Monday, 24 March 2008

Fighting The Fascists!

Some of Manchesterphotography's top tips for avoiding CSO's

Ok so calling Community Support Officer's fascist's may be a little strong but so is calling them Community Support anything. I was giving GMP the benefit of the doubt over this whole "photographers getting hassled on the streets shit" and on the whole I still think that Proper Bobbie's aren't to bad I've only been told off once in 10 years that I can think of and to be fair the copper in question was wrestling with a particularly gobby lesbian at the time. However I do keep hearing stories about these CSO muppets including this from Ed O'Keefe. (
I feel that I know you well enough to send this email. After reading your blog / been subscribed to for the last six months or more you struck a cord with me on Tuesday. I'm subscribed to and had previous read the list of the photographers ten commandments but it was the link to the uk photographers rights that I really enjoyed /sat through reading. Then out on Wednesday night giving a lesson onnight photography to a mate we got approached by the community"support officers" in Salford Quays. We got the usual questions, left us feeling angry - we had done nothing wrong."
So having been taking pictures on the streets of Greater Manchester for over a decade and only ever being approached once (see above) I thought I would share my TOP TIPS for avoiding confrontation with ANYONE.
  1. Get a PRESS CARD these are great and make you feel dead important into the bargain. If you are a student on a photography course you can get one. If you are a grown up and supply pictures for print, web etc as a living you can get one. Now this is the thing, you have to prove that you earn the bulk of your living by doing that, however rules can always be "massaged" If you know what I mean. As you may notice mine is way out of date but still seems to fool people, although probably not now!
  2. Act like a tourist/exchange student. Note this technique should only be used in Town/Salford Quays used in certain area's of our fair city may, no will result in a mugging. You will need a rucksack, a camera pouch "sensible" shoes or naff trainers, anorak and either a really silver compact or ridiculously expensive SLR.
  3. Use an old camera. I used a Minolta Autocord 6x6 for years, people would just smile and make comments like "ah a real camera. It changes you from a weird photographer into a vintage car enthusiast type, and no one thinks of a terrorist in an Austin Heeley.
  4. Ask yourself do I really need that whistle & bells half ton of SLR. It draws attention and on the whole the general public hate photographers. They think we are either paedophiles or paparazzi, or both. Chances are that unless you are trying to record Ronaldo firing one past the scouser's or Jordon's arse, a quality compact would make more sense.
  5. Dress like a Scally/thug. This will ensure that CSO's will avoid you like a shit in a swimming pool. The last thing they want is some scally who knows they have no power's to start shouting "wot you goin to do knobhead" This approach is also useful when photographing around them dodgy area's I mentioned, but please only use a compact, loose the rucksack and for fucks sake don't let them think your from the social!

N.B manchesterphotography takes NO responsibility if any of the above advice leads to arrest or beatings.

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