Oi - you can't photograph here!

By Steev Stamford

There seems to be much anger at the number of places that don't allow photography, and especially tripods backed up frequently with 'rent a cop'.


What a huge number of people fail to realise is just how much of the UK is actually on private property, probably your own home for a start - and if you're on private property the land owners, their agents and employees are perfectly within their rights to restrict what you do whilst on that property.


A significant number of shopping centres, out of town retail parks and other 'public spaces' are in fact privately owned either directly by property companies or pension funds who use the rental income as a steady and relatively secure means of long term income. For example 'Westfield' - there are many Westfield shopping centres - all privately owned.


In London there really isn't much that isn't privately owned and in particular Canary Wharf is private, employs security staff and as the saying goes - "isn't afraid to use them". If they want to stop you photographing / setting up a tripod / picnic / whatever - they are perfectly within their rights to do so.


All the 'Royal Parks' - Kew Gardens, Richmond Park etc. - private - in this case Crown property. Sports centres, leisure complexes, cinemas, theatres . . .   all are owned. Sure many are free to visit, but you almost certainly have no legal 'right' to be there or photograph.


Much as you may not like or agree with it them's the rules. If you are told you can't then accept you can't - no point arguing with them. Some places are more than happy to allow you to photograph simply by asking - my local shopping centre were quite OK for me to photograph without a tripod (the only restriction) simply by asking first.


A lot of people complain that 'they' (the property owners) shouldn't be allowed to make such restrictions - but put the shoe on the other foot for a short while. If you were lucky enough to have a rare visiting animal make its home in your front garden how would you feel about people walking into it to take photos? Maybe if they asked you'd be OK with it - but if they just wandered through the gate and started setting up tripods I dare say you'd soon be leaning out the window and shouting . . .


"Oi - you can't photograph here."