Last Updated on 01/22/2020 by Mark Beckenbach
To what extent will a photographer ignore law and ethics in order to get a photo opportunity?
Photographers live for scenes and moments: something that can last a lifetime in the form of an image. It’s in our blood — ingrained deep in our mindset, and our philosophy of life. But there are times when our thirst to document impacts others. In a recent post on Reddit, a user complained about how photographers use his business property (without permission) during their portrait shoots. Of course, this is trespassing and against the law. But, it also highlights a certain level of arrogance that exists within our community.
Photography Law. Case Closed
In the case of the Reddit user, the situation is simple. If it’s their private property, then anyone using it without permission is doing so unlawfully. They spoke of several instances, with multiple photographers, where they have accessed their business premises (a luxury spa and grounds) without asking. The owner of the property would be within their rights to call the police, but asked them to leave, instead, which is ignored.
“I’ve been thinking of charging a fee to help pay for upkeep as some will move our outdoor furniture and leave without putting it back.”Reddit User
Personally, if it were my property, I would call the police. The sheer arrogance of the photographers clearly means this is something those with authority have to handle. No photographer is above the legalities of a situation. I do not care how good their photo is going to look for their clients. To think they can trespass and be above the law is disgraceful, disrespectful, and puts a negative light on the industry. If you’re someone who has trespassed, thinking, “oh, who cares,” then I’m talking to you.
Another concern is that this culture is only getting worse. In today’s world, everyone thinks they are a photographer. And there’s a sense of entitlement continuously filtering into our industry.
I always seem to be hating on Instagram. But, it’s the cause of a lot of things to hate. We all see the world we live in. People are more concerned with getting the “shot for the grams” than they are living in the moment and enjoying life. The lengths people go to get their Instagram moment has led to injuries, and in some cases, death.
But aside from what is happening to humans, there’s the point of what humans are doing. In 2019, we had the horrible story about the super bloom of at Lake Elsinore. A beautiful sea of apricot-colored poppies, destroyed by models and photographers that wanted their “my life is so super-duper right now” shot to post on social media.
“You’re not as important as you think you are and there are other people and things on this planet that you need to respect.“
Look at what people are becoming. They are destroying the planet, disregarding laws, and just showing a lack of basic human awareness. For what? A photograph?
It’s Not Difficult to Be a Decent Human
I love photography. It’s my life, my passion, and it gets me out of bed every morning. I love getting a great photograph. But, no picture is worth being a total douche bag in order to obtain. Despite what people tell you, it is possible to get a fantastic photograph without risking your life, breaking the law, or showing a complete disregard to ethics.
If you’re a photographer acting against law and ethics, check in with your humility. You’re not as important as you think you are, and there are other people and things on this planet you need to respect.