I had an email the other day from ‘Nicole Factfinder’ who said:
I’m involved in publishing a children’s guidebook to Devon and Cornwall and we were including a section on learning to surf in Cornwall. We’d love to use the photo below
my photo of surfers in Devon
but then Nicole went on to say:
as there are children in the picture I wanted to check with you first if you had photo release
Which made me rather cross. Unless Nicole’s hazarding a guessd that some of the tiny figures in the background are kids and that for some reason gives her concern then she can only be talking about the three figures in the foreground. They look to me like they might be a mother, a teenage son and a younger daughter.
This is a perfect example of moral panic, exactly the same in kind – though less of course in degree – as the idiots from South Wales who attacked a paediatrician because the job title sounded to them like ‘paedophile’. Really.
What exactly do you suppose Nicole thinks would be the problem with using the photo? That some paedophile might get his jollies from slavering over the innocuous photo? Well he might but then again, someone else might become aroused over a photo of my bicycle. Really. Or that someone might think Nicole herself had unsavoury thoughts on seeing an image of a girl going surfing. Because as far as I can tell that would be closer to the mark.
I replied to Nicole:
The picture was taken from a public beach of people on a public beach, it’s in perfectly good taste, the people in question have their backs to the camera and can’t be identified, there’s no presumption of privacy in public and people don’t own some mysterious right to their images captured on whatever cameras may be about. Model release forms are not required by law in the UK