I was shocked and saddened to receive a letter from my Sons Primary School regarding a photo I took for another parent at the Schools Nativity play in December 2013. In the letter, the Head Teacher of the School expresses her concerns about the manner in which the Photo was taken.
I attended the play as a Parent, and along with other parents, I was keen to get some photos of my child so I could record the memories visually. During the performance, another parent approached me and asked me if I could get a picture of her child who was taking part as one of the 3 Kings. As the children stood on the stage, I had a decent position and could get a half decent shot of the parents child in his costume and crown. I showed the image to the parent who then asked me for a copy of the image. When the play finished, I headed home and printed a copy of the photo for the parent.
As she has children at different schools, I had little option but to give the photo to the school office to hand to the parent when she was next in. I had put the image in an envelope and addressed it to the Child’s Mother.
In the letter received from the Head Teacher, it states “Parents/Families are allowed to take photos during school events” as long as they are for personal use. She then goes on to say “however, a Professional Photographer taking photos of an event is an entirely different matter” and requires permission of the parents and could be in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Firstly, I attended the ‘performance’ as a Parent. Despite what I do for a living, my first and foremost thought was to ensure my child knew I was there to see him. Taking photos was a secondary thought.
I noticed other parents there who were also taking pictures, some using mobile phones, tablets etc and a few using digital cameras. some Parents even recorded video of the whole performance. Whilst I understand the schools policy regarding images of children, I in no way used any image for financial gain or for promotion. I never posted the images to any website or social media site. I simply printed out one copy of one image for one parent so they could have a printed memento of their child in their Nativity Play.
Why should what I do for a living have an affect on whether I’m allowed to take images, just the same as any other parent, regardless of the tools I used to achieve that. My camera isn’t even a top of the range professional level piece of kit. It’s merely an middle of the road DSLR and I used and 18-70mm lens for the images.
This is discrimination. A right for people with camera phones, compact cameras and tablets to take pictures but the same right is denied because I am a parent who happens to be a Photographer who attended the event.
Also in the letter the Head Teacher states “As a Professional Photographer, I should have contacted a member of staff or Governor” to explain that I am a professional photographer and I should have gained permission to take photos.
This is Political Correctness gone way over the top when a parent is discriminated against because of their profession.