“Oy you! You can’t take that picture….”

The 'illegal' picture

So, I’m walking along Avemaria Lane (near St Pauls) minding my own business. It’s a quiet afternoon and there’s barely anyone around. I’ve got my little Ricoh GR digital compact around my neck.

Passing the entrance to an empty car park that interested me (well, I like these kind of shots!), I take a snap from the pavement and am about to walk on when I hear a loud, aggressive voice shouting:

"Oy! Oy! You! You with the camera! "

"’Scuse me?"

"Yes you – you can’t take pictures here"

"Err, yes, I can actually"

"No you can’t"

"Yes, I can. I’m on a public highway"

"Don’t give me attitude. If I say you can’t take pictures you can’t"

"You’re wrong, actually. I’m on a public highway and I am perfectly entitled to take pictures of anything I like, thanks. That’s UK law."

"Go on then. Try and take another picture, Go on!"

"I’ve already got the picture I want, thanks"

(aggressively pointing his walkie talkie aerial close to my face)

"Go on. Take another picture"

"are you threatening me?"

(louder and more aggressively)

"Go on. Try and take a picture again. Go on"

"OK, if you insist." (takes another picture).

(security man conspicuously puts walkie talkie to mouth)

"Get me the flying squad"

"You’re calling the…(chuckle)…Flying Squad?!!!!!"

"They’re on the way"

…bursts into laughter and leaves.


Here’s a really handy guide for photographers – make sure you read it before you go out street shooting so you know your rights!
external link Photographers Rights In The UK (PDF)

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