Last weekend my three-year-old daughter’s school put on a folk-dancing show; a local group had been teaching the kids a few dances over the last few months (not an easy task I’ll wager!).
Naturally, I took along my camera to take lots of pictures of Annouk, and the other parents did the same. I wish now that I’d taken a picture of the parents taking pictures, but I didn’t. I did however find this crop from one of my images.
I’m lucky, I live in France, so when I asked if we were allowed to take photos the head master looked at me rather quizzically, as if to ask why on Earth I wouldn’t be allowed to take photos.
This is in stark contrast to my home country – Britain – where a national paranoia of photography has been gradually entrenched into the general populous. In theory schools can allow parents to take photos, but in practice we have a growing climate of fear that has led to no photo policies and dads being threatened with arrest.
Even though I don’t live there any more, and even though I’m thankfully free from this mentality, it still drives me crazy. How did an entire nation allow a few individuals to ruin this sort of enjoyment for everyone else? I love looking back at photos of me as I grew up; I hope that I can offer the same to my children too.
I do agree that with the ease of publication that the Internet provides common sense should be applied; clearly such photos should be for personal use only and recognisable images of other people’s children should not be published without permission. But that’s a far cry from the outright photography bans that are so often applied.
I’m curious to know which other countries are allowing themselves to suffer these sorts of restrictions, and which are still holding on firmly to their national self-respect.