Strangers taking pictures of other people's kids

104 posts in this topic

I don't and didn't think it is necessarily wrong to take pictures of children playing. I was talking to a friend of mine whose father is an artist and was considering a project on the subject of joy. A suggestion was made to take pictures of kids coming out of the pantomime and he reacted with horror because he thought he'd be arrested or beaten up (in Ireland). And I really do object to that; thinking about it my problem was that the guy first didn't acknowledge me or approach me in the way I sort of expected, because I've had that happen before and not objected, but also because when he saw that I was watching what he was doing he went off somewhere else and that felt weird and creepy. But again, I am not trying to suggest he was doing anything other than taking pictures for innocent reasons, just that it was uncomfortable and I wondered what mine, my daughter's and his rights were in the situation.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me ,as a photographer, it is a big no-no unless they are a friend's kids. Then I usually do not because man then they want you to photograph them all the time.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was snapping photos one day in Lindau. I had a tidbit of fear from the possibility of being arrested or sued for taking photos of individuals. I read that people have a reasonable sense of privacy and to take a photo of someone directly without their consent would lead to problems. I approached two police officers and asked them of German law concerning photographing people. The answer was pretty much what I had heard and accepted in the States. To single out an individual or individuals, one needs their consent in written form. No hearsay allowed. If one photographs a group of people or a building with people in the foreground, all is OK because no person is the subject of the photo. Some sites will go as far as saying that if there is a recognizable face in any photo, a model release needs to be signed.

As I read here by another TT'er, it really boils down to WHAT the person intends to do with those photos. During the soccer matches last year, I took many photos of people dressed in their garb of DE support. I have approximately 700 photos of people and I have never had a release signed. Certainly, most of the photos taken were incognito or from a distance, I did do some from within 5 meters while being looked directly at.

Guess I got lucky with not having the police called. I have heard of instances where the camera was confiscated and some instances where only the photographer was asked to delete the unwanted photos.

I have now learned to play it safer. If I want to take a photo of someone directly, I ask them. If I foresee using that photo in a public forum, I have pre-printed releases in my bag....just in case.

I know this topic is of BEING photographed. Simply ask the photographer to delete photos of yourself or of the person/s you are with and call it good. We are always in the public eye so what harm is it of having your photo taken? If one is in an embarrassing situation and would not like to be displayed, remember, you will not always know your picture is being taken so don't be doing anything foolish..yeah, right!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A German friend of mine, took a night seminar on this topic recently. She told me that what she learned in her class, was that these people (taking 'random' pictures of children in the park) tend to be pedophiles that post these 'random' pictures on their website to be shared with other pedophiles. Sadly a few weeks later, she was at a park by the Nordbad and she noticed a man without children of his own taking pictures of children. Her friend called the police who did show up and took him away.

 

I would have said something to him or just called the police, especially if the person gave me a creepy feeling. I would have wanted to protect all children from being shown on the internet,

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't had time to read all the responses so not sure if it's already been suggested, but one possible response could be to take out your phone and take a picture of him.

 

Make sure he sees you. If his reasons are innocent he shouldn't mind - you're only doing the same as him after all.

 

It's worrying that 'he melted back into the crowd' when you made eye contact.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really? You resurrected a thread that's been dormant for 4 months, only to proclaim you haven't read the other posts and then make a suggestion that's already been made? :blink:

 

How did you find this thread, anyway? You must have gone looking; I'm curious what the search terms were.

 

Anyway, it's true that people get all worked up about photos of their kids being taken without their consent. I just took over a Facebook page for my daughter's elementary school, and there was uproar over the notion that anyone could post photos of kids on the page without the parents' consent or permission. (The FB page has been in existence for a few years already, but there's been no discussion or policy regarding its use until now.)

 

Though I will unquestioningly remove photos at request, I also wonder what people think is being done with blurry iPhone photos of distant, clothed children. As icky as it is, if someone is going to have a wank over kids, I'd sure rather it be done in front of a computer screen in the privacy of their own home than in a public playground.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say anything more about photos of kids, etc, but I can say something about overcautious parenting...the idea that it's better to be "safe" than sorry...

 

I don't buy it. My observations and experience tell me that every time a parent freaks out over the alleged "perv" on the street, they are, in essence, infecting their kids with their own sense of anxiety and fear. They're also training them to be antisocial and terrified of everyone around them.

 

I noticed this for the first time when I lived in CA, went to the monterrey bay aquarium and was watching the fish in one of the tanks with my man. These kids walked up, I had just spotted some unusual fish and I turned to them and said "hey, did you see that one over there? It's so cool!" and their mom leaped in, scowled "ferociously", and pulled them away in total horror as if I was brandishing a sword or napalm or something.

 

Really? REALLY?

 

The kids were in turn scared! For no good reason at all. Completely based on the reaction of the parent. Which was nutty and paranoid.

 

One of the things I love about Germany is that people are sweet and protective of their children without being freaks. I've also found it interesting that so many people here have asked me why Americans are so anxious, as a people.

 

I can imagine.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can make a statement about all Americans from the experience of ONE freak parent in California.

 

I'm a native Californian, and I talk to random kids often, if I feel so inclined. I've never had what you describe happen in CA. People who act like that probably shouldn't take their kids anywhere crowded. In fact, just stay home, and keep our freeways less congested. :lol:

 

'Stranger Danger' is taught in schools, fine, but I think it's up to the parents to talk about this with their own kids, as they see fit. Like when I said hello back to a random guy on the street who greeted us, and my kindergartener told me "don't talk to strangers!". I hadn't ever told him that, so we had a little chat. There's a difference between "hello" and "hey kid, you want some candy? I got some here in my [creepy] van."

 

edit for John: *I* don't give candy to my own kid, so damn straight no one else is, either! Except on Halloween. :P

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There shouldn´t be a difference between " hello " and " hey kid, you want some candy? ", mlovett. Sick world out there. It´s tough in Germany ( cue in the UK etc ) as a man. I should NOT be paranoid about being nice to kids in the lift etc but I AM. Funnily enough, am less paranoid in Spain but maybe it´s moving that way there, too.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

These kids walked up, I had just spotted some unusual fish and I turned to them and said "hey, did you see that one over there? It's so cool!" and their mom leaped in, scowled "ferociously", and pulled them away in total horror as if I was brandishing a sword or napalm or something.

 

My experience is that most people who talk to my kid in public will look at me for approval, or maybe to reassure me. Only if they don't have kids along, though. I talk to kids who aren't mine all the time, but I'd probably be more cautious about that if I weren't female.

 

Obviously the better thing for that mom to do would have been to walk over and join in. If you had been some sort of weirdo, she would have been asserting her own control over the situation without scaring the kids. But I do think she was probably an exception. Most American parents don't mind if you talk to their kids.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think all Americans are like this - this was definitely an extreme example! But the point remains that parents can and sometimes do go too far in the name of "protection". I've seen lots of other, less extreme incidents where the parents are clearly getting agitated and heading for code yellow (with strangers, other kids, basic life situations) in cases where there is no need. Kids definitely pick up on this and get scared/anxious themselves even though nothing actually bad was going down.

 

I'm with you cinzia regarding a productive yet still safe way to handle these situations. I have no idea what this lady was thinking...I'm a small woman with no creep factor at all (or so I've been told...unless I'm on the subway in NY). She definitely had issues.

 

Still felt really bad for those kids =(

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The problem is that we are pre-conditioned to perceive threats from outwardly weird or unusually behaving people. All the time, the vast, vast majority of child abusers are trusted, socially adept persons known to the family and child e.g. your ever so nice neighbour with a lovely wife, three kids and a dog.

 

I think it's natural to have gut-instincts, and be uncomfortable about all sorts of things. But we also have rational brains, and if we all went round acting on our gut instincts without stopping to think about things rationally, the world would be a very messy place. Well a messier place anyway.

 

I mean yes, I'd feel uncomfortable, but I my rational side would kick in and tell me I was being silly.

 

The other day in the bakery a bloke reached the sweetie jar off the counter and offered it to my son. I was not comfortable but didn't make a scene.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that friends and family are statistically more likely to abuse a child than a stranger, maybe some people should be casting their suspicious eye over anyone who takes photos at family gatherings.

 

I'm only half joking.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It´s a sick world, Anorthosite. My daughter is 23 years old. When she was about 1 year old ( in England ), I took a photo of her in the bath and sent it and other undeveloped pics to Boot´s the chemist´s to develop! My mum warned me then " oh dear, you can´t do that...people might get the wrong idea ".

 

Wrong idea?

 

I would rather top myself than do anything evil towards my daughter.

It just goes to show how sick some people are, how alienated from love.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've taken advantage of some really cool lighting while my son was in the bathtub. Of course nowadays it's all digital so the only person who sees the pics are immediate family and friends. However one of my more "anal" friends commented that she would NEVER post and email photos of her kids in that situation. I asked her "How...with soap bubbles ALL OVER them?"

I got no reply. :)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The other day in the bakery a bloke reached the sweetie jar off the counter and offered it to my son. I was not comfortable but didn't make a scene.

 

Definitely not on. The protocol is to ask the parent quietly if it's all right that kid gets a treat, and only offer if the answer is affirmative.

 

Though I had experiences in Munich pharmacies where they'd hand over hard candy to my toddler, without asking me, and tell me it was OK because it was sugar-free. Um, but not choke-free. :blink: Still, these people were only trying to be friendly, and given that unrelated people who are friendly towards little kids can be rare in Germany, I didn't like to discourage them.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another example, cinzia...I´m not surprised unrelated people are rarely friendly towards little kids here ( or UK etc ). They´re scared! It IS different in Latin countries and Africa.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were at a bus stop a while back and there was a family also waiting there who'd just been to the supermarket. My toddler was complaining about being hungry (having eaten the entire regular and emergency stash of food I keep in my bag, bless her hollow legs). The mother of the other group took a banana out of their grocery bag and gave it to my noisy girl.

 

Granted, it was probably to save her own eardrums since her own three were models of decorum, but I love living in a place where people are happy to engage with my child in such a positive way.* I don't find it weird when people do kind things for my daughter; I did find it weird when an older man was hanging about in two child-centred locations in the Auer Dult all the way back in August and taking pictures of the kids, only to fade away when he saw I was watching. I didn't fetch my pitchfork and hunt him down, but it was odd all the same.

 

Incidentally, a mummy friend of mine told a story recently where she was with her kids at a cousin's birthday party and a man walked into the house (door was open for partygoers to come in), stood in the hall and took some photos. Her husband asked who he was with and he said, I'm her grandfather, pointing at my friend's daughter. Clearly since he was a stranger he wasn't; he left sharpish when challenged. That was maybe a legitimate pitchfork situation; the one I posted in the OP was not - but it was weird to me because I didn't like that the man didn't acknowledge any parents and vanished when he was noticed. If he'd asked permission maybe I'd have given it. I've not objected when photographer friends of mine have taken her picture because they're up front about it.

 

*the flip side is that they're also happy to tell me off when she is misbehaving or only wearing three layers of clothing instead of the regulation seven.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been out and about twice recently with my daughter and a stranger has taken her picture. The 1st time was at the zoo and then again at the Christmas market. I don't really get it and it does creep me out, but I've never tried to stop them. I don't really get it. Why would people want pictures of my daughter? I mean she is out of this world cute in to me, but she can't be all that special to a stranger. She's an early walker and people have kind of be going nutty about that when we're out, so maybe it's that? I don't know. It does make me feel a little off though, not exactly sure why.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Father photographing own kids = normal

Someone photographing other people's kids because he finds them fascinating = weird

Obvious to anyone who's gut instinct is working and who isn't bending over backwards in an effort not to be criticised.

 

This thread makes me wonder if this weirdo (Henri Cartier Bresson) who took these photos of strange kinds shouldn't have been forced to destroy his pics:

post-39921-13244982646945.jpg

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now