Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Read and Take note

This is a copy of an e-mail I received today from a good friend and fellow photographer.

As you know my main photographic passion is street photography and I fully agree with the comments made by Martin Parr in this text. Many of the great images of our time are taken on the streets, its the way history has been documented in pictures for the last 80 years or more.

Its a crazy example of the world we live in when the same people who complain and object to street photography take a trip to Ikea or Next and purchase one of the cheap B&W images taken on the streets of New York or Paris by the great photographers years ago. In fact Paris the real home of street photography now has laws which almost ban any photography of people on the streets.

Remember the famous shot of kids playing in the spray from a fire hydrant in New York... in a few years it could be illegal to take a picture like that....

I hope Martin Parr has no objection to me using his text and please as he asks support this cause. Get out there with your cameras and record the social world around you before its to late.

Hi Steve,

This might interest you, as you have a love of street photography,

Comes from an article in the BJP mag from Martin Parr - you may know him,


Title: *Street photography - the end of the road?*

Date: *2 December 2009*

Martin Parr warns that street photography as we know could be banned in
the UK, so "get out there while you can"

Martin Parr takes a fearless approach to street photography. 'I go
straight in very close to people and I do that because it's the only way
you can get the picture,' he told BJP more than 20 years ago. 'You go
right up to them. Even now, I don't find it easy. I don't announce it. I
pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone's photograph it is
very difficult not to look at them just after. But it's the one thing
that gives the game away. I don't try and hide what I'm doing - that
would be folly.'

Twenty years later, this is still Parr's trademark - even if he's now
more likely focusing on your dinner plate. Speaking to a crowd of more
than 600 at this year's Vision, BJP's annual event for early career
photographers, Parr explained that the only way to succeed is to find
the courage of your convictions: 'You need obsession, dedication and
balls.' For Parr, too many student photographers take photos of their
immediate family and friends - 'because it's easy. You need to be

However, emerging photographers are often sceptical, especially with the
legal implications of shooting in the streets. Asked whether he had
model releases allowing him to use pictures of strangers he shot in
public, Parr said: 'Why bother? I would never do any work (if I did)' -
the only exception being France because of its stringent privacy laws.

But, the celebrated photographer now fears that his style of photography
is under threat. The threat doesn't come only from the police, which
have been waging a war on photographer using terror laws, but also from
the public's misconception about photography. 'You can't photograph kids
on the beach now, even in swim suits,' Parr said while reflecting on his
first colour book - The Last Resort. This situation has led him to
believe that within five years, street photography could be altogether
banned in the UK.

His advice: 'Get our there while you still can.'

Like Parr, you can join BJP's Not A Crime campaign for photographers'
rights at

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