Stealing The View: Pseudo-Public Spaces

August 1, 2017

A friend sent me a link to a Guardian article (link below) on pseudo-public spaces – once public squares and parks that have been bought up by large corporations, often from overseas. The owners impose their own bylaws; top of the list, no photography! This grinds my gears as my main output and passion is architectural photography.

I'm puzzled as to why they build them so pretty if we're forbidden to admire them? Surely the owners would appreciate the free publicity, or do they fear that their property will gain some budding enthusiast a steady income? It's a question that leave me without answers. What I do know is that these organisations are buying up the land and claiming ownership, view and all.

So why the paranoia? After all the same rule doesn't seem to apply if your camera of choice is on a mobile phone, but have the audacity to draw a DSLR from your backpack and the "Fun Police" swiftly descend upon you. I sometimes attempt to challenge their action but for the most part I'm fobbed off with the standard response "it's against management policy".

It does seems a waste of effort and resources as most of us will have taken the images we want long before we're moved on. For me it's more of an annoyance and an attack on my liberty. I'm not being disrespectful to anyone, or defacing property, or posing a threat to security, yet I'm treated with the same resolve as someone whose turned up to the ballet dressed in bin liners.

There was some bizarre proposition to follow EU law forcing photographers to black out images of well known landmarks on their pictures, even if the structure is in the background. Thankfully it hasn't come to that yet, however our councils appear committed to selling the ground from under our feet, I can honestly imagine a time when they'll monetise the air and kick the door open for a new set of rules barring us from looking at the architecture never mind photographing it.

For now though, I'll just keep on clicking.

 


Fun facts:

# The owners of East Village, near the Olympic Park, said that permission was needed for any photography or filming on its land. Canary Wharf Group however claim that non-commercial photography is allowed.

# In Paris it's already illegal to publish an image of the Eiffel Tower at night as its light installation is protected by copyright.

 

 

Sources:

Revealed: the insidious creep of pseudo-public space in London - The Guardian / July 2017

Street photography and the law - Amateur Photographer / October 2016

 

 

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