Street Photography

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Senior Member
Jan 22, 2005
Tiny Red Dot...
Talking about street photography here in Australia, the"Photography vs Privacy" issues are a very much debatable issue here. As more and more laws on personal privacy are passed down by various states government, more and more street photographers are facing the problems of being abused by predestrains.

In the past where street photographers have the rights to photograph in the open public, nowadays they are being restricted. Try walking around in the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth... all the major cities, and you will find that predestrains are often avoiding you just because you are holding a camera, even though you are not taking them.

Did you all know that photographing a particular person A having his/her meal, if A spotted you, A could press charges on you on the account of you invading A's privacy of having his/her meal time, which he/she considers as being his/her own private moments, even though it is in the public ground.

This "probia" of being photographed, also could be seen inside public buildings too. Normally you wouldnt take the building's interior, subjected the the property owner's permission. Now, if you are entering the buildings, evening with your camera strapped on the neck, security guards will harshly tell you not to shoot... Instead of politely...

Now I am having my break in Melbourne... I will insert some examples when I can back in Canberra so that you guys could have a better idea.



New Member
Apr 19, 2002
Try being a train enthusiast who likes taking pictures of trains and other rail related infrastructure. In some places you can get the anti-terrorism squad out after you..

I'm getting rather sick of 'You can't take photogaphs here'. 'Why ?', 'Security reasons'.

As if stopping enthusiasts with their camera's is some how going to stop a potential terrorist from collecting intelegence. They will just use a phone camera instead. They won't need a multi-mega pixel perfectly exposed image for their planning, any old rubbish that shows their target will do.

I must admit some transport administrations are more enlightened (even if their hired thugs on the ground are not), pointing out that enthusiasts are more likely notice something amiss and should be encouraged as extra eyes and encouraged to phone in anything suspicious.

I think a lot of the current anti-photographer craze is misplaced 'security' or at least an excuse that is hard argue against.

Maybe a large proportion of the population secretly belive the camera steals your soul.


Senior Member
Jun 23, 2005
Melbourne, Australia
The first link was an interesting read...and it possibly states why street photography is sometimes a difficult area to approach. Well, for me that's the case anyway. There's a fear of being assaulted or getting into trouble. This quite nearly occured when I was in the city of Eindhoven in Holland on a recent trip.

I stopped to photograph a near empty street scene at night. There were two figures down the street. One of them caught me and shouted over, 'You take my photo and I'll charge you!' Fortunately my friend heard that too. He stopped and stared at the figure that promptly turned away.

What's interesting too are some of the last few points mentioned in the article...I had to ask myself, 'Why do I really find myself attracted to photographing buskers, street drunkards, street performers...?' Perhaps it's just the attraction to another way of life and the wish to document their existence? What do you think?

The points that Matthew mentioned are also issues that most of us are concerned about. Photography seems to be getting scrutinised from various sides. We're either viewed as terrorists or paedophiles, depending on the subject we photography. I go for less night photography trips these days because I've been stopped so often for photographing buildings and interiors. Now the technique is not to set up a tripod and slowly shoot, but to handhold at a high ISO, get the shot and move quickly.

That's precisely what a terrorist would do, wouldn't it? A person with ill intention is probably not going to set up a tripod with a bulky camera for a perfectly-framed shot! Maybe I'll just buy myself an F30 and make myself look like a tourist.

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