This Photo is Illegal!

This Photo is Illegal... Yes, this photo is illegal…. why because of security… because of 9/11 and terrorists. Yes that is what the security guard who came up to me said when he told me to stop taking photos in the QV Building. (Please note: Yes this photo was taken before I was told to stop!!!!!) The man was nice enough, he was polite enough… but I’ve got to say it gets my blood boiling. And for more than one reason. Firstly I have taken photos there before, but with my mobile phone and have never been stopped before, yet stick a high end Nikon D90 around my next and suddenly I am a terrorist. Oh for FUCKS SAKE…. grow up people.

Of course from where I took the photo I could look down and see the pub with people sitting with mobile phones most of which had cameras. Is the security guard going to stop each and every person taking photos with them. Of course not… but he stopped me and it pissed me right off.

So I wrote to centre management…. (Their reply received in under an hour in Italics)

  1. Is all photography banned? No, not all photography is banned. QV allows photography if QV has provided consent.
  2. Is it only photography with an SLR Camera? No, please see above comments.
  3. Is security the only reason for this ban? Security is one reason along with others that ensure that any images of QV are used appropriately.
  4. Do security guards monitor everyone with a mobile phone taking photos?(the reason I ask this is that I have taken photos in the space before with my mobile phone and have never been questioned about it!) QV Security’s response to any person taking a photo is the same regardless if it is with a camera or other devise.
  5. Why are there no signs highlighting the fact that no photography is allowed. There are no signs as QV does allow photography provided we approve it. I refer to our website which states:

“Filming and Photography
QV encourages filming and photography to take place within the precinct. If you wish to use the unique architecture and environment for this purpose you can enquire to: “

of course what is encourage actually means is you need the following…

  1. the url of the buildings website. (Not displayed anywhere!)
  2. the information architecture of the website (click on the “About QV at the top of the page… then click on the Services Menu then read that page… (took me some hunting”)
  3. English (at least a above rudimentary understanding)
  4. Knowledge on where to find an access to the internet.

The fact you need all of the above to be able to take a photo of the building.

The lack of signs and the security guards reaction to someone with a camera is very different.

I also wrote back to centre management after their quick reply asking them about office hours, how a tourist is meant to know about these rules and what impact they felt asking tourists to stop taking photos on a Sunday afternoon would be…. (Update – to which I recieved the following replies)

  1. What are the office hours how is the policy going to work for a tourist visiting Melbourne on a weekend who is not aware of your policy and not aware of your website. Office hours are 8am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.  If a tourist was visiting for the weekend we have an on call duty manager who security can contact to have authority given to the person depending on the situation.
  2. I write this as I am concerned that people visiting Melbourne could have their experience soured by an over officious policy that people only encounter when there is a problem.Further when one receives permission to photograph the building (in my case for personal and artistic reasons) is that on a day/event basis or an on going basis? Approval is given on a case by case basis.  Normally it would be on a day/event however if you for example had a exhibition or assignment that required multiple shots over a period of time then approval could be given for longer periods.

So these are half pregnant rules… sure we encourage you…but only after you have jumped through all the hoops above.  It is all very Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy. “The plans for the demolition of Earth have been available on Alpha Centuri for the last 5 years!”

Or another way to look at it…. If I take a photo from one of the apartments that are part of the complex looking down into the square could the security guard come in a tell me off!…  Yet if I look up at the apartments and take a photo looking up I need permission.

So they want to protect their building and their image… Unless they are aware of some terrorist threat that the rest of us have no idea about security is a load of bullshit. Of course it may be true…. at which point I recommend everyone stay well clear… for your own safety that is!

4 Responses to “This Photo is Illegal!”

  1. pretty damn stupid that the security would pick you up on this… yeah im sure that if you were doing anything suspect then you would have gone about it a bit differently in the first place… i.e.. im not sure of the building but im sure you could have driven past and taken the photo or taken it from out of sight from security… id be careful next time your walking past something must be going down.. 🙂

  2. I would be asking under what authority are they asking you to stop.
    Surely it is a public place.
    I would love to be arrested for taking an innocuous picture in a public place.
    Perhaps you could be just off their property and test their security.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. i now use google maps and google streetview these days.

    it just got too tiring for my feet to walk around and take photos of buildings i was interested in bombing.

    yours sincerely,

  4. It’s getting worse for photographers. Unfortunately the rent-a-cop security guards play a game of bluff. There’s a few websites around that can give you some advice regarding the legalities, etc. Just remember they can’t force you to delete photos you’ve taken (that’s coersion), and they can’t confiscate your equipment (that’s theft) and they can’t man-handle you (that’s assault). All they can do is ask you to leave. If you’re inside the building, it’s their right to demand you don’t take photos, or ask permission to. But if you’re on the street, snap away because it’s a public space where no-one has a right to privacy.


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