Worth a look: Chloé Meunier’s Afro-Carribean London

Chloé Meunier wrote in to share her interesting project about the Afro-Carribean community in London. The work is the product of 3 years of photographing people and events in the community. It’s still a bit raw, but offers fascinating insight into how these people fit into life in the UK. I asked her to explain the project a little, and this is what she had to say below. English isn’t her native language, but the ideas are interesting:

“This reportage is the result of three years spent in London, among African and Caribbean communities, in places such as churches or street parades, but also in other places. Those people were kind enough to share a moment of their life. Nothing was really planned. The result is a portrait Africans and Caribbean natives in the English landscape.

“The fact of mixing them in a reportage could belittle them. Why should I group Afro-Carribean people who may not feel linked together as strongly as some other communities? I suppose this could European heritage from colonialism that mutated to Euro-centrism. In this particular case, I was trying to understand the results of a ‘living together’ between different cultures different backgrounds.

“Everyone mixes cultures in some way. It is an individual process and each person has their own way. What we do, what we don’t do to individualize ourselves… this shows that it is an individual’s relation to his or her environment or its perception. Anyone can see his or her own culture transcendence in relation to other people, and then they will link together.

“More generally, I felt that each person can develop answer or retorts, regarding his or her relation to the environment, but the unhooking bound to the individual time such as the sickness, send us back to our unity which is the peculiarity of the existing.

“So this project is about perception more than concept. I never thought to link the pictures I was taking to one another at the time I was taking them. I was just concentrating on each portrait of people or group or situation, and also on my own question regarding how to represent who or what was in front of me, that is the person and his or her relation to the world and life. At the same time I thought about how society and history can affect or influence each person and my own perception of what was happening in front of me.

“I also talked with the people in my pictures, trying to know a bit more about them. I didn’t do this in order to tell a story afterward, but just to learn about them. I have also been careful not to theorize on what I’ve seen and photographed, and I hope I haven’t done that here.”

Some of these pictures have been published or exhibited, including at the Hackney Central Museum in London and in Fototazo. Be sure to check out Chloé’s website for more pictures and other projects. Also, check out her collective Essenci’Elles, which focuses on photographing the feminine world. There’s some great work there, too.

2012 London Olympics: ridiculous photography and social media restrictions

“On a very literal reading of the terms and conditions, there’s certainly an argument that the IOC could run that you wouldn’t be able to post pictures to Facebook. … It would appear that if you or I attended an event, we could only share our photos with our aunties around the kitchen table.” -Paul Jordan, legal adviser on Olympics-related regulations to sponsor and non-sponsor businesses, speaking to the Guardian

The 2012 London Olympics have been dubbed the first “social” Olympics, whatever that means. But, don’t be misguided and think that means spectators can post their photos and videos to facebook, or that athletes can tweet about their competition. There a whole host of restrictions on what sort of imagery, branding, and tweeting can and can’t be shared from the upcoming summer Olympics. Tickets to the Games state, ““Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the Internet more generally.” Olympic officials admit that these photo restrictions imposed on spectators are “unenforceable,” but they remain in place to protect organizations who have purchased media rights to the coverage. And in line with laws such as the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995 and the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, “branding police” will also be deployed in the Olympic Village to cover up the logos of companies that are not official sponsors of the games and make sure that non-affiliated companies don’t use the Olympics to drum up business. To report violations of any of these restrictions, there’s a website (inaccessible to the public) available to people involved in the Olympics that would fit right at home in Orwell: Olympic Games Monitoring.

Stand Your Ground – photographers push the right to photograph on London’s streets

We’ve covered photographers being treated as criminals previously (and look at Photography is Not a Crime, or Thomas Hawk’s collection of related posts), and now some photographers in London are pushing back against illegal limitations on photographers. In the video above–skip to 1:15 for the actual video–six photographers took to the streets of London to take pictures on public space. All six were approached by guards asking them to stop taking pictures for “security reasons” or because of concerns over terrorism. Three of the incidents elevated to police involvement, but happily, the police stated that the photographers were all allowed to continue taking pictures. In one case, the photographer thanks the police officer for not asking to see or delete the photos, and the officer responds that not only was he not interested in doing so, but he couldn’t because he didn’t have reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing. The video was apparently produced as part of the London Street Photography Festival 2011.

In the US, there’ve been some recent run-ins between Transportation Security Administration officials in airports and photographers wanting to take pictures or video of security screening areas. Here’s one video that a videographer rescued from his camera after police forced him to delete his video, and here’s another couple of videos that brought attention on the TSA blog about whether security screening areas can be photographed. The TSA blog outlines the current regulations regarding photography at TSA checkpoints, thus: “We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors.”

The NPPA has also recently pushed the issue with the TSA and gotten an official response from Margot Bester, Principle Deputy of the TSA’s Office of Chief Counsel, dated 22 June 2011 (pdf copy of letter). Here’s the relevant passage from that letter: “…TSA’ s goal is to protect passenger’s rights, including the right to record at passenger screening checkpoints, while ensuring that passenger screening operations can take place in an effective and efficient manner.”

The NPPA also points to the Department of Homeland Security’s official bulletin on rules and laws regarding photographing federal facilities in the US, which includes the statement that “officers should not seize the camera or its contents and must be cautious not to give such ‘orders’ to a photographer to erase the contents of a camera, as this constitutes a seizure or detention.”

Also, for photographers in the US, be sure to know your rights. There’s a handy pdf at that link that you can print out and keep in your wallet or camera bag.

“After stopping the car I noticed that he was shabbily dressed, needed a shave and a haircut, also a bath. Subject talked with a foreign accent. I talked to the subject a few minutes and looked into the car where I noticed it was heavily loaded with suitcases, trunks and a number of cameras.” –from the police report of the arrest of Robert Frank in Arkansas on Nov. 7, 1955

And all of this is nothing new. Here’s a story in the Telegraph that starts out with an account of Robert Frank getting hassled by police in Arkansas while photographing The Americans, and here is the arrest report.