There was a very interesting article published in today’s edition of The Age newspaper. You can find the article online here … http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/photography-bans-leave-ordinary-life-out-of-the-picture-20101017-16p0v.html
Penned by senior writer, Geoff Strong, the article exposed the ongoing “war against photography” that is being mounted in places such as Kakadu, Uluru and at various Sydney landmarks. And as the article also mentioned, by a crank ranger at Victoria’s Point Nepean National Park who about a year ago ordered a DSLR-toting visitor to leave the Cape Schanck area because the photographer had a camera which looked vaguely professional and professional photography just wasn’t allowed in the park without a permit.
The article allowed online comments and most of them were from people who took the view that permits for “professional” photographers were a complete overstepping of the mark by the Victorian government, or in particular, by Parks Victoria. I say most of the online comments took that view – of course there were a couple of trolls who seemed to think that “freedom of expression” was a concept worth discarding.
One of these trolls was someone who called herself, “Click Click”. According to “Click Click”, she was one of many, many photographers who had sold images of national parks for profit. And on that basis she didn’t think it was unreasonable at all that Parks Victoria had a permit system for professional photographers.
“Parks Victoria are land managers who look after land that belongs to the public, to us all. So is it really fair that someone can come on to public land, pay nothing and make a profit? No.”
But why not, Click Click? After all, if it is public land that belongs to all of us, then it equally belongs to the photographers as well. You might find this strange, Click Click but I don’t levy a fee on myself for taking photographs in my own house (or expect the government to impose one on me either), so why should it apply when I visit a national park in Victoria?
Fortunately, other people who left comments at The Age web page, did take Click Click and the smattering of other apologists for Parks Victoria to task. Tom from Sydney, noted that “Australians should be truly frightened at these ‘nanny state’ control freaks.” While Marcosss from Melbourne made the point that this mindless policy of Parks Victoria deserved nothing less than contempt.
“The only way that these laws can be overturned is by them being constantly challenged. If you are a serious artist or enthusiast you ignore the calls to not take the photograph and insist that they call in the police. The police seldom attend as they are way to busy fighting real crime. I have challenged these would be Nazis in the past and managed to get my shots and walk away. I will continue to do so until asked not to by the police and then I will take it to court. I implore all photographers to do the same. We are being treated like children by an authoritarian bureaucracy hell bent on making us all compliant, insipid drones. Not for me, I refuse to give up my basic rights for the sake of pointless policy.”
However Click Click was having nothing none of this. When it was pointed out to her that Victoria had the equivalent of a Bill of Rights (the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities from 2006) and that this guaranteed freedom of expression, she swung back into action revealing her true colours as a control freak.
“Your entries clearly demonstrate the ‘it’s my right and I’ll do what I want’ mentality that a lot of professional photographers unfortunately have. So all that blether about freedom of expression, human rights etc. etc. is just that, blether.”
Actually, the word is blather, not blether but the notion that people should lose their individual rights when they step inside a national park – which is what Click Click was supporting – is truly retrograde in the extreme. It’s so 1984! Mind you, Click Click was probably the sort of person who when she was at school made sure that the teacher knew that some people in the class hadn’t handed their homework in on time.
What’s the word that springs to mind when I think of people like her? “Tittle tat” I think.