Personal Devices and Public Spaces

This weeks topic really made me question my privacy in public in a whole new level because I never thought about the laws and ethics when it came to taking photos in public and especially when people are featured in the photo.

I believe that when you are out in public there should be unofficial rules for taking personal photos. For example when you are taking photos of a crowd of people that is okay as long as no one that hasn’t given consent features in the photo. As long as everyone respects each others privacy it is fine because yes it is okay to take a photo of the opera house or the Eiffel Tower when people are in front of it but to take a photo of someone’s face close up without consent is wrong. There are certain laws that do to some extent protect people in the public, such as not being able to take photos of people at the beach or in some schools but a lot of it still comes down to being ethical and the people taking the photos to choose to do the right thing.

I had my own go of ‘street photography’, which we talked a lot about in my BCM240 class. We watched videos of professional street photographers and how they appro14302523_1123718834373985_2021544920_n.jpgach people to take photos of them and what they do with the photos and how they deal with the ethical side of photographing in public. My attempt of street photography is the photo on the right, which was taken at uni of a person that I knew. To control the ethical side of things I asked someone I knew because I felt comfortable asking them for the photo and I knew that they would feel comfortable either telling me yes or no because one thing I hate is feeling pressured and being put on the spot to do something. No one should feel uncomfortable being out in public because people are coming up to them asking for photos. I know what its like to feel trapped when I have been at uni and you can see people either taking photos or videos of people passing by and usually in this situation I try to walk around them because I don’t want to photographed or videoed and I hate saying no to people. I also informed my friend of where the photo was going to be published and the only thing that she asked was for me not to share it on social media but she was more than happy to have it on my blog and marked for an assignment.

After reading Jane Curtis’ article ‘The legals of street photography’ I was really surprised to read that ‘Legally you aren’t required to get permission to take photos of children or young people under 18 in a public place.’ Because in my eyes if anything it should be the other way around because children are more vulnerable than adults and don’t have as much power to stick up for themselves. It is when laws like this are made that it makes me question whether or not we are really protected in public.

One thing that I have always thought of when visiting iconic places such as the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and The Empire State building is when people are taking photos near me and I am in the background of some of the photos, am I going to be placed in their family photo album so when they are going through old memories or showing people photos of their trip will all of these people see me, all of these people that I don’t know… I know that it doesn’t seem like a big deal but the more I think about it especially this week the more it freaks me out.



Curtis, J. (2011) ABC Open, ‘The legals of street photography’, Viewed 8th September 2016 <https://open.abc.net.au/explore/5148>


One thought on “Personal Devices and Public Spaces

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s