I like taking photos. I have my little SLR that I take with me to gardens and I love taking documenting parts of my life in photos. When I don’t have my camera, I use my phone. Sometimes this means I’ll take photos in a public area with people around that I don’t know. This can cause a little moral twitch. Am I ok to photograph places I like the look of if people are in the photo without their permission? Is it ok to just take photos of people if they contribute to the feeling of the photograph? It is ok to engage in taking photos in a public place of people, buildings and sites without permission. This is also a fairly loose rule of law, where it can be limitations of who and what you can photograph or film without permission. But generally, from personal experience, working out whether or not you should take a photo in public it is something that in which your common sense of decency should prevail.
But there is a massive difference between taking photos of people in a public place, and engaging in an act that violates someone’s privacy. To use your camera or your phones camera for “indecent purposes” constitutes an offence. ‘Upskirting’ is something that most women and some men fear. It is the act of filming or photographing someone without their knowledge and or permission indecently underneath their clothing. In March of this year a young woman made headlines, as she shared her story and video of catching the man in the train seat in front of her filming up her shorts while she slept. Her facebook video was shared worldwide over 7254 times and gained a large amount of followers who supported her bravery in filming and confronting the man who was assaulting her. The man has since been charged with filming a person’s private parts without consent and offensive conduct. This story is not unheard of though. This story resonated with a lot of young women who have shared their own stories of being filmed inappropriately without their knowledge in a public place. In fact in 2013 it was released that there had been a “clear increase in upskirting” since 2005. As a woman myself, I can remember instances of my own friends and colleagues telling me their own horror stories that haven’t resulted in a charge or even an arrest.
Personally, I feel like this phenomenon is a symptom of the misogyny that is rampant in our media and culture. Adverts created by massive fashion houses such as Calvin Klein that show an upskirt photo of a model are out there in the general public and thus creating an environment where this could be perceived as ‘ok’. ‘Ok’ that someone could invade a persons privacy in a public place in such an way that constitutes sexual assault – which is so not ok.
So continue taking photos of gardens, and beautiful scenery, and that incredible sunset. Just don’t be a grub and take photos up women or mens skirts or shorts.
Alrc.gov.au. (2016). Taking photographs and other images | ALRC. [online] Available at: http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/69.%20Particular%20Privacy%20Issues%20Affecting%20Children%20and%20Young%20People/taking-photographs-an#_ftn129 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].
Lawstuff.org.au. (2016). Lawstuff Australia – Know Your Rights – – Topics – Photos & Videos on Your Phone. [online] Available at: http://www.lawstuff.org.au/nt_law/topics/article10 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].
Partridge, E. (2013). Record arrests of voyeurs taking sneaky skirt pics. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/record-arrests-of-voyeurs-taking-sneaky-skirt-pics-20130504-2izpn.html [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].
Street Photographers Rights. (2016). 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://www.artslaw.com.au/images/uploads/Street_photographers_rights_2016.pdf [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].
vogue. (2016). Calvin Klein Upskirt Ad Controversy. [online] Available at: http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/calvin-klein-upskirt-ad-controversy-klara-kristin-defends-photograph [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].