If they want the picture for artistic purposes or get off is completely irrelevant. Yes, the later is creepy IF I know about it but I never will.

  69. A law is fine, but it has to be detailed enough to describe problematic situations in which it actually is a good idea to have it apply.

    One catch all law doesn’t help and only serves to annoy people. Why can’t laws be properly worded?

  70. Larry: You are just not a very considerate or etiquette person. You think how you feel about something trumps everyone else. So if someone invited your children to a nice birthday party you would show up with a camera and start snapping pictures of everyone without even asking the host if that was okay? At your party, sure, click away, but at someone else’s party that would be rude unless you cleared it with the host first. Then if the host said they would prefered you didn’t you would get all put out and not let your kids attend the party? That is actually fairly anti free range since you would be trying to control other people at their own event and keep your children from doing something fun just because you got told “no”.

    I know that sounds fairly rude of me to say but you have not cared how rude you sound toward me or others on this blog so I am losing patience with you.

    I need to find where you live and get a pic of you and create a website about you saying what I think of you and no that would not be slander because its opinion and opinion is not slander.

    That is where I call bull about people saying they would not mind their or their kids pic posted online. So if some mean girls took your daughter’s picture and put it on a website where they talked about how ugly she was and how much they hated her, you would not care? Because legally they would be doing no wrong since that would only be opinion. Its not slander to state an opinion. Or what about some teenage boys putting her pic up and saying how they had sex with her and how hot it was? If it was true then they have the right to talk about it. I call bull because I believe you would have a BIG problem with it and would do all you could to have it removed. Even if it was true. Because the fact is that all people don’t like negative things being published about themselves and if they can stop it, they will.

  71. Again I am not talking about taking pics of your own children that others may or may not be in the background. I do that and that is reasonable. But to just get in someone that is not my immediate family’s face and start snapping pics is rude and I would not do it without asking first. Which from what Larry describes sounds like he does take pics of people directly that he does not know and I think that is just creepy and weird.

  72. Donna: you totally missed the point of the whole blog post. The man was admitting to taking the pics of the girls for getting off purposes. So you said you would mind if you knew that was what the pic was for. Well there you go! The police and the parents KNEW that was what the pics of the little girls was for because the man admitted it! So by your logic then, you would support their opinion that what he did was wrong and unacceptable and should be prevented.

  73. “by your logic then, you would support their opinion that what he did was wrong and unacceptable and should be prevented.”

    Actually no I didn’t I say that at all. I said that I would think that it was CREEPY if some strange guy was jacking off to pictures of me. I said nothing about it being “wrong” or about any desire to prevent such behavior. My understanding is that these were fully clothed pictures randomly taken in a park. If that’s what floats his boat, I’m glad I can help. It’s CREEPY but being creepy isn’t a crime. Now if he is putting cameras in my bathroom or bedroom to take pictures of me naked, I’d have a problem with it.

  74. I would, admittedly, be more pissed off about it if it were my child instead of me but I still don’t want a law that prevents pictures from being taken in public places. End of story. If that means that some geezer can take pictures of my kid and use them to jack off, I just hope I don’t find out about it.

    “So if some mean girls took your daughter’s picture and put it on a website where they talked about how ugly she was and how much they hated her, you would not care?”

    I would CARE tremendously and I would talk to the mean girls’ parents and try to get it taken down. Same with the comments about my daughter and sex. However, I DO NOT want A LAW preventing pictures being posted on the internet or a LAW giving me the right to simply demand pictures of me be taken down. A law against bullying I may be able to get behind if very carefully worded. I’m simply a fierce defender of the 1st amendment, although I don’t think bullying is protected speech.

  75. Sorry, thoughts very disjointed this morning.

    I also think that people taking pictures in public with the intent to use for their own sexual pleasure is fairly rare. Since most of us don’t know this is happening, there would be no way to get actual statistics on it but I’m gonna go with most people who are taking pictures in the park are doing so for non-creepy purposes.

    This is like making a law saying all people must stay 5 feet away from children unless they have the parent’s permission to come closer simply because a very small number of people who come in contact with children do so for improper reasons.

  76. I have traveled in different countries and always try to get a few photos of what kids do in those places. I hope they never make it illegal. It would take away a whole dimension of cultural awareness/understanding. Who wants to look only at posed photos of children?

    But on the other hand, this would probably be a breath of fresh air for the children of celebrities.

    Really, what we need is better manners, not more laws.

  77. Elizabeth and Dolly – repeating Maureen’s question: When you’re on vacation with your kids, in a public location (like the beach, or a museum, or Disney World, or even a playground), do you always make absolutely sure that no other person is in the photos you take of your kids? And follow up, if another person mistakenly appears in the photo you took, do you approach them and ask for their permission to keep your photo?

  78. Donna Wow, all I can say is–wow. You make so much sense & articulate it so well. Will you marry me? (Ha ha, just teasing.)

    I eapecially agree with what you said about how people ought to be able to document their lives, within reason anyway, as they see fit. Exactly. It is the most natural thing in the world to want to do this. lt’s why cameras were invented. Especially noteworthy is that it’s why the old Kodak Box camera in 1900 became so popular, prior to that people depended on expert-types to take photos for them, because cameras that almost anyone could use weren’t common-place yet, now people could photograph tbeir life events themselves, maybe the results weren’t as good, the same is true today, but at least now people were (and still are) free to document it all themselves.

    If a person doesn’t like tbeir photo taken, they have the right to their feelings and ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY they have the right to expect people’s compliance. But once you venture outside your 4 walls & engage in life, you now can’t expect that to be accomodated any longer. Other persons don’t have this hangup & are busy photographing each other and enjoying it. To be a wet blanket in it is just ridiculous, and that goes triple for wanting a law forbidding public photography without consent. I’m not putting my camera down, sorry.

    People could enjoy life so much if they quit seeing darkness in everything. In fact, last year at the lake, I was there with my kid & a friend who is an official foster care parent approved by the state. A young 1 year old (my guess) boy was running completely naked up & down the lake, oblivious to it all, and his parents–amazingly–didn’t freak out. This friend & I were laughing hysterically. Yes, a photo was taken for the purpose of remembering how funny that was. Remember–this person with me is a person APPROVED BY THE STATE for being a foster parent. I know her well besides and would trust her with my kids in a minute. Even she was laughing and saw no harm in taking a photo of it for humor purposes. This photo will likely never be online anywhere, it will simply live on as an offline image that reminds us how funny & enjoyable life can be. I do NOT consider it porn, it was NOT a rude or weird thing to do (look at old photo books made before people got ridiculous about this, they’re full of such photos with descriptions about the funny stories behind it & tips on how to do it yourself) and the fact that the parents watched the whole thing and never had a cow tells me they are free from this crazy worry–thank God for that.

    Life is funny, enjoy it already. I sure do.


  79. I live behind my camera when it comes to my kids! I make monthly CDs since not all worth printing out, but worth looking back at later to remember…

    I have recently started an online diary, that no one has access to on Multiply (not connected to anyone there either) where I post videos I wanna look back at!

    As long as my kid isn’t in someone else’s pic doing anything sexual, which I would want to know (how did they learn it)… I don’t care. Anything and everythng can be seen as what it needs to be for those that are on Megan’s List. And I hate to break people’s hearts, there is no cure… I knew a few.

    Maybe they are more worried about their kid looking like a dork? Teach them not to pick their nose, scratch rears, and so forth? Hahaha

  80. I am hoping with all my heart that they do not pass it… ebcause where than do I take my kids where I can take pics?!?! I already love zoom because I honestly crop other people’s kids out… unless they are freinds with my kids and know us! I have no need to have pics of others kids…

    Went to a public spray ground once through so it is free and public. Only thing I didn’t like, and couldn’t crop out of one of my pics was an over weight, topless, 13 year old girl, who was obviously getting what I have. It didn’t bother me as a person, but as a mom, I think if she were mine I would have gone nuts? And I couldn’t use one cute pic of my boys becaise she was smack dab in the middle of them, background, but seen!!! Didn’t want her topless in my toddlers pics… even though they were in spedo bottoms! Loved their tushies because they were over sized without diapers under.

    But I think the issue is we’ve grown so over the top of our children they cannot function when they get older… I learned the hard way with our eldest who is now 15! I lerned to back off our now 4 and 5 year olds… and trying to fix the teenager???

  81. I just had a (slightly wicked) thought. If photographing and videotaping children becomes illegal, then there should be no security cameras in any public locations where children might appear. How’s that for a kick in Big Brother’s face?

  82. These are the rules in the United States (paraphrased): All rules about location apply to the place the picture is taken FROM, not the place the picture is taken OF, with the single exception that a picture of the inside of a private residence may not be taken without the owner’s consent. Photography of any and all subjects, except where prohibited by military law, is permitted in all locations owned and operated by a city, county, state, or federal government (“Public Places”). This includes all public roads and all land within a certain distance of a public road (usually a couple of feet). From all other locations (“Private Places”) it is the sole decision of the land owner as to whether photography is permitted. A private landowner (including large corporations such as Wal-Mart or Disney) has the rights to remove any individual from the premises for any reason, including photography (however, discrimination lawsuits can easily occur if an individual feels that he is being singled out… i.e., if others are taking pictures and not being removed from the property). However, he has no legal rights to ensure that the photographs are removed, unless he has previously stated via speech or signage that photography is prohibited. Even then it is questionable as to the landowner’s rights, unless the photographer entered the property without permission (in open places such as stores and tourist attractions, permission to enter is implied during operating hours). All photographs taken may be used in any way, shape, or form by the photographer, except that usage of human likenesses in commercial works with a resolution such that the face is clearly identifiable generally requires the consent or the individual involved (or his parents if he is a minor). Note that the selling of the photograph or its use in sold material (such as books and newspapers) does not make the use commercial; rather “commercial use” is defined as the use of a human likeness in advertising in such a way that a reasonable individual would believe that the person is supporting the product.

  83. Right on to Lisa – ban security cameras, we all know what pervs those security guards are! But if photographing a child is pedophelia, is photographing livestock proof of being the worst kind of animal lover? Along that line, when I was working as a music critic I wound up doing some stories about Celtic music (which I love) and I thought it was hilarious to learn that all of the jokes about people in Arkansas and their sheep I heard growing up in Missouri were 500-year old jokes about Scots! I recently read “Yeats is Dead!” which is a hilarious collaboration of 15 modern Irish authors and includes a scene where an angry woman punches a cop in the gob and “he slammed into the wall like a sheep hitting a farmer’s headboard.” Baaaaaad Murphey!

  84. Beth: No if someone ends up in the background I don’t think that is a big deal. I made that very clear that if me or my kids happen to end up in a background by accident, no biggie. What I am against is purposefully taking pics of my kids where you are lining up the shot with them the subject of the shot without my permission or by someone I don’t know. That is when I would have a problem. Then if I ask you to not do that, you need to stop.

    So this law is not worded right since it seems even accidental pics or background pics would be outlawed and I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with intentionally taking pics of someone you don’t know without their knowledge or permission. If someone asked me to delete or not post a pic of them in it though, I would. As I said I have done in the past.

    Typically I don’t really have a lot of shots of random people. I am not a huge picture taker for one thing so the shots I do have are taken deliberately with my kids or my friends or my family lined up in the shot and they are probably going to be the only ones in the shot. If anyone else happens to be in the shot they are out of focus and you might just see an arm or something, not a focused, lined up, centered shot where you can tell who it is or really see much.

  85. Frankly, once you step outside, you lose your right to privacy as far as photos are concerned. Someone can take your photo from the sidewalk without permission as long as they don’t go on your property. That being said, a law like this wouldn’t even be discussed if people were a little more courteous. I work for a newspaper and I will take a photo of a kid without asking but I would then inform the parents/subject if they’re ok with it. 99 times out of 100 the answer is “yep.” That kind of courtesy goes a long way.

  86. Hey if a law prevents traffic cameras from being put up then I definitely support it! And that is coming from someone who has never gotten a ticket ever, but I still hate the idea of traffic cameras!

    Same with a lot of other kinds of invasive security cameras.

  87. Dave: Exactly. I am not saying go around arresting every photographer and I don’t think Elizabeth was saying that either. We are just saying have some courtesy and don’t take pics of people without their permission on purpose. I would like maybe some kind of harassment law or something enacted that might give you some rights in extreme cases such as a man admitting to take pics of young girls so he can whack off to them, but otherwise it would not apply to the average person.

  88. Dolly, do you really think Larry is talking about getting right up in a stranger’s face and snapping photos without asking? I guess if he wanted to do a series of pictures of surprised, angry people that would work, but NOTHING he’s said in this thread (or others) implies that is what he’s doing.

  89. This proposed law comes across as an overreach and I hope it goes nowhere. Ultimately, it’s not the government’s role. It’s more of a matter of etiquette and being nice to your fellow person.

    By the way, the photo chosen by the blogger looks like it came from the cutting room floor of a Fiona Apple video.

  90. The problem is this law is so broad and vague it becomes meaningless. If a creepy dude wants to take pictures of kids at a park for nefarious purposes, guess what happens if this law passes? He’ll still do it, but he’ll just be sneakier about it. Meanwhile, everyday shutterbugs will be caught up in the sort of sweeping net of “false positives” that these types of laws always wind up being.

    The extreme cases given in this thread (upskirt cell cam photos, cyber-bullying, child porn) are already covered under existing laws. We don’t need another stricter/broader law to punish those who are doing nothing wrong.

    A suggestion to those on the thread who don’t want their picture taken: if you see a photographer who you think may have photographed you, approach them and politely inquire what they are doing, and let them know you don’t want your photo taken. Odds are, that photog will comply with you if you are nice about it! Approaching with a “you have no right to do this!” attitude will probably not get you compliant behavior from the photog.

  91. There are laws in my community that you are not allowed to take photos or videos in public washrooms and change rooms which I think are for pretty obvious reasons. Every start of a new swimming session, a parent will be taking photos of their cute baby at their first lesson. I have no problem with this once you are on the pool deck but when you are taking photos in a CHANGE ROOM where people are in various states of undress, I do have an issue with your photography session. Whenever this happens, I have politely let people know that this is illegal. Most people are very apologetic and quickly check their photos to make sure they didn’t catch someone in a semi- or partially clothed moment. They even go so far as to either show me (and other adults nearby) that there are no indecent photos, or delete the photos anyway. One time a grandmother became quite angry with me and i calmly explained to her that my children were right beside her granddaughter while she was taking the photo and that my children were not fully clothed. I asked if I could please see the photos and she refused. I explained to her that, I’m sure her intentions were good (to take photos of her grandchild) but that inadvertently my children may be in that photo and that if she did not prove to me that my children are not, that I would assume the worst (that she’s some form of a pedophile) and call the police. She still refused on the principle that, “she has a right to take photos of her grandchild”. I totally agree that she could do that, just not while other people are in states on undress in a place where you would expect people taking clothes off and on. Other parents overheard our conversation and started to get upset (mob mentality) because who knows if their children were in the photos too. One parent did phone the police, and the woman left in a hurry. We don’t know what happened after the police took our statements but it really upsets me that there may be unclothed pictures of my children out there and that there is someone who doesn’t understand that there are certain places where picture taking is inappropriate and unacceptable, regardless of how cute their child is!

  92. Leaving aside the legality issue for a moment, Jenn, I agree with you that a changing room is not a good place to take photos. I can also understand your uneasiness about your children’s pictures being “out there”. But let’s think for a moment what happened here – a grandmother, who was taking pictures of her grandchildren, not other people’s grandchildren, got called a possible paedophile and had the police called in (and I understand this only after you tried to reason with her politely).

    Here’s the thing that gets me. If I ask myself would I take pictures in a changing room, the answer would probably be no. If you asked me if I thought it was a good idea to take photos in a changing room, I’d say, no now you mention it, no it isn’t. But if it happened to me, unless the woman was directly taking photos of my children, in which case I would be very angry, I probably wouldn’t notice.

    In a way (although people might feel it’s an unfair analogy), this reminds me of a card I saw up at my local swimming pool. It was a customer’s complaint followed by the management’s response. The complaint was: could you please put up a notice to remind parents to change their children in the changing rooms provided and not in the cafe area in full view of the gallery. I had to think about it and yes there is the occasional parent who towels off their child and helps them off with their swimsuit discreetly there (there are certainly not naked children running around).

    Again, I would not help my children change outside the changing room, yes you should do it in the changing rooms provided, but who are these people who are even noticing this let alone writing complaints about this?

    I do think that a lot of these people who make these faux pas are immigrants and I do feel a bit sorry for them as really their only crime is to not understand how strange we are about children in the UK.

  93. I think in Jenn’s story that the grandmother deserved all the outrage she got thrown her way. She clearly broke the rules about taking pictures in the changing room and even after politely being asked to show the pictures so she can make sure her children naked were not in the shot, she got uppity and pissy about it. She was not a pedophile most likely, but that is just crappy behavior in the first place. To break a rule and then when called politely on it, to act bad. What kind of example was she setting for her grandaughter? Not a good one.

    This is like when someone cuts line in front of me and I call them politely on it and then they start yelling at me. They were the ones doing the initial wrong!!! I think Jenn acted correctly and I would have done the same. You don’t act rude to me when you were the one in the wrong in the first place. I don’t feel sorry for her in the least. She made a mistake and instead of correcting it and apologizing, she got indignant. Yeah, that is the way to teach your grandchildren to behave.

  94. I agree the granny should have calmed down and shown the photos or deleted them and taken new ones. Maybe she was just shocked.

    I remember once I took my granny to a buffet place for dinner. She had not been to one before. She served herself like everyone does – more generously than she often eats – and found herself too full to finish. Having grown up during the depression, she considered it a sin to waste food, so she took a napkin and wrapped one roll in it and placed it in her pocket. She was accosted for “stealing” on the way out. She was horrified.

    Did she break the rule? Yes. She didn’t realize it at the time, but you could say she should have admitted her wrong once she was stopped at the door. However, in her mind, she was being attacked in a most ridiculous manner over not wanting to throw a piece of bread in the garbage can.

    So as far as grannies go, I would say give them a little grace. You know they are not trying to get photos of your nakey kids, and even if it happens, she’s not going to go and sell them to an international publisher. If there’s an innocent photo of your naked child out there, is that really harmful? The naked body of a child is not the problem; images of it is not the problem; the problem is people who make of it more than it is.

  95. There are already laws that control how the media can use photos of people, no matter what their age. I do believe that people have the right to control the use of their images. I ask my adult daughters if I can publish their photos on my websites and blog, or in my magazines. In the same way, I have always asked them if they mind my writing about them. Just common courtesy and respect, to my mind. So, of course, others should as well.

  96. Sooooo basically – when we went to the park w/my son today for a school/city fitness day all the pix i took of him would be considered illegal. The pix of him accept a trophy for his school (because it was him and another child), the pix of him playing tug-o-war (because there were children near him that ended up in my pictures), the pix of him trying to hula hoop because well lots of kids were nearby.

    WOW that’s just insanity at it’s best.

    And I do know that somewhere my son ended up in other people’s pix today too. And may even *Gasp* be on their facebook page because he was beside their kid during tug-o-war. But I honestly believe that most people who happened to get my son in their pictures today – were just like me….parents enjoying a fun morning out w/their child and trying to capture a few fun moments on their camera.

    oooh and that would mean I can’t photograph my daughter’s horseshow tomorrow either….

    The precious moments that we catch in pictures would be lost forever 😦

    I’m so saddened to see where this world is going.

  97. Wow. I agree that taking photos in a changing area is pretty rude, and I would never do it. But a mob of enraged parents calling the police?! How about getting someone from the pool staff to politely explain the rules to her?

  98. “Warning: if you go to a poor country, where people have nothing but their pride and dignity, you might have to adjust your thinking. Or else get the crap beat out of you, or your camera taken.”

    Elizabeth… Sorry, but I know for fact that in one 3rd world country at least, you’re totally wrong. I lived in the Dominican Republic for 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer… I had to hide my camera. As soon as folks saw it, they wanted their pictures taken and then demanded prints be given to them. They didn’t have access to cameras much and had very few, if any, pictures of anyone in their families. Imagine not having pictures of your kids as babies! I have lots of pictures of all of my neighbors, none of whom gave a whit about who owned the image. In talking to other Returned Volunteers, they all say the same thing – cameras are very popular in very poor places. Oh, and while you might get mugged in the Dominican Republic, you most likely won’t get “the crap beat out of you”… though you are right in saying that your camera might be stolen. Not because they want to get “their” pictures back, but because they either want to keep the camera for themselves or sell it so that they can buy food. I guess that’s where the difference between 3rd world and 1st world is… they worry about important things and we obsess on silly matters that squelch the wonder and magic of our very charmed and privileged lives.

  99. I don’t see how just photographing kids in public, like at the playground can be illegal. A person out in public has no expectation of privacy.

  100. My guess is the proposed law has little to do with “protecting children” or privacy or the like and everything to do with the laws coming up forbidding photographing animal confinement lots or meat processing plants, etc (even from public areas).

    If you think about it, there are few public scenes that won’t have a child in the background. If you ban them all that means no videos of police brutality, no pictures to support whisleblowing, no pictures of wrongdoing, and so forth.

    This smacks of corporate power plays far more than it does of overprotection of children.

  101. Dolly, I don’t feel particularly sorry for the grandmother in Jenn’s story as she was being pig-headed. But I do feel a bit sorry for immigrants who I’ve seen told off for taking photos of their children in the pool and they look really surprised because they come from cultures where a photo of a child in swimming costume does not automatically equal paedophile risk.

    The grandmother in the story may also have been surprised that someone objected. She knows in her head that her intentions were completely innocent, but suddenly insinuations of pornography and paedophilia have entered the scenario (even before those words were mentioned), because everyone (unless they have been living under a rock for the past 20 years) knows that when people object to photography of children, ultimately that is the concern – paedophilia. It is enough to make a (pig-headed) granny indignant.

  102. I can’t recall ever reading one of your posts and not agreeing with it before, but I do have to say that I’m not with you on this one. I work at a school, and because modern technology often attaches a location to a photo that is shared on, say, Facebook, many parents do not want their children’s photographs shared on line. It’s not so much the photographing as the sharing they don’t like, but once someone has a photo of you or your kid you have no control over where it goes from there. We do have parents sign a release that allows us to use their children’s images on our Facebook page or blog, and while most people don’t care, some people decline permission.

    Who knows – could be a situation with a non-custodial parent or somethng, maybe they are paranoid, personally I don’t have a problem sharing pictures of my kids all over the place, but I do think it’s a privacy issue.

    And BTW, the old man taking photos of “sexy” teens in the park is a little beyond creepy for me.

  103. When I was in Italy a few years ago, we went to a beach town where the Italians actually vacation. We were the only non-Italians there. The most common form of dress for the little kids on the beach was nothing. Most toddlers and preschoolers were running around naked and nobody thought anything of it. There didn’t appear to be this rampant concern about pedophiles drooling over every toddler. Nobody freaked out when we pulled out cameras (to take pictures of the scenery and not the kids) lest their precious snowflake end up in a picture. It was all just very natural. I saw the same at the beaches and pools in France many years earlier. It is a much more healthy environment about the human body than we have in America (and from the sounds of it the UK, although it was never warm enough to go to a beach when I was there).

    I also remember pictures of my parents as small children with them and other kids naked in them. So granny possibly came from a different time and/or country where little kids run naked on the beach and the idea of changing rooms is absurd. And then to be called a pedophile and have the police called is, frankly, obscene. It was clear she was not a pedophile and not taking pictures of your children, although they may have been in the background of the pictures. I agree with SKL, so what if granny the nonpedophile caught a part of your kid naked? What’s she gonna do with it?

  104. Donna: So the fact that the granny BLATANTLY broke the rules about not taking locker room pics means nothing? In that case I guess rules don’t matter as long as your intentions were good? To me it would not be a pedophile issue at all, it would be a you broke a rule issue and now you have to apologize and correct it by deleting the pics or showing them to us and by apologizing. If she doesn’t want to follow the rules, then she needs to stay out of the place.

  105. This law will hamper the efforts of legitimate photojournalists. I have a few friends that work for newspapers, and even without laws like this they get hassled while taking human interest photos at events where children are the focus (teddy bear picnics – for example)
    The new hot button is pedophilia, and the media has been hitting it often and repeatedly and now too many people believe that anyone with a DSLR is out to exploit their children.

  106. ] “outlaw the photographing or videotaping of kids in situations in which “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction.”

    I don’t think this law is as radical as others are implying. Look what is specifically says – in situations a reasonable parent would not expect his child to be photographed. In other words, it is deliberately worded to omit places where there is NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY – such as public parks. It is worded to apply to kids being photographed in an unexpected place (such as a lockeroom, for instance). The “reasonable” test isn’t going to be passed by a guy snapping photographs of scenerey in a public park, or his own kid with other kids in the background, etc. But if one guy is following your kid all over the place snapping pictures from one piece of equipment to another, that’s probably a “situation” a “reasonable” parent would not anticipate having their child photographed – not the park itself, where he has no expectation of privacy – but the “situation” of being constantly trailed and photograph, which a “reasonable” parent would not expect.

    I’m not saying I agree with the law as phrased, but I don’t think it could be easily interpreted in a court of law to apply to a guy snapping pictures of his own kids in the park and catching someone else. I don’t think it’s that broad. It’s phrased to apply to Mr. Creepy primarily.

  107. Yes, I live country where it’s so common for kids to bathe naked, that when our toddler children were in the paddling pool in front of our apartment house naked (on a busy street, tons of cars and people walking by), and my neighbor’s older daughter (about 8) decided she’d like to take a dip, too, my neighbor was all “oh pleeze, you fusspot” when her daughter insisted on going upstairs to put a bathing suit on. It’s pleasant that the populous here doesn’t sexualize children. And doesn’t panic about pedophiles lurking.

    However, I wouldn’t ridicule people’s concern of having photos taken of themselves, or their children, that they don’t feel comfortable with. When someone takes a photo today, it is extremely likely it will be put onto the Internet. Insisting that people should not care about their right to privacy stands in opposition to the basis of a free society.

  108. How’d that smiley face get there?? It should read 8, as in eight years old.

  109. I once had some stranger ask to take a pic of my red haired son. She asked at least. She was fussing over his pretty red hair and wanted a pic of it for some reason. It was kinda creepy because why would you care that much about some random kid, but she asked nicely so I let her. That is the main thing, it is just about being respectful of other people. I am not pissy at all about people taking pics of my kids in reasonable situations.

    Same with pics of me. But yes, there are some situations I might have a problem and when I do I expect to be listened to and acknowledged.

  110. Ted Sali That is exactly right. People have been brainwashed just as you said, and I’ve neither the patience. nor inclination to clarify & pacify them on the occasion when I’m doing what I do. I know better, it’s not my fault they’re ignorant & I won’t let my photography (not that I’m that good, but still) suffer on account of their ignorance. I choose to focus (pardon the pun) on what’s beautiful and appreciate it & attempt to reproduce it.


  111. I say we make all cameras illegal. Then all the children will be safe.

  112. I knew a guy in high school who didn’t want his photo taken for the yearbook. He never came on photo days, and although he was told by the adults he HAD to go and do group photos for the groups he was in, he always ducked down at the last second. He succeeded in not having his photo in any of the year books for the time he was in high school.

    Not sure if that is relevant to this discussion, but, he was a minor, but had strong feelings, for whatever reason (maybe just to annoy people) about getting his photo taken. I always felt, this being back in the early 80s, that it was his right to decide, not some administrators’.

  113. Sky, I beg to differ. It is obvious from this comment thread (and consider the blog and leanings of its audience), that MANY people consider public places to be locations where they “would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction”. Whether or not those commenters are being reasonable is of course up for discussion. But I’ve watched over the last twenty years as judges have gotten more and more conservative in cases that even have a whiff of “creepo vs kids” about them (even if it’s false). The wording of this bill is far too vague.

    Ultimately, I’m not too concerned, as it is a blatant violation of the first amendment, so it won’t stand up in court, but I feel sorry for the photographer that might have to be the test case.

  114. What if someone with a really good memory stares at your kid and remembers them fondly later? Would you get the Thought Police after them? Would you dress your child in head-to-toe robes from then on?

    You don’t own the photons that bounce off of your face. You don’t own your likeness. You didn’t create it. You don’t even own your child’s likeness. It’s so strange for me to see some commenters here insisting that they own their likenesses — it’s like them claiming that a certain tree in the park is theirs, and no one may look at it or photograph it.

    If you are in a public place, you may end up on a CCTV or in someone’s photo. Big deal. Even if they put your likeness to some profitable use, like, say a calendar of people enjoying city parks and green spaces at different times of year, so what?

    Once at a birthday party at which I was taking candid photos (three of my kids were there), a woman politely asked me to avoid taking pictures of her child if I could, and if her child ended up in any of my photos she said that was fine, but she asked me not to post any of those online. (She knew I had a site that I use to share family events with relatives overseas, etc.) Her child was a foster child, being kept away from abusive parents, and while it was incredibly unlikely that they might find her through my largely-unknown website, I understood her concern, appreciated her polite explanation and request (not that she had to tell me any of the gory details), and I gladly complied with her request. Amazing what mutual courtesy can achieve.

    So, in a case like that, I’ll be happy to alter my photographing activities, but if you’re just at a public event I’m not going to go out of my way to keep you out of my photos. And any law that could even be vaguely applied to make me do so is simply ludicrous. I would cheerfully break it and challenge it.

    Also, the person who suggested that a person would be beaten for pulling out a camera in a “poor area” doesn’t know what they are talking about. I’ve taken my camera to many places in many countries. In most places people have NONE of these silly ideas, and BEG to have their picture taken. And they don’t even ask first what you plan to do with their photo. Maybe they are simply too busy enjoying a life of normal, non-fearful living to worry about such foolishness?

  115. Dolly – Did granny KNOW the rules before snapping the pictures? Believe it or not, my mother doesn’t actually know every single rule of every single place that I enroll my child in activities so I could easily see her running afoul of an unknown rule if she took my daughter to an activity. I sign her up so I know the rules but I may not think to give my mother the rule book ahead of time.

    A simple “that is not allowed” and getting a person with the authority to enforce the rules if the behavior continued would have been sufficient. A mob of people demanding a camera, calling her a pedophile and calling the police was not.

    Personally, I have a feeling that even the first request was not that nicely worded based on the extreme outcome. I would not have felt obligated to comply to someone who had no business whatsoever personally enforcing the rules who was also treating me rudely. I think granny’s behavior is odd only in that I don’t get the need to document every single second of someone’s life. I just don’t get the desire to take pictures of the kid changing into her bathing suit at all but to each their own.

  116. Tuppence – But these weren’t photographs taken of HER child. They were photographs taken of someone’s child that her child may or may not have been in the background of. At some point, we have to accept that when we exit our homes we occasionally end up in other people’s pictures. We don’t have control over that situation.

    That said, even taking into account that there is a legitimate objection to photos being taken in a dressing room, I stand by my assertions that (1) that Americans have extremely unhealthy viewpoints on the human body, (2) Americans are way too prone to see pedophilia where none exists and overreacting in situations such as this, (3) that small children running around without clothes is quite natural in many cultures and used to be perfectly acceptable in ours before the pedophile craze started, (4) as described, this situation was handled completely wrong, (5) calling granny a pedophile was absurd and obscene.

  117. Donna: You must be very sheltered or just very optimistic to think that someone has to word something meanly to get a mean response out of someone. As someone who has worked with the public let me assure you, that even if you are VERY polite to someone if you are telling them something they don’t want to hear or don’t like, they will get snippy with you for no good reason. Even if the granny did not know the rules when she was told the rules, the proper response is a “Oh my goodness, I am so sorry, I didn’t know the rules. My apologies.” That would have been a start.

    When I make a mistake and someone points it out politely or even not politely if I am indeed in the wrong, I apologize and fix it. That is just what you are supposed to do. If I don’t agree with the rules, then I leave and not go there again if I can’t follow them. It seems like the granny felt she could not only ignore the rules but continue to be there even if she breaks the rules. No go. Either follow the rules or leave.

    I actually like when society bans together to stand up to people doing wrong when it applies to rule following and common courtesy. Such as standing up to line breakers or someone littering etc. Its great when people speak up and enact change.

  118. I just reread Jenn’s story and she stated that she politely explained the rules to the granny and the granny still got rude to her and was refusing to show the pictures. She even said she assured the granny she knew what she was doing was harmless but she would like to just make sure her kids were not naked in the pics for privacy purposes. The granny continued to be rude and uncooperative. I believe Jenn because why would she need to lie about this story? So if what Jenn says is true that means that there was no accusations of calling her a pedophile or being rude. She was just enforcing rules and protecting her kids privacy and modesty. The granny was being very uncooperative and rude.

  119. On an unrelated note: My husband took the kids to the playground today for Mother’s Day so I could have some time to myself. He said that he was pretty much the only parent up on the playground with the kids and the other adults were down on the picnic tables at the birthday party that was going on. An older kid took a liking to my boys and my husband and was hanging out with them.

    He asked my husband to help him up onto the monkey bars and my husband said he was afraid to help him because of all the pervert paranoia out there or as he called it “bad touch” phobia.

    That makes me sad that a nice Daddy can’t even help a kid out because of fear of being yelled at for touching another kid even with his two kids right there. 😦 I told him I help other kids out if they ask and I guess take my chances some freako parent might go nuts on me for daring to touch their child. So far nothing has happened and most parents are glad I helped their kid.

  120. Dolly I must say, I completely agree with your view regarding your story about your husband at the playground. We disagree about the photo thing, but we are in full agreement about this.

    I have had a similar situation occur to me on several occasions, and to be frank–I went ahead & honored the child’s request, and just let the chips fall where they may. Fortunately the case so far has been that the parents not only didn’t take offense, they actually seemed appreciative. In one recent case it was even a little girl (aged 5 or so), I was spotting up climbing the monkey bars and she was even asking me to swing her the “aggressive” way I was swinging my own girl, and due to the heat I was shirtless–but STILL the parents seemed appreciative vs freaking out. It brought a smile to my face.

    I’m not AT ALL lambasting what your husband did in terms of playing it safe, frankly as nutty as people can be like you said, I can’t much blame him. I just choose to fight the tidal wave. Kudos to you, too, that you are apparently fighting the tidal wave. I applaud you for it.


  121. “How’d that smiley face get there?? It should read 8, as in eight years old.”

    On most blog or forum software, 8-right parenthesis converts to a smiley wearing sunglasses. The only way around this is always to leave a space: 8 ).

  122. Larry –

    I am an intensely private person. I do not want pictures of me floating around “out there” that I have no control over. Me being a face in the crowd or some person in the background, I have no problem with. However, if you took a photo featuring me (as in the case with your kid and the kid he was playing with), without my consent, I would ask you to stop and delete the pictures you had taken. I am not at all comfortable having some stranger take photos of me like that. If you refused to delete the pictures I would insist. If you continued to refuse, I would forcibly remove the pictures from the camera myself – and if that happens to involve breaking your camera, you SD card, or your face, so be it. I feel that strongly about the issue. Please understand that I am not a violent person and certainly do not believe that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems, but that picture is coming off that card.

    Yes, obviously, if someone goes out in public they expect people to, you know, SEE them. However, we do of course control WHERE we are seen and to a general extent by who. For example, what I normally wear tends to be… well, spiky. Going to a job interview I’d be neat and tidy and well dressed and not spiky. I do not want my potential employers to find a picture of me somewhere on the internet with spiky cuffs and ripped jeans and a belt made of steel chain, because they’re going to assume I’m addicted to at least five five illegal drugs and not want to hire me. It is, however, totally unlikely that my potential employer would have seen me in a crowd somewhere and recognised me.

    I believe that it should be each and every person’s right to demand that any given photograph of them is removed from wherever it is or destroyed – the kicker is that they need to a) KNOW that the photo exists and where it exists, and b) ask to have it removed. Obviously it shouldn’t be a crime to take a photo at a beach and have some guy in the background, but it SHOULD be a crime to take a picture of a guy at the beach and keep it, even though he asks you not to or asks you to delete the picture. The guy knows the photo exists on you SD card. He insists that you remove it. You should remove it. Simple as that.

    And Donna –

    Having someone take pictures that include complete strangers (of any age) in partial or complete states of undress is completely inappropriate at any time. If you would not leave the changing room in that state, no photo of you in that same state should leave the changing room either. It’s as simple as that and it’s completely common sense. Granny was way, way, WAY over the line in refusing to delete the pictures of half-naked stranger-children from her camera, and that strikes me as extremely suspicious. I mean, do you really need a sign on, say, the ladies’ room door that taking pictures of people using the toilet under the stall door is “not allowed”? Is that a rule you need to know?


  123. Serra That picture WILL NOT come of the card, if you try, you will find yourself in trouble for assault & battery. Yes I would file charges.

    You DO NOT have the right to use violence for anything other than preventing someone from harming you, your children, or stealing your property. You are in the wrong, period, end of story. You’re wrong to assert what you’re asserting.


  124. Your transaction number is: 120757409

    PS–can I put it blunter?

    “I am not at all comfortable having some stranger take photos of me like that.”

    How about this: tough shit, don’t leave the house or wear viel like the Muslims can’t (but should be able to) wear in France.

    You should take a hint from the Almish–I’m told they hate their photo being taken, they think it’s making an image before God (idolatry, I guess), but I doubt they’d be chasing me or whoever with pitchforks and axes yelling “that photo is coming off the card.”

    That’s what you apparently would do? Well get ready, because you will be arrested for assaulty & battery, and you know what happens when you are arrested? They take your mug shot, and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.

    Don’t want employers seeing you in spiked clothes? Then don’t flaunt yourself out in public that way? Do you assert “an employer doesn’t have the ethical right to hire or not hire me based on photos of me dressed that way?” I would 100% agree with you there, but that’s not problem your employer doesn’t understand how to separate “leisure Sera” from “office/professional Sera.”

    I’m not a rude person, but I have the right to photograph what I do, and the minute you or anyone else tries to be pushy, you are going to lose. I promise. Even if I “fake delete,” you lose–that is, I can delete the photo off the card, put the card away and use a new one–and use image recovery software off the original card, and the photos are recovered even though I deleted them.

    And some cameras have “hide image” features where you can take the image, “hide” it to where it doesn’t show in playback but it’s STILL there. How about that? Doing it that way, I can playback every single image on my camera–which, by the way, I don’t have to do no matter how much you threaten me–and you will see nothing, thinking you’re in the clear. But you’re not.

    You do NOT own your likeness in public. The public does. Learn it, live it, and keep yourself out of legal trouble. We know our photographer’s rights, and having this jackass attitude only raises the stakes against you in a way in which you are guaranteed to lose every time if you try it with someone like me who won’t back down.


  125. Darn typos, smacking my head against my forehead!

    “Your transaction ID is”–what the heck is that doing in there? Must’ve been something I copied-pasted in Windows Notepad when I paid my gas bill or something.

    “Assaulty & battery? I should be arrested for submitting typos for publication, ha ha.

    As for the “fake delete,” I’ve used that one–not because I was scared, but I just didn’t have the energy to deal with whichever moron on that day. Again, you can either just “pretend” you deleted it, when they ask to see it at that point you can assert “I’m not showing you the contents of my card, there’s nude pictures of my mother-in-law you don’t want to see” (HA HA HA!–then you appear so sick to them they decide they don’t want to fuck with you, heh heh), or you can in fact actually delete it as they watch, then as they leave satisfied, you swap in a new memory card and then later at home use image-recovery software on the original card and it will recover the image in its full glory. (When you “delete” an image it’s not actually gone, it merely re-allocates the space it occupied as now “free” {vs “occupied”} for new images to occupy–but if you take no new ones, then that hasn’t happened, hence the recovery possibilities.)

    Beyond that Sera I’m not debating it with you anymore at this point–your tactics will no doubt work with a lot of people, but ones like me with an “I Won’t Back Down” attitude and the law on my side, it’s not going to work. Now understand–this doesn’t mean I’m going to photograph someone just because I can, that would be “being an ass,” I would only do it if it was something I found photogenic. So–the woman who had a cow because I took a photo of her child holding my son? Tough shit. If she’s that nervous and sensitive about how people fear strangers, why didn’t she train her child not to go around freaking out other people by picking up their children without asking? I didn’t mind it, in fact I thought it was beautiful–that’s why I photographed it–but she had not a leg to stand on, and my child was part of the photo, and so I stood my ground. I’m not going to throw away a perfectly nice photo that, in fact, features my child as a highlight, just because of a hangup that is beyond stupid & only occurred on account of her not tightening the reins–on a situation, that, frankly, really didn’t need it anyway.


  126. Larry –

    I believe that if any reasonable adult would, if asked, remove a picture of another person from their camera if said other person made it clear that the existence of that photo makes them uncomfortable. That is certainly what I would do for anyone else, and what I would expect others to do for me.

    Normal adults try to avoid engaging in behaviours that make other people uncomfortable. This is part of normal social development. We compromise, we give, we make space for each other. You, however, do not. I’ve read on awful lot of your posts on this blog, especially lately, and you are not a reasonable adult. You have a prevailing attitude of “I want to do X, and the law allows me, so I WILL do X and screw how that affects anybody else”. This is antisocial behaviou.

    I was bullied extensively in high school. Those people are still out there and they have left a lasting impression on my psyche that there are people in the world – many people – who would do me harm for fun and think nothing of it. I do not want pictures of myself on the internet for them to use and abuse. You couldn’t really call it a phobia, exactly, but the way I feel certainly shares many characteristics with phobias.

    Honestly, I find your views on this subject unreasonable, disgusting, selfish in the extreme and antisocial. Any reasonable adult would try to avoid a situation where a confrontation is provoked. You seem to relish these sorts of situations.

    With rights – all rights – come responsibilities to not exercise those rights in ways that cause harm. Taking a photograph of someone and causing them to lose peace of mind is causing them harm.

  127. Sera — well said. Though I doubt I’d break a camera.

    Lafe — thank you for recognizing that the polite response to someone’s request (hopefully also polite!) not to be photographed is to not photograph them! Courtesy extended both ways, how refreshing.

    Larry — take a tip from Lafe. How is it that your desire (it’s not a right) to photograph when and how you choose supercedes someone else’s desire to not be photographed? Neither your breathing nor your Michael Jordan analogy wash. Your lungs will still work if you can’t take a picture. Even Mr. Jordan likely wasn’t arrogant enough to assume he could take his basketball everywhere he went.

    There is a HUGE difference between my taking my child’s picture for the family album and my posting it on the internet. Posting is publishing, and I believe we should not be publishing images of people without their permission, for profit or otherwise. While I absolutely expect respect from my kid, he’s a person too and should expect equivalent respect from me. And you.

    And before you tell me I’m being paranoid about paedophilia, I’m not. There are all sorts of other reasons for valuing my privacy.

    We may agree about the quality of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, but we’ll have to remain opposed as to whether the end justified the means. And as to whether sensitive portraits of street people could be obtained with their permission. Of course they could. It just might take more patience.

    And as for granny — why do we all assume anyone of our parents generation (or immigrant) must be sweet and innocent and presumably too clueless to keep up with changing social mores? That’s ageist and insulting.

  128. Actually I think Lafe‘s post was rather sensible. As for honoring “don’t take my photograph, I’m shy” types of requests, if it was someone whom I knew & they were very kind and polite about it, honestly I probably would try to accomodate them. The main thing is, would it turn into a “chilling” effect on the rest of the day’s events photographically-speaking? In other words, is it easy to accommodate their request yet still be able to photograph everyone else who doesn’t mind and it not feel awkward? If that were the case, then I’d likely honor it.

    The woman who asked me to delete the photo of her child–sorry, it was a photo of my child as much as it was one of hers, and her child CHOSE to engage with mine, and the child–speaking of respecting a child’s feelings as a person–didn’t seem to object to any of it either. She took my photographing her holding my son as part of the joy itself also, from my observation. I chose to not allow the mother’s paranoia to spoil it for her child or for me.

    As for Henri Cartier-Bresson–yes, his photos are magnificent, and I will never think he was wrong in what he was doing. If he had listened to people like the ones screaming “stop taking photos of my kids, you pervert” at me when I was actually photographing cucks, he’d never gotten anywhere. You can’t less sub-par thinking ruin top-notch art.

    Sera Taking a photo of someone who objects because it makes them uncomfortable isn’t causing them harm–it’s them CHOOSING to see it for something it isn’t that is causing them harm. It’s 100% self-inflicted. I realize a person’s feelings should be respected mostly (and in fact I typically try to do just that, seriously)–but pandered to if they’re being unreasonable? Nope.

    As for photos being on the Internet vs a photo-album–no difference, especially if they’re somewhere like Flickr or SmugMug with a caption “cute kid at the park I saw.” Do you REALLY think someone is going to see that and associate it with your child specifically, or you specifically as a person? That’s as likely as seeing a commercial of customers eating at Burger King and tracking them down. They’re “faces in the crowd,” a tree lost in the forest. (Now if it was them at a Facebook friend’s site and they “tagged” them to where it was associated with your profile, that just might be different–and I don’t do that, because Facebook’s photo hosting stinks compared to the likes of Flickr or SmugMug anyway.)

    And if that still bothers you anyway–well, you have the right to your feelings and that’s fine as far as that goes–but for us to be passing laws based on them or to even be socially pressuring people to go around getting explicit permission from everyone they photograph & ruining the spontaneity of all of this over it is just nuts.


  129. If taking pictures of your grandchildren in a changing room is completely beyond the pale because there are some half-clothed people there, then taking pictures of your grandchildren on the beach is completely and utterly inappropriate and unacceptable too.

    I do think people should respect rules, I’m just asking do they have to be QUITE so vigilant(e) in policing other people’s non-conformity when the rules are a) not very sensible or b) the spirit of the rule in question is intended to cover a different situation. For example, when a rule was introduced against taking pictures at a swimming pool (let’s move away from the changing room for a moment, at my local swimming pool you can’t take pictures anywhere in the complex), the situation that the people who came up with the rules had in mind was NOT grannies taking pictures of their grandchildren.

    I’m not saying people can just decide which rules they do and do like, but what sort of society do we have when people are so keen on rules for rules sake? I hate littering too and wish people would speak up against it, but that is because littering affects me. A granny taking a picture of her children in the swimming pool does not affect me at all. And if I rush in and say “you can’t do that” and she says “why not?” and I say “because it’s not allowed”, then I just sound like a three-year-old.

    I don’t like public awareness campaigns, but if I was to introduce one it would be along the lines of the Stop! Look! Listen! road safety campaign. Except it would be Stop! Think! and Ask! myself – does this really matter?

  130. Myriam –

    What is the function of a changing room?

  131. To get changed in in privacy.

    If the woman had been going around happily snapping away at other children or anyone else in the changing room. I would have snatched the camera off her and called the police. As she wasn’t doing that, I simply wouldn’t have noticed.

  132. Yep. Exactly. The thing is, if you think about it, taking any visual recordings in an area whose specific purpose is so that people can do something in private without being looked at is just… absolutely insane.

    You can’t tell me that the woman couldn’t have possibly taken pictures of her grandchildren in a place that doesn’t have that whole issue surrounding it. By the sound of it she wasn’t taking a picture of them up against the wall either – she was taking pictures of them from angles that may possibly have included pictures of complete strangers getting changed.

  133. No actually, I thought about this now, and the function of a changing room is to get changed without being seen by the opposite sex. If you don’t want to be seen by anyone of either sex you go into an individual booth.
    By the way I do NOT think that taking photos in a changing room is a good idea.

  134. I’m going to stop saying “granny” now. I hate it when people refer to me using generic “mum” and I’m sure I’ll hate it even more when I’m generic “granny”.

  135. . . . and now for a short break from the angry rhetoric.

    For those interested in really nifty street photography (non-posed photography of people in public places, many of whom had no idea that they were being photographed), check out the recently-discovered work of Vivian Maier. She took amazing photos for years, simply because she enjoyed doing so, and no one knew how good they were until after her death.

  136. Donna, I’m sorry if there’s been an ongoing misunderstanding about me being concerned with what this original post is about — taking photos of children, automatically = creepy. That point is silly for me. But this thread has taken a turn wherein people are insisting that the right to photograph supersedes the right to privacy.

    Telling people to “get over” their demand to their right to privacy is a VERY disturbing and potential VERY dangerous idea.
    The statements were usually along the line of this one from above:
    “If you are in a public place, you may end up on a CCTV or in someone’s photo. Big deal.”
    And even go so far as to say this: “You do NOT own your likeness in public. The public does. Learn it, live it, and keep yourself out of legal trouble.” Mark the words, “keep yourself out of legal trouble”. That’s so worrying. Why not finger print everyone as well? I mean if you have nothing to hide . . .?

    I’m not sure it is possible to protect privacy as we did before the digital revolution. But the (delivered with a more than slightly bullying intonation) insistence that one “be cool” and “get over (it) ” the concern with a right to privacy is very ill conceived indeed. The sanctity of the right to privacy is pivotal to free citizenship.

  137. Thanks for the explanation pentamom, so how that smiley face got there.

  138. The concept of a “Right to Privacy” in public places is an oxymoron, and it simply doesn’t exist. No one is “bullying” anyone by attempting to point this out. In my bathroom or in my home, I should expect some right to privacy. But if I walked out into the street naked and later complained that someone had looked at me or that some media organization had taken photos or video of the crazy man for the nightly news, upon what would I be basing my complaint? That I expected people to read my mind and know that I wanted privacy in spite of the fact I was in public? Such an expectation on my part would be incorrect, plain and simple.

    Likewise, upon what are some of us basing the assumption that we are entitled to some “Right Not To Be Made Uncomfortable”? If you had once been bitten by a dog and still struggled with issues related to that incident, I would feel sad for you and hope that you could get past that. I would NOT, however approve of you coming across someone in the public park with a non-threatening dog, and insisting that that person remove the dog from your presence at once, or you would kill it.

    A person who has been bullied online may have unresolved issues or anger, but that doesn’t mean that they can threaten to destroy someone’s camera who has not read their mind and has no knowledge of nor part in their internal problems.

    This is a strange malady of our society that we should work to address. Where did we get these ideas that everyone owes us a life free of discomfort and that we can think up rights for ourselves without considering their impact on the rest of society, and just because we feel emotionally attached to our made-up rights they must be valid?

  139. No, Lafe.

    If I go for a walk, I enter an unwritten and unspoken contract that people will, yes, look at me. I expect that if I walk around in public people will see me. I do NOT enter a contract that they may record my actions, take my picture, or, hell, for that matter, follow me home.

    Your analogy with the dog doesn’t fly. If I was sitting in a park and somebody came up to me with a dog, I could remove myself from that situation because I have the power to move away from the man and the dog, if not the power to make the man and the dog move away from me. If you take a photograph of me without my permission and against my wishes, leaving is not a meaningful action. You still have the photograph. Me leaving will not change that. You have all of the power and I have none, and I must throw it on your clemency and yours alone to do the right thing and delete that picture.

    I am not some damaged raving lunatic. I am not stating a case of “if you take a photo of me I will smash your camera”. I am stating that if you should refuse my polite insistence that you delete the picture(s), then my more vehment insistence, and then a clear statement of intent that if you will not destroy the picture, I will do it forcibly, then yes, I will get physical. I will get physical not with the aim to hurt you or damage your property in some act of lashing out or revenge or dominance, but to erase the offending picture. Whether this physical altercation simply consists of me snatching the camera out of your hands and deleting the picture myself, stealing your SD card, or throwing the whole deal into a lake, is entirely up to your level and manner of resistance.The ball is entirely in your court as to whether this altercation even gets past the “polite asking” stage. With any reasonable adult, it wouldn’t.

    And yes, you are bullying somebody by, after having inadvertently done something to make them uncomfortable, continuing to make them uncomfortable by not complying with a reasonable request. You have taken away a part of their peace of mind, a part of their privacy, a part of their power over their own life, and are making it yours, for no better reason than “you want to” (I really can’t think of any situation where you need the picture you’ve taken more than the subject needs their peace of mind). If that’s not close to the textbook definition of bullying, I don’t know what is.

  140. My Daughter came early, my dad posted a pic of her in the NICU before I even had a chance to tell friends that we had a kid. He is a very proud grandpa… Now not only did they find out through facebook that we had a daughter but they also saw a rather scary pic of a child very vulnerable and fighting for her life.

    How would you all feel about that? Laws are ridiculous but asking the parents and thinking before posting is always a good plan. There really is no damage here, but every parent has their own designs on how they want their child exposed to the world and we as parents should probably respect those differing opinions.

  141. @Sera.

    Buy yourself a burka.

    Problem solved.

  142. It’s fun reading all of these posts and participating, isn’t it? I love

    having the chance to educate & enlighten people who don’t know

    otherwise that public photography is legal, has been going on for eons

    and is not, by any reasonable measure, rude, and it sure isn’t

    something that ought to have laws introduced on the books on account of


    As Lenore stated, the 63 year old man situation, while kind of creepy,

    is almost harmless. If you think it’s not harmless–sorry, your opinion

    is just wrong. As Lenore also states, the camera does not capture

    anyone’s soul.

    The one person who was semi-quoting me in terms of “learn it, live it,

    stay legal” or whatever–I wasn’t at all advocating a police state and

    “if you have nothing to hide it shouldn’t bother you.” Not at all. I

    was merely saying–don’t go breaking the law threatening physical

    action, which is illegal–as it should be–over a right you don’t have

    and over a fear which is beyond irrational. But more on that later.

    No one, not even me, perhaps the most defiant in terms of saying that I

    will continue to photograph publicly and will defend that right very

    vigorously, is not advocating doing things like, for instance, posting

    someone’s likeness on a site with a caption saying “this is what

    happens to you when you don’t lose weight, you get a fat butt like this

    woman, Jane Doe,” only I’m calling her by her real name, not Jane Doe,

    and I’m even posting a link to her Facebook site so you can know who

    this person is–her job, her employer, how she lives & breathes, ALL of


    And unless something along those lines is going on, there’s nothing

    rude being advocated here in terms of photography. And as Lenore says,

    this whole thing is fraught with “inflated fear.” It’s stupid, and I’m

    NOT going to succumb to it.

    And the real problem is this–it’s because of this inflated fear that

    you have legislators drafting nonsense like this which should never see

    the light of day. The real battle is for people’s minds, to educate

    them about the 1st amendment & what the reasonable expecatations are

    when you’re in public–and to point out that it’s not like people are

    coming to get you. The fact that the sun is shining doesn’t mean our

    solar system is actively trying to give you skin cancer.

    Lafe is exactly right. But you know what? The irrational things

    I’m hearing & observing is a larger part of other things I see. One of

    the most irritating things which I come across on occasion is a

    situation of a woman wearing a bikini at the lake, or wearing an

    extremely skimpy dress with no bra etc, and then becoming mad when a

    few stares are shot her way. Understand–I am talking about a FEW

    STARES, not prolonged fixation or much more than a few quick stares. I

    believe in being respectful, not following such a person around all

    over the place, or even staring so long that a person could be

    compelled to use the old saying–how ironic is this?–“take a picture,

    it’ll last longer.” I am sure NOT advocating that a woman who wears a

    skimpy dress & then is raped or sexually assaulted “she was asking for

    it,” not at all. I sure am also not advocating that women ought

    to be compelled to do like you hear about in the middle East and

    cover-up head-to-toe in 115’F weather, not in a million years am I

    advocating that at all.

    However, it is the most natural thing in the world for a man to do a

    LITTLE staring in such a situation, and to wear something that’s

    overtly sexual in nature beyond just comfortable, and then to become

    angry at a few quick stares being shot your way–sorry, that’s just

    ridiculous. Often-times certain women understand this, they may even

    enjoy the attention, although that’s certainly something that

    understandably varies from one woman to the next.

    However–to dress that way (overtly sexual vs comfortable) and to then

    become angry at a few quick stares–that is just extremely ridiculous.

    It would be no different than if I wore, say, an Easter Bunny costume

    in public (other than at a Halloween costume party) and then got mad

    “what are you looking at” when people stare.

    Yet I have seen this very thing on numerous occasions. I think the

    “Sera” type of reactions are analogous to this. And I am NOT being

    anti-woman here–I am sure that men do similar things sometimes as well

    in whatever regard.

    ANd yes, to the Sera types saying they’d get physical and steal the SD

    card–this shows just how irrational your beliefs are. You’re so pent

    up about your “right” to not be photographed casually in public (vs

    being stalked or photographed in your private property)–a right which

    has already been established as NOT EXISTING–that you would go so far

    as to do something illegal to protect it? All I can say is–thank you

    for warning me just how irrational this crowd can become, because now

    I can be on the look-out for it. I will make a point, while I’m

    primarily focusing (pardon the pun) on my photography, to also be

    aware of my surroundings.

    So I can do things like, for example, if I’m photographing at the lake (where the person was screaming at me when I was photographing ducks), I can bike-ride there vs driving since my mother-in-law lives barely ½ a mile away–I can park my vehicle there so you’re less apt to trace me, there won’t be a license plate at the scene. Or, if someone starts coming up, I can swap memory cards (I have several) and the one that contains the actual images I can store in my pockets near where–shall we say–my privates are, so the only way you’re getting that card is if you see that I’ve done this and you are now groping me physically in my groin area. How do you like the idea of “sexual assault” charges going on your record? Is it worth it to you to risk this for a right you presume to exist which DOES NOT exist, all based on fears that are absolutely & totally irrational?

    (Actually, I’m not ignorant, I was aware of all of this before and

    already had counter-measures which I practice if I have to, but it’s

    nice to be fed the information on how your side thinks so I can check &

    see if my counter-measures are still current.)

    Play the odds, fine, that’s what free-range is about to me–realizing

    the odds of your child being hurt playing outdoors alone etc is not as

    risky as you think it is & thus letting them play, etc. In like matter,

    a casual user or someone all woop-de-doo about all of this would

    probably comply with your request, so odds are you will get your way.

    However, if you come across me or someone like me, then unless you’re

    Mr. T screaming “I’m gonna beat your butt, fool!!,” your vigilante

    tactics aren’t going to work. You’re operating outside the law, and

    you’re dealing with someone who is no fool as to how it can get this

    way with such persons, and is already thinking ahead on how to craftily

    overcome them–either by a stand-off, or operating on the sly (deleting

    the photo but then swapping cards so that the image can be recovered

    with image-recovery software).

    I’m not prone to any such thoughts per se, but if you push me into a corner, then recognizing these are my rights, just as it’s my right to leave my child in the car for 60 seconds while I check the PO box etc–I will defend those rights most vigorously.

    Give it up.


  143. But Larry you yourself said that (prolonged) staring is rude. We’re taught from a young age by our parents in the UK/US “don’t stare – it’s rude”. And that is one of the things I love about UK culture, people don’t stare (unlike in France, for example). To me photographing people is like staring and then some.

    I agree with Lafe and you that a right to privacy in a public place is an oxymoron. The problem is that when people don’t spontaneously exercise a bit of give and take in society and take other people’s desires into consideration, that is when the lawmakers do step in. And before you know it there is a law to force you to take other people’s expectations into consideration. I don’t want laws governing people’s every interaction in society.

    I’m making this as a general point: I don’t think that any law that is passed to prevent photography in public places would be the result of militant photographers (if I may call you that).

  144. If you, or your kids, are out in public, you have exactly zero expectation of privacy as far as having your picture taken. If you don’t like it, don’t go outside.

  145. Myriam You make a good point (staring & photographing) I would just say I think there is a difference because I don’t think people dislike staring in terms of your getting an eyeful as much as they find the long eye contact uncomfortable. A camera isn’t that. But I like your observation anyway and I appreciate the respectful tone and I hope I was that also.

    As for “militant photographer,” that’s fine, I’d just clarify that it’s more about the RIGHT itself vs the photos and that we not create this “chilly” atmosphere & succumb to its pressures. I do like my photos a lot, by all means, but the point isn’t the photos as much as that we not think that photography without consent is a dark underworld of filth or even rude, if done properly anyway–and especially that one should not even photograph their OWN kids just because other kids are around. My story of the woman insisting I delete a photo of her child holding my child is a good example.

    Android 2.2

  146. It is unfortunate that we even have to debate this subject. Our kids and ourselves should be safe enough in our society to not have to worry about some one taking a picture. I do not feel that a picture of myself or my child is or should be prohibited in public. Actually, I am happy to jump in photos. But conduct should be considered here. It is only courteous to ask for permission or to delete if asked politely. I’m a school teacher and I take pictures of my students working and learning all the time and post them to my school website. I have yet to encounter a disgruntled parent. I hope it doesn’t come to that. But if I was asked to exclude a student, I would out of respect for the request by a parent who I respect as a person and parent.

  147. Whoah. Sera. I never said or implied that you were a “damaged raving lunatic”. Remember, I’m the guy who made a point of honoring the nice lady’s wishes when she asked me not to post any photos online if they contained her foster daughter. (Several pictures ended up with this child in them, btw, and the lady didn’t say she would throw my camera in a lake.)

    I’m saying that you can’t define many of the terms you are using based on what your own personal feelings about them are. The “offending picture” is only offensive to you because you choose that reaction or viewpoint. Deleting the photo being “the right thing to do” is based on your feeling, but that’s not the law the rest of us agreed to and put on the books. There are laws against you throwing other people’s property in the lake, though, no matter what your motivation.

    If you want the law changed you should continue this conversation with your local, state, or federal legislators, not me.

    I wish you all the best, and a good day.

  148. You don’t have an “expectation of privacy “when in a public place. This law will get shot down the first time it gets in a courtroom.

    That said, as someone that takes a lot of pictures, I’d never take a picture of a kid without their parents consent. One, it does seem at the very least not nice and two I don’t want some whack job parent calling me a pedophile.

  149. @Lafe, I love the characterization of the “Right Not To Be Made Uncomfortable.” The assumption of that right colors a lot of things in our society today.

  150. Wow, Sera, you talk about bullying and keep saying that someone taking your picture without your permission and then refusing to delete is bullying. But you say you will escalate to the point of theft, assault and/or property damage if your wishes aren’t honored. Who’s the bully in that scenario?

    Let’s say the person who photographed you was using a film camera (shocking, I know, but some of us do still shoot film)… would you demand they remove the film from their camera, destroying all the other images they captured on that roll?

    And finally, speaking as a “cleaned up punk”, I know that dressing spiky gets attention… that’s kinda part of the point (haha), innit? It’s a way of being a peacock, standing out in the crowd… and then you’re surprised when someone wants to take your picture? Hell, I used to make food/beer money posing for street pictures when I had crazy hair.

  151. Laws get written and then it’s up to the courts to decide the particulars of prosecution. The reasonable parent or guardian of “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction.” is a template for jurors to fill in.

    If the first jury has a couple of paranoid parents on it, then the law could be apllied to any situation ever because the jury in the benchmark case thought that no child should ever have their picture taken without the express permission of the parent or guardian.

    That means no taking pictures of your kid’s school play, no birthday party pictures, no public beach pictures, no pictures ever with someone else’s kid in the background. It means public functions where kids are involved will have to cover their own liability by banning all photography, so it won’t just be The Law stopping you from taking a picture at your child’s dance recital or soccer game or county fair, it will be the instructor or coach or security guard.

    I treasure candid photos. Posed pictures to not capture life as it is lived. By allowing rules to be set that forbid us from capturing snippets of the lives our children lead we not only have to live with another filter on our actions and perceptions of safety and personal liability, we rob our children of these keepsakes of their own childhood.

    If all my childhood pictures were of me alone, how sad and lonely it would have looked.

  152. At the risk of surprising people, I actually kind of agree with the “right not to be made uncomfortable”–but MAINLY in the private property realm. To wit: I have serious issues with certain noises, the top 5: dog barking (probably #1), ambulance sirens whirring, cars with no mufflers (or with sporty exhaust pipes), children crying (yes I’m a parent, go figure) and, seriously, coughing. All are noises which aggravate me on some level.

    Even in the public sector, the less I am exposed to such, the better–and I may, in SOME cases, argue for the noise to cease based on that it bothers me even there in public. However, again, the only place I can assert it to any real significance & reasonably expect accommodation for it is on my own private property. Living in the city, as much as the noise of ambulance sirens bothered me, it was inevitable. What am I supposed to do, argue that ambulances on their way to a seriously hurt person nonetheless shouldn’t be allowed to blare their sirens because the noise bothers me?

    In situations such as, say, waiting rooms of the doctor’s office, I think a parent should take great pains if necessary to make their children be quiet, for the sake of others around them to not be bothered by the racket. If you’re trying to listen to someone place in a public speaking type of thing–sermons at church, conferences etc–and someone is having a hysterical coughing fit to where you can’t hear the speaker, I think they should be compelled to excuse themselves for the sake of the rest.

    But again–the only place you can really firmly argue with such strong convictions about a right to not be uncomfortable is in your own home. It makes sense–it’s your property, it’s not the public at large, it ‘s the one place you ought to be able to go to & know that nothing you dislike is going to be there interfering with your peaceful existence. If a dog’s barking bothers me I shouldn’t have to hear the neighbor’s dogs going at it all the time, that noise is trespassing onto my space & in my space it should basically be all about me and the others who live in it.

    So it makes sense that even someone like Sera would have every right to expect people to not snap a camera at her and tell her to “get over it” if this is happening on her own property. In that manner, I actually stand up for the “Right to not be Uncomfortable”–but again, chiefly at your own private property.

    And sometimes even that goes too far, like the homeowner’s associations where people gripe about their neighbor not cutting the grass etc. To me that’s being nosy, even if there is the “property values” angle to consider. That’s their space–if they like tall grass, leave them alone. Some of my neighbors have kids who play & scream a lot when they do, I’m not going to gripe about that noise “trespassing onto my property.” It’s life, I leave it alone (and am glad my kids can play likewise too).

    But in public–the whole “right to not be uncomfortable” can definitely be taken way too far, and this is a great example of just that.


  153. Myriam, lol about “granny.” My grandmother would be rolling in her grave if she knew I was using that term – she despised it! I just find it easier to write than the alternatives.

  154. If I’m taking pictures and there’s kids around, I try to make eye contact with the parents and hold up my camera, if they don’t want their kid in a pic they get them out of the line of fire.

    My nieces friends are all old enough to decide if they want to be in a picture or not nowadays (tweeners), but when they were younger if their parents weren’t around I’d either not take a picture or ask them if they thought their mom and dad would be OK, depending on my comfort level. I’ve never had an issue.

  155. If I take a candid shot of my nieces friends I email it to their parents, I’ve always been thanked for sending them a copy of the shot. Again, no issues. Bending a little and being nice generally works really well. 😉

  156. Rachel, yes!

    “If all my childhood pictures were of me alone, how sad and lonely it would have looked.”

    This, exactly.

  157. Haven’t read all the comments, but one thought missing from this is the extraordinary record of the human condition that Cartier Bresson left behind. And I’d be willing to bet none of the people who were in his pictures were harmed in any way because of them.

    And while we’re on the topic… google Helen Levitt, she made pictures on the streets of NYC from the late 30’s to the 70’s. Lots of free range kids playing, they are an incredible record of 20th c. New York, and I seriously doubt she ever secured a model release from any parents. After all, they weren’t hovering above!!

  158. Suzanne, it’s not missing. Several people have brought up Cartier-Bresson’s work, as well as Vivian Maier’s. Thank you for adding Helen Levitt to the roll call as well!

  159. […] the article here: No Photographing Children without Parental Consent? Share and […]

  160. I think its funny that people say Facebook isnt a commercial purpose. its a $50 billion company because people post pictures of each other. So is Flicker and all the rest.

    The change in the technology both in its ability to disseminate images and the cost to produce them necessitates a change in rules.

    I understand the way that privacy rights are structured today; however, as part of our technological evolution we need to rethink and readjust our mores.

  161. Brian I disagree. What was okay 30 years ago should still be okay now. The only possible reason for it to change would be if there really were that many weirdos out there, and as we know–there aren’t.

    The only problem–people are fearful now. Rather than go along with that and change anything, they need to be pushed back into having some sense, because clearly too many people have none. We should ignore their concerns because–to be blunt–they’re full of shit.

    That’s harsh, maybe, but it’s true.


  162. Whenever you set foot inside a large corporate business of any kind (grocery stores, drug stores, toy stores, clothing store), chances are pretty high that your image is recorded and stored on their servers via hidden cameras.

    To those posters who support this bill, let me ask them this: do you go into every supermarket you shop at and demand that they erase the images of you that were recorded on their equipment?

    If you don’t, why not???

  163. Since my grandmother photographing in the change room raised some issues, I can address them. There are signs when entering the building and on entrance and exits of change rooms and washrooms that photographing and video taping people in said rooms is illegal. There are four stalls in the change room and the rest of the room is open with benches and lockers. All of the stalls were taken and I rarely do use them as they are too small for an adult and two children to dress without giving someone a black eye.

    When this incident occurred, the grandchild was sitting on a bench and my children were directing beside the grandchild. They may have been in the photo, I just didn’t know what state of undress they were in, (my back was to them during the first flash which I thought was a lighting flicker, then got suspicious when it occurred again) whether they were facing the camera or nor, if the photo was zoomed into grandchild’s face, I believe that my children would not have been in the photo. I just wanted to verify. I went the polite route. That didn’t work. I would have notified the staff at the pool immediately, but that would have resulted in her leaving my sight which may mean her leaving (which she did anyway) with the photos. I thought at the time it was best to insist on seeing the photos and thought that the threat (and yes, I did want to threaten this woman now as the polite, informative approach was not working) of pedophilia charge would make her rethink her decision to not show the pictures. I always have assumed when someone is breaking this law, that they have innocent intentions, and every time the response was very apologetic and people were embarrassed of their actions. This woman did not respond the way an innocent person would. She did not appear to be a recent immigrant (spoke very clear English without an accent of any kind-`North American’ clothing). She would have been in her late 50’s so not so old that she would be out of touch with technology (she was using a digi-cam). She commented to her daughter how silly I was being and her daughter agreed. I would not want pictures of myself in states of undress in anyone’s hands (call me prude!) so I wish the same for my children. Chances are she’s not a pedophile, but if she did share these photos online, how do I know that a pedophile doesn’t find them? I was trying to protect my children. Very few people would readily accept a stranger taking photos of them as they changed in a change room. Why should I allow this to be acceptable for my children?

  164. @ Dolly, I deal with some of the rudest, meanest people on a daily basis and am FAR from naive. I wasn’t saying that the request was made meanly because of granny’s response. I believe that the request was not dripping with sweetness because it very shortly devolved into calling granny a pedophile and involving the police. One does not go from nicely asking someone to stop taking pictures to insulting them and calling the police in 30 seconds. This exchange started at heated.

    I’m also not saying that Granny can flaunt the rules. It is, however, not good practice to enforce the rules by mob rule and insults. Get management. I am also completely against throwing around such terms as pedophile (it is already WAAAY overused) or calling the cops before even involving management in the situation. It was a gross over-reaction. Again, OVER reaction. Not that no reaction was required, just that this reaction was an OVER reaction.

    I also don’t think that taking pictures in a dressing room is a good idea or something that we should encourage. It just doesn’t require a complete freak out. Move your child away from the camera, ask granny to stop and if she refuses get management and then butt out. No insults or threats on your part necessary.

    The fact is that IF, and it is an IF in this situation, my child’s preschool butt is caught in the corner of granny’s picture it just isn’t a tragedy of epic proportions. What is it you think is going to happen with this picture? Granny is going to take it home and … Some people will wonder why the hell granny is showing them boring pictures of a little kid putting on a bathing suit? The kiddie porn available on the internet would boggle your mind and disgust you beyond belief. A glimpse of a preschool butt in the background of a picture is as desirable as a picture of a leaf. I’m not saying that I welcome pictures of my kid in a dressing room, just that I’m not going to consider granny catching a glimpse of my kid while photographing her own grandchild a horrible tragedy.

  165. Tuppence, I agree that some can go too far with the notion that they should be entitled to take pictures of anyone at anytime. It’s incredibly rude to continue to take pictures of someone after they have asked you not to. A little manners go a long way.

    At the same time, there really is absolutely no expectation of privacy in public places. Those here who want to demand to see pictures, demand they be deleted and physically accost people for their cameras are going to find themselves running afoul of the law because the photographer has broken no laws in taking the pictures (absent taking obscene pictures) or refusing to delete them. You are simply not legally allowed to physically remove cameras from people or make demands about their pictures.

    “I believe that if any reasonable adult would, if asked, remove a picture of another person from their camera if said other person made it clear that the existence of that photo makes them uncomfortable.”

    Sera, that is not true at all. Every single picture taken of me from about age 11 to 14 made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I hated them. Does that mean that my friends and family should have refused to ever take pictures in my presence? Of course not. I had to grin and bear it.

    I also see no reason why I should delete a picture of my family because you are in the background. I don’t care how uncomfortable that makes you. When we leave our homes, we have to accept that we are going to come in contact with others and may end up in a picture or two. Nor am I going to delete pictures that are important to me for some reason because you don’t like them. For example, I don’t care if they make you uncomfortable for some reason, I’m not going to delete any of my wedding pictures. Same with birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. Again, if you don’t want to be photographed, don’t come to the event.

    In exchange, I try to avoid taking pictures with strangers in the background if I can help it. I also try to avoid taking obviously embarrassing pictures. And I will delete pictures in which one participant looks awful if requested unless it is just too important a picture to not have for some reason. And I have no interest whatsoever in pictures of strangers so that is never an issue.

  166. The conversation is going in circles — I think everyone, including Sera, has been clear that being incidentally photographed (“the face in the crowd:) doesn’t bother anyone. It’s being directly photographed that might. And I think that using photographers from a pre-digital era as examples is naive. Of course the internet has changed things.

    To whoever compared the change room to a swimsuit — that’s ridiculous. A swimsuit is a garment chosen to wear in public. Whatever state of undress someone might be in in a change room obviously was not intended that way.

    As a couple of people have pointed out, courtesy goes a long way. Of course no one has the RIGHT to never be made uncomfortable…but isn’t that the point of good manners?

  167. Frances Sorry I disagree, the Internet hasn’t changed things with regards to this–candid photography is candid photography, period. And the very nature of street photography then, and now, is that almost no one is going to recognize who those people are, no one’s going to connect the fact with a name & address etc.

    I tell you this–photography is a hobby for me, not a profession, but a hobby–but it’s one that, after many years of frustration, only recently has become something that I am reasonably good at. I’ve been at this off & on since 1983 as a 15 year old, and only around the mid 2000’s did I get a decent “hit rate” with it. Prior to that, with film costs to burden me, and without the advantage of live review of your attempts, I couldn’t get anywhere. Now I’m doing MUCH better at it.

    No way am I going to let people consumed with irrational fears hold me back now that I’m, after 20-odd years, starting to get decent results from my attempts. My passion hasn’t changed, I’ve merely been turned loose via digital, and I will not let others ruin it for me.


  168. I got an idea. Let’s create a scenario combing arguments on this thread (not the original post, but the argument that arose on this thread, i.e., any photo in public okay, tough luck with any right to privacy, I can do what I want with MY photos), and the post that follows it.

    A family is out for the day in the park. Having a wonderful time, lots of photos taken. But what’s that mom notices? There’s a “creep” standing by the restrooms, watching all the children coming and going from the toilets: Humpf! Perverts, perverts, every time you turn around, there’s a pervert! Why do they let them breath the same air as the rest of us?, she queries.

    Later on mom shares the day on her Facebook account. She writes about a day that was almost perfect, marred only by some creep, who was obviously! getting off somehow by standing outside the restrooms. She posts photos of their day — including one of a man standing, whose face can be clearly recognized, looking towards the restrooms.

    Now I know (I hope!) none of you “pro” photo folks would ever do anything like this. But it is a realist example of what people will do more and more if they feel entitled to photograph whoever they want to, and do with the photo whatever they want to. And of course, this example is comparatively benign, in what could, and indeed, does, go on in the internet era.

    As someone else wrote, no one is talking about being incidentally photographed. And I certainly haven’t got any answers regarding how to, or whether it’s meaningful to, legislate these matters. But to say “you’re on CCTV anyway, so get over it” without batting an eyelash, takes my breath away. Has the constant-surveillance-society that CCTV represents become not only universally accepted, but so esteemed that the rank and file citizenry will wield its existence as a battle cry to renounce any expectation of privacy? (It’s become hackneyed to throw around this reference, I know, but when it’s appropriate, what can I say, except) Big Brother would have been proud. Mission accomplished.

  169. Tuppence I refer you to my prior post.


  170. This reminds me of when I worked at a skating rink when I was a teenager. We were a small local place and one of our regulars who was also hobbyist photographer offered to make us a website. He started taking pictures of all the regular kids who would go there every weekend and put them up on the site. The kids loved it. Then one night a dad called really enraged because he saw a picture of his daughter up there and he didn’t give permission. He demanded to have it removed immediately but it was 9 pm and we had no way of getting hold of the guy who made the website. He didn’t care. It just occured to me: It’s just her PICTURE. Her name or address isn’t on there, nobody can find her, track her down and kidnap her. What did he think was going to happen? When I was growing up, my parents always warned me never to put my full name or address on the internet because perverts could track you down and kidnap you, so I guess that’s what I assumed the dad’s fears were, but I guess I was wrong. Some people are just actually afraid of other people being able to look at pictures of their kids. Personally, if someone wants to take pictures of my child in public, fully clothed, with no sexual of lewd innuendos, who am I to stop them? And why should I care? They may have a photography blog to add them to. They may just like kids. They may take them home and masturbate to them. How is it hurting me or my child?

    So I am on the side that says, no, you don’t own your image. When you go out in public, your image is part of the public backdrop and anybody has a right to photograph it. Don’t like it? Stay home.

  171. […] or videotaping of kids in situations in which “a reasonable parent or guardian […] FreeRangeKids Related Posts:Stealing from KidsOh Please! “Terrifying”? The Latest “Alarming!” […]

  172. “CCTV represents become not only universally accepted, but so esteemed that the rank and file citizenry will wield its existence as a battle cry to renounce any expectation of privacy?”

    CCTV may sensitize us to being filmed all the time. Any trip to Walmart involves you being filmed by the approximately 200 cameras they have throughout the store and parking lot. We don’t think anything of it. It is simply the cost of going to Walmart.

    But CCTV should not have impacted our expectation of privacy in public at all since we’ve never had any. I’m not sure where people have gotten this notion that we are legally entitled to any privacy when in public. It has never been part of our existence. We are entitled to privacy in our homes, restrooms, hotel rooms, dressing rooms and the like. Anything that is in plain view in public is not private. That includes our physical person unless you’ve managed to get Harry Potter’s Invisibility cloak. If you choose to walk down the street naked, someone can take photographs of you naked and there is nothing you can do about it.

    As for Tuppence’s example, there is absolutely nothing legally wrong with what the imaginary mom did (legally, not morally). Never has been and probably never will be. Since the advent of the camera, you’ve always been allowed to take pictures of “creepy” men hanging out by the bathroom. The internet, particularly Facebook and like, have made it infinitely easier to distribute but there was absolutely nothing whatsoever illegal about putting the same picture of the same “creepy” man on a poster and hanging it all over town prior to the advent of the internet. At least in the US and as long as you say nothing untruthful.

    Whatever expectation of privacy you think you have in public is, and always has been and always will be, a figment of your imagination. It doesn’t exist in the law. MORALLY we should respect each others privacy in public but it’s never been a LEGAL requirement.

  173. @ Donna- I am surprised at your knowledge of my situation with the grandmother considering that you were not there. First of all, my children are not pre-schoolers, but even if they were, they also expect that in a change room, modesty and privacy is expected. Secondly, the exchange did not get heated right off the bat. I have had this encounter many times before, despite the signage. I was extremely kind because I totally expected the grandmother’s intentions to be innocent. I tried to reason with her, but her daughter also got involved and both were refusing my reasonable request to see if my children were caught on film unclothed. Thirdly, I would have involved the staff of the facility immediately but that would have meant leaving the grandmother, and leaving the grandmother meant leaving her with my still unclothed children, and with the evidence of the photos still in her hands. As it was, I did threaten her, and she left with the photos, despite her being told that the police were on the way. It was unfortunate that other parents overheard the conversation and that they also voiced their concerns. One parent was changing herself and was directly behind the scene so she may have been in the photo as well. After my children were dressed, we immediately alerted the staff of the facility who tried to find the grandmother, but she had left.
    In the presence of my children, I do not lose my temper with strangers. Other parents were surprised that I didn’t yell at the woman or use obscenities. If anything, I was calm, quiet and polite. I work with the public and I know that heated arguments will not help. After much pleading, I resorted to the threat, and again, it was sugar-coated, “Oh! After repeated request and you still aren’t able to show me your photos with my potentially naked children in the background, then I will have to assume the worst. Maybe we should call the police and they can help settle the issue?” I don’t know. Would you really allow a stranger to take photos of you while you were changing in a change room? The fact is. There is a law. It is in plain sight for all to read. When approached in a friendly manner that she made a faux pas, instead of being apologetic, she got angry, seems a little odd/suspicious.

  174. You’ve had the encounter many times before? Does that mean with the same woman? Or that the place has many people taking photos in the dressing room? Please clarify.

  175. You guys need to read before commenting. Jenn has stated numerous times that other parents have taken photos in the changing room before and she told them it was not allowed politely and they apologized and would delete the pics or show them to her to assure her that no one naked was caught in the pic. Go back and read her original post if you want clarification. Its all up there.

    Donna I also think you were pretty ballsy to say how things happened in Jenn’s story since you know, you weren’t there. She was. Nothing she has said seems untrue to me and I have a good bull detector. You may not want to believe her story and that is your right, but you should probably keep that to yourself or just say “I don’t know if I believe your story” instead of trying to change the story to fit how you think it went down.

  176. Dolly, I do read all the comments before posting. (Sometimes I think I’m one of about six people on the planet who do.) There’s no need to castigate me for missing a single mention of repeated incidents of this nature, in nearly 200 comments, though.

    Now that I’ve gone back and read Jenn’s initial comment again, though, it seems that while I agree that the grandmother’s response to the confrontation was odd, I can’t bring myself to judge the reason for the oddness. Guilty conscience? Surprise that a younger person would confront her with what she perceived was a lack of respect, regardless of the topic of the confrontation? Offense at the idea people would phone the police over what (to her) was a nonissue? I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. Even if I had been there I might not know.

    If this is a somewhat regular occurrence, though, we can deduce (perhaps) that there are several types of people using that pool and that dressing room. One type might have Jenn as a representative example — those who are made uncomfortable enough by the remote possibility that something nefarious is going on that they will mention their concerns to those photographing their own kids or grandkids in that area.

    I would not take pictures in such an area, but if someone else was, I think I’d ignore it, unless they were pointing the camera directly at me or my children.

    We could deduce that there’s a group of people like me who don’t think it’s something worth getting upset about, unless it’s obviously an inappropriate attempt to get photos of someone else in a state of undress.

    We can also deduce that there’s a group who are so not-upset about the idea that they would whip out their camera or phone and get that cute shot of Jimmy or Suzy without a second thought.

    Now, I can already hear the argument that it’s ALWAYS inappropriate because there’s a sign there, or because there’s a law that might apply. Like I said, I would obey the sign and not photograph my kid in there no matter how cute they were. However, we know that there are rules that people shrug off and most people don’t seem to notice or care. At pools, especially, the “Don’t get into the pool without showering” rule is seldom honored. “No Running” is another. People bend or break the rule, and no one confronts them. It’s the same with driving 5 over the speed limit.

    So we can assume that there’s a group of parents and at least one grandparent who ignore that rule, possibly because they feel it’s only there to be used when a flagrant incident occurs and the management or prosecutors need a legal basis for addressing that situation.

    Maybe I’m being too logical about all of this, and the grandmother was a horrible person trying to do horrible things. I wasnt there. Maybe, though, some or most of the parents going to that pool on a regular basis don’t care about this issue, and the “mob mentality” popped up among people who were only hearing one side of the story and guessing that Jenn wouldn’t be so upset unless there was something to be upset about. People forget to check facts once emotions start running high.

    I don’t exactly disagree (or agree) with what Jenn or the elderly lady did — I’m just wondering which of them represents the prevailing viewpoint at that particular pool. I also wonder if we could do a better job of getting along with others, even when they aren’t doing or saying things we agree with. (I mean that for pool changing rooms and for this Internet comment environment.)

  177. Well said Lafe. I do find some of the comments on this blog very prescriptive, not on this issue in particular but in general. “It’s NOT OK to a,b,c” “It’s INAPPROPRIATE” to x,y,z.” And that would be OK, if it was followed up with some argument rather than just a blanket prescription. Especially since this is a fairly libertarian (or social libertarian) themed blog.
    Then again, maybe I’m just wishy-washy, seeing all sides and prone to sitting on the fence. 🙂

  178. Yes, we can do a better job of getting along with others. Such as when someone points out I broke a rule and is concerned about the privacy of their kids, I would apologize and remedy the situation.

    Jenn stated several times her kids were right next to the granddaughter being photographed. So in a way the camera was pointed right at them. It is not a case of the granddaughter standing in a corner all alone with no one anywhere near her to have her photograph taken. If that was the case I doubt Jenn or anyone else would have a problem with it. The problem was there were all kinds of people around her that might have ended up in the shot. So in that case, they had every right to enforce the rule.

    If you want to break a rule and it only effects you, fine. If you want to break a rule that effects others than you can’t be mad when they say something to you about it. Like I said earlier that is like when I say something to someone cutting in line in front of me and then they get attitude with me. When you are blatantly in the wrong you don’t have a leg to stand on and no right to get mad when someone calls you on it!

    I don’t think the granny was a pedophile. I just think she was a horribly rude and entitled woman who needed to be taken down a peg or two.

  179. […] of this post is both fascinating and infuriating. A blog I follow called Free Range Kids had a post several days ago describing a new law in the works in New Jersey: We’re getting to the point […]

  180. I am both a photographer and mother, I have been on both sides of this.
    1. My children have been photographed in public. Perhaps as photographer I have just been aware of it more than others would be. Once My daughter was siting in a museum window reading the guide book back lit so lovely. I had even taken her shot…she had no idea how cute she was.. About six other people shot her… only one caught my eye and mouthed “is it ok?” One of the photos ended up in the brochure the next year. One year the other child ended up in the advertisement for the Local Renaissance Festival .Both photos would not have been as charmong if they had not had been captured purely natural and unposed in a journalistic fashion. … Oh the moments that will be lost if we let fear tie our hands.

  181. Two Halloween’s ago, I was taking pictures of some of the cute kids coming to our door for treats. I always asked permission of the accompanying adults first, telling them I might post any good quality pictures on my facebook page. Without exception, I was given permission. As the evening wound down to a close, I heard heavy footsteps crunching the gravel on the other side of a large tarp we use each year to close off our front porch, to create a spot for decorations. It was a cop, who asked me if I was photographing children. I said yes, and was told that it is illegal to do so, and I had a concerned parent call to report me. I told them that if I received permission, it was not illegal. And, that in any event, I could photograph anything i wanted to, on my own private property. He threatened me with jail, so, I asked if deleting the photos in question, of the woman’s children who actually did give me permission to photograph her kids was acceptable, or if I was going to jail for all the photos I took. He said that the woman who reported me would be satisfied with me deleting her kid’s photos, so, I did. The cop watched me as I scrolled to find the ones in question, and said that I had several good ones. I asked him what the lady who called to complain about me concerns were, and he said she felt I was ‘creepy’, and was planning on doing something ‘weird’ with the pictures. I said that the kids were fully clothed, and for the most part had their faces hidden by their costumes. What ‘weird’ thing could I do with them? He said he didn’t know, but to stop taking photos. I didn’t want to argue Constitutional law with him, because it would not have educated his sorry ass, or improved the situation. Eventually, he left, after getting my name and running my ID to see if I was a wanted felon “child in a Halloween costume” picture-taking criminal. To avoid more cops on my property, I have refrained from these activities. An innocent gesture, commending some children on their cute Halloween costume, perverted into a dark, sinister criminal act. Truly a sad commentary on the downward-trending state of our society

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