Shooting in public- rights to shoot

Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

Hello All,

I was shooting stills at a beach here in South Florida recently. I was on a deck shooting pans across the whole beach, which consisted of a lot of young people, both girls and guys, playing volleyball, sunning, surfing, etc. The water and light were perfect, and the colors were just amazing.

About 5 minutes into it, a middle aged woman (in a bikini way too small for her, I might add) came storming up onto the deck, cursing me, calling me a pervert, and shouting all kinds of epithets at me- I thought she might turn violent. Where is a cop when you need one? Anyway, I calmly told herI had a right to be there, and even offered to show here the photos on my SLR screen, if it would make her feel better- of courseI had no obligation to do that, but I was taken off guard by her attack. After she felt like she had berated me enough, she returned to her blanket, packed up and left. But I was NOT leaving, not like that.

Her reasoning was that I had no right to be taking photos of people in a public place. I told her she was incorrect- and later found out that the entire beach and the exact place she had been sitting are on a city sanctioned webcam!

Owing to the fact that it is a public beach, covered by a webcam, and I was not using these photos for any commercial purpose, who is in the right here? Was she just jealous of all the younger women on the beach? Is this a case of my civil liberties being violated?

Thanks.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am

Sounds as if the woman in the tight bikini might have an idea where the doughnut shop is :-)

I get all the footage or photos I need, simply by asking interesting subjects in public places for permission (BEFORE the fact) if I can videotape or photograph them, and I usually keep a basic model release form handy for them to sign.

Somewhile back, during a visit to San Francisco, I was on a faces kick, and wanted, or thought I did, to maybe create a coffee table photography book (been done before, but not with MY subjects, POVs, artistry, yada, yada...) of interesting (subjective) faces for it. I came up with all the material I could want but the project didn't pan out - long story short they were flattered, didn't request compensation, and after reading the simple release form usually signed it without hesitation.

A few pulled the hands-in-the-face routine, while others were not necessarily friendly or nice, but didn't pull a Mel Gibson on me either. It IS better to be safe, but if you can defend yourself physically shoot all you want in public places.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am

Sadly, however, it simply isn't always going to be THAT simple Artook. Being on the right side of the rules or laws isn't necessarily going to protect you under some circumstances. Like I said, if you are capable of defending yourself, stand your ground. If you have doubts...

...I mean there are people now days who'd just as soon shoot you as to look at you. Depending on how badly a person is foaming at the mouth it is sometimes best to just walk away.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

Just start yelling "Somebody call the police, I accidentally just filmed this prostitute making business deals, and now I'm being threatened... then ask her calmly if SHE likes being falsely accused...."


Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

I just want to say thanks to all for the great responses. The woman was just so ugly about it, and in my face so fast that it took me by surprise.


Jennifer O'Rourke's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 03/07/2008 - 10:44pm

All this is really good advice, I'd just like to add that the rules WILL change if you're shooting children. Please be careful when video-taping children, you can easily be picked up and run through the legal ringer and possibly worse if your subjects are children in various stages of skimpy swim-suit or undressed. I once did a news story on a guy who was arrested for video-taping kids at the out-door shower at a public beach as they attempted to clean the sand from their swim-suits. He thoguth it was cute, a mother [and cop] who saw him didn't. He was arrested, his tape scrutinized in court, he was labled a pedophile and had to register as a sex offender.

Managing Editor jorourke@videomaker.com VM Customer Support: 1-800-284-3226


Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

Videochick:

That's the cost of a society where parents have become super advocates for their coddled, spoiled brats. In understand protecting children, but if you so much as smile at a child in line at the grocery store, the parents immediately assume you have evil intentions.