Top Ten Things NOT Safe To Photograph

Wow did this guy have a stroke of bad luck. Fotolia CEO Detained by Police for Taking Pictures

Early afternoon in Paris today, Fotolia CEO Thibaud Elziere was out for a walk and testing the new Nikon D80 digital camera. However, one image would change the rest of his day.Walking down the Rue Vaneau in Paris, Thibaud captured an image of a CCTV camera […] Within minutes, Thibaud was approached by the French Police and detained for the better part of the day.

Unknown to Thibaud he had captured the CCTV camera of the French Prime Minister’s personal residence and caused a great security concern. According to Thibaud, there were no signs or warnings about photography in the area. A simple click and his day was ruined.

The police questioned him about what he was doing in the area, if he had any terrorism connections, about his work, and why he would want to take a picture of a CCTV camera. Thibaud relates that his first answer of “taking pictures for fun” did not satisfy them. He soon outlined his connection with Fotolia and testing the camera. After 8 hours of questioning and background checks, they returned his camera and escorted him home.

It seems from what I read in the article this could have happened to any one of us. You take a picture of a building, for whatever reason, next thing you know you are being questioned by policemen about if you have any terrorist connections. What can you do, stop taking pictures of houses?

We are increasingly being warned not to take pictures of anything (or anyone) which might be construed by the paranoid as a terrorist threat but how was he supposed to know this was the home of someone important without any signs or notices. Just CCTV present does not necessarily imply that the resident is someone of national or defense importance, the guy might have an expensive car etc.

So now we have a new entry in the top ten things you can’t safely photograph

  1. Underground/Tube/Buses
  2. Refineries or other Industrial plant
  3. Police
  4. Government buildings
  5. Bridges
  6. Tunnels
  7. Shopping malls
  8. Airports
  9. Office Buildings
  10. Houses

Have I missed any?

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Thinking of flying from the UK with your camera kit?

Reading Dan Chungs blog has alerted me to the news, for the time being at least, due to anti-terror rules just announced, you will not be able to take carry on, so your camera equipment will not be able to go onto the plane with you. This is bad news as anyone who has had delicate electrical equipment broken in the hold (or through rough baggage handling) will tell you.

More details at the BBC

Passengers are not allowed to take any hand luggage on to any flights in the UK, the department said.

Dan has a solution, though an expensive one:

I’d been thinking for a while about ordering a case that allows me to check my equipment in the hold if I have to. A solution used by many pros is the Pelican case. There are many different models in all shapes and sizes. Anticipating high demand for these cases in the next few days I’ve ordered 1620 and 1510 models; both have wheels and are large enough for a reasonable camera kit. One photographic dealer I contacted said he had already received seven orders by 9.30am this morning

Damian has a couple of these cases and they are really good. I am not a jet setter but I do fly every few months, I might have to invest in one of these myself.

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