October 23, 2004
Friday night at Foxton's

These fun photos was taken by me last night, as I walked from Sloane Square along the Kings Road towards Perry de Havilland's, for a party, which puts time-of-taking at around 7pm. The premises in which all these young chaps and chapesses were gathered was Foxton's, the estate agents. Click to see them bigger.

What were they there for? My guess would be that they were Foxtonians who were about to be dosed with some Foxtonian propaganda about how to sell houses for more than people want to pay and for less than people want to charge, and that after that they would be having a party of their own. They certainly seemed cheerful enough.

FoxtonsS.jpg

Collectively, they responded much as these ladies of fond memory did. That is, as soon as I decided that there was a photograph to be taken here, they started playing up to my camera, even though it was only my tiny little Canon A70. I myself made no secret whatever of my photographic intentions. I stood proud in front of their window, grinning at them much as they grinned at me. Once again, my tiny camera proved its worth be being in my pocket when I needed it for the simple reason that I now never go out without it. Obviously I had it with me this time for my party later, but the principle still applies. Were I the owner only of a bigger camera, I might not have bothered taking that even to my party.

(Actually that is quite plausible. It does occur to me that silly little digital cameras like mine are party fun cameras, but that big heavy cameras are big and heavy, and not proper party-machines for photo-ing party-animals. Too serious. It's like you've come as A Photographer, rather than as a party-animal yourself, who just happens to have one of these stupid toys on him.)

As often happens on occasions like this, I took quite a few photos, but the first was, I think, the best. Technically it is no great shakes (although that of course is the exact wrong expression to describe what happened), but humanly, I like it a lot.

I took some closer-ups, but then did a final panorama, reproduced below, by which time they seemed to have calmed down a little. No doubt if I had snapped away for another two minutes they would have reverted to a state of nature.

Foxtons2s.jpg

I then proceeded to my party, where I finally remembered to ask David Carr, my friend and fellow Samizdatista, and more to the point my fellow-contributor here, about the law of taking photos without the consent of the photoed and then (b) shoving them up on the Internet.

That's now illegal, apparently. It used not to be in Britain, but now there has been a Euro-Directive and there is now someone called the "Information Commissioner" to whom you can complain about this, and the photoer can then be fined.

But crowd scenes, whatever exactly that means, are okay, Daivd said. which means that I'm hoping that these pix don't break any law. And more to the point, someone has to complain, and I'm guessing none of these people will. Plus, there are no snide captions sneering at any individual, plus I'm not making any money. Plus, if anyone complains to me first, the pictures will come down from here at once, with no further questions asked, on netiquette as well as legal grounds.

Nevertheless, I do want to know more about these photo-ing and Internetting laws, if only to do a posting at that CNE intellectual property blog I write for, that I linked to above and which both I and David write for. Anyone know of any blogs/sites where this stuff is explained?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 04:14 PM
Category: Photography