Outrage o’ the DAY: Dad Branded ‘Perv’ For Photographing Own Kids in Park

Folks — it doesn’t get any creepier than this: teieibhtkn
A dad in Britain takes pix of his adorable sons on an inflatable slide and finds himself accused of all manner of disbusting stuff. Can we say it again? We are in the midst of a Pedophile Panic!

When Gary Crutchley started taking pictures of his children playing on an inflatable slide he thought they would be happy reminders of a family day out.

But the innocent snaps of seven-year-old Cory, and Miles, five, led to him being called a ‘pervert’.

The woman running the slide at Wolverhampton Show asked him what he was doing and other families waiting in the queue demanded that he stop.

Gary Crutchley pic of sons Cory and Miles

Picture of innocence: The photograph Gary Crutchley took of his sons Cory and Miles

One even accused him of photographing youngsters to put the pictures on the internet.

Mr Crutchley, 39, who had taken pictures only of his own children, was so enraged that he found two policemen who confirmed he had done nothing wrong.

Let’s hear it for the police…and sanity! — Lenore

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53 Responses to Outrage o’ the DAY: Dad Branded ‘Perv’ For Photographing Own Kids in Park

  1. Heycameraman September 10, 2009 at 3:25 am #


  2. liberrian September 10, 2009 at 3:31 am #

    Seems more a sexist thing to me–what are the chances that a woman would be asked to stop photographing a bunch of kids? It’s assumed that women with kids are moms and men with kids are perverts.

  3. Stephanie September 10, 2009 at 3:54 am #

    I agree with liberrian. I doubt a woman would be told the same thing.

    This is why dads have such a hard time doing things with their kids. I know a few stay at home dads, and they tend to be viewed with suspicion any time they take their own kids to the park. It’s ridiculous how hard it can be for men to be caring fathers with these sorts of attitudes.

  4. tacky September 10, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    Well, let’s not get too outraged. It sounds like this accusation came from exactly one nutty woman and went nowhere, which is a good thing. It just goes to show that there is hope. More reasonable views can prevail.

  5. Lafe September 10, 2009 at 4:15 am #

    This sort of thing has happened to me personally.

    I attended a holiday play sort of thing at my son’s school, and had my camera with me. A friend of mine who is a parent of another student saw my camera and said she had forgotten hers, and asked me if I would mind taking a few pictures of her daughter while I was at it (my son’s best female friend – these people are well known to us). I assured her that I’d be happy to do so, and didn’t think anything of it.

    After the event I was approached by the principal of the school. A concerned parent had seen me taking photos when my son wasn’t on stage! I was warned not to take photos of anyone that wasn’t my child, because “times have changed”! How is that even possible when thirty or more kids might be on stage at once?

    I noticed that none of the dozens of mothers there were similarly approached and chastised. The “concerned parent” must have only been monitoring men that day.

    I attend fewer events at that school now, and I never bring a camera.

    Ridiculous. It’s like racial profiling, but against men based on gender.

  6. Nicola September 10, 2009 at 4:22 am #

    People just need to go extinct. It’s just easier on us all. *eye roll*

  7. KateNonymous September 10, 2009 at 4:23 am #

    Although I have never lived in the U.K., I hear that this kind of attitude is on the rise–and increasingly codified–there.

    I’m all for protecting kids, but I don’t think that we should presume guilt in this way.

  8. Karen September 10, 2009 at 4:34 am #

    My husband is a stay at home dad and often feels like the “odd man out” at play groups and in mom circles. Though our 4-year old son has many friends in his pre-school class there are only two or three moms who invite him to their coffee circles, play dates and neighborhood park excursions. We truly believe that this is because of the unfounded fear that men who deal with children must be perverts and pedophiles. This sort of attitude also discourages men from entering the teaching field and is why we currently have a shortage of male teachers in all grades. Outrageous! Completely profiling based on sex and a sad state of our society now. Such a beautiful photo of those boys being turned into something sinister. Where does it end?

    PS. I love this site, check it out every day and when my 4 year old is a bit older, he WILL be walking to our worderful neighborhood park to play without adult supervision.

  9. Dot Khan September 10, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    This goes beyond FRKs.
    Photographers are put under a lot of unnecessary suspicion from various vague threats they may pose.
    My brother is a professional cameraman that has had access to some very secure areas while working with Homeland Security in the NYC area.
    A local police officer gave him a $75.00 ticket for using his $20,000.00 video camera to record a time lapse of a sunset from a bridge. A cell phone camera would be a lot easier to find out where the bridge could be sabotaged.
    The cop thought the numbers on his Sudoku puzzle were from a terrorist code book.

  10. David September 10, 2009 at 4:58 am #

    I’ve recently taken up photography as a *very* minor hobby, and this sort of potential accusation is always on the forefront of my mind when I’m out and about and there are children around. I’ve never been asked to stop, or (to my knowledge) observed with suspicion, but I believe it is just a matter of time.

    In this case, it was just one woman wielding the “pervert” label, and the slide staff apparently bowed out. But tomorrow it will be two. Then three. Then four. Unless this growing paranoia is countered with reason (which will become increasingly difficult as paranoia continues to mount), criminalizing the mere act of observing your own child while others are around isn’t too far away.

    Freedom is not free.

  11. MFA Grad September 10, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    @ Dot Khan – if that wasn’t a personal anecdote, I could have sworn you were quoting a parody from The Onion. Sudoku mistaken for terrorist code?!? I am both vastly amused and horrified. On second thought, maybe you should submit that for publication!

    I count myself as a staunch feminist, but this gender-based discrimination in which it’s apparently acceptable to assume a man paying attention to kids MUST be a pedophile (itself based on taking “better safe than sorry” to an extreme) really ticks me off. My brother was a stay-at-home dad for the first few years of his daughter’s life and boy howdy, did he have a fun time taking her out to the park or to the mall during the day when the majority of parents out there with kids were moms. You’d think that with all the hand-wringing about getting men more involved in child-rearing, those women would have been thrilled to see a dad taking primary responsibility for his child (and loving it), but oh no! It was all suspicious stares and uncomfortable greetings and even once they got to know him, it went from suspicion to derision (as in, “a REAL man would be out working so that his wife could be at home with the kid”).

    On the one hand, my brother said it gave him a much deeper appreciation of the crap women have to deal with (“if you stay at home with you’re a lazy mother who will smother her kid!” but “if you go to work you’re a selfish mother who neglects her kid!”). On the other hand, it was still immensely frustrating because he felt like he just couldn’t win. I’d been trying to get him to see why women have such a love-hate relationship with motherhood for years, but it really stinks that he had to go through that to get my point.

    At least the police officers in this case were sensible enough to recognize the situation for what it was: idiocy.

  12. LS September 10, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    If I were accused like the father I would immediately turn it around and tell the accuser that *they* are the perverts for thinking of such a thing. And I would definitely be raising my voice.

    The burden of proof is on them.

  13. Rachel Coleman Finch September 10, 2009 at 5:44 am #

    MFA Grad: I’m a feminist too. I think “this gender-based discrimination in which it’s apparently acceptable to assume a man paying attention to kids MUST be a pedophile” is actually profoundly antifeminist. It reinforces the idea that childcare is primarily/only for women and makes it harder for fathers to take on a fair share of the work involved. So it’s bad for men and women .. and not exactly great for children either.

  14. ostrich September 10, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    Ridiculous, I agree. Though I do find amusing the juxtaposition of the quote, “One even accused him of photographing youngsters to put the pictures on the internet,” right below the picture of the youngsters here on the internet.

  15. Katie September 10, 2009 at 5:59 am #

    @Karen, the reason why your husband may not have gotten as many invites out as a woman would have doesn’t have to be about viewing all men as potential predators. I participate in a large playgroup and we have 3 dads who are members (out of a total of 10 families). I adore these guys and love what they add to the group dynamic, but I’ve noticed that some of the other moms in the group keep it very “buttoned down” when the men are present and are more apt to “let it all hang out” when it’s just the moms. Some women like a women-only space to socialize. Not that I’m saying playgroups are primarily about parent socialization, but it is a factor for some people.

  16. Gabe September 10, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    Wow. I don’t know how to properly express how insane this is. It’s like any man with a camera is an insta-perv. My female photographer friends don’t ever have a problem snapping photos of children – yet I actively avoid doing so for this very reason.

    This is a big WTF!!!

  17. Jocelyn Hooge September 10, 2009 at 6:28 am #

    Oh my goodness!! Well, if this is perverted I am in HUGE trouble!!! PIctures at the beach, in the tub, at the park, sleeping…just to name a few situations in which MY children have been photographed BY ME, their MOTHER, over the last 9 years! Honestly I think people need to get a life….obviously they don’t have enough to do in their day-to-day lives and so they spend their time thinking up crap like this! I know I am so busy that when I do get a chance to take my kids to the park, I am certainly NOT wasting my time thinking about the motives of that other person over yonder with a camera. I’m too busy enjoying watching my children enjoy themselves. Geez people! Get a grip on REALITY! Hmmmmm…..I wonder….do they have “Reality pills” for people who need to check back into it???

  18. Wendy H September 10, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    When my daughter was a year and half I took her to the kindergarten playground at the nearby elementary school (the normal park playground was simply too big for her). I was taking several pictures of her playing by herself and with the kindergarten who came out and thought she was coolest thing since sliced bread when a teacher told me it was “illegal” to take pictures of her if other children were in them without their parents permission. I rolled my eyes and put the camera away then later confirmed that while it may be a school policy (I never found out on that) it’s definitely NOT illegal.

  19. Alida September 10, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    I’m just so glad he didn’t get arrested:)

  20. Tobias September 10, 2009 at 6:50 am #

    This is actually part of why I refuse to take photos of my niece unless her mother is around. I love the girl to bits and she adores getting her picture taken, but I get enough dirty looks just taking her out for the day. That’s even leaving out the interference from “concerned parents” when my partner and I are both watching her. Two men with a little girl apparently screams “paedophile”.

  21. Dr. Dre September 10, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    As a father who is constantly taking pictures of my kids and is often out on my own with them, I think backing off when someone shoots you a dirty look or goes so far as to accuse you of being a perv is exactly the wrong thing to do. If nothing else it lends credence to their incorrect assumption that you’re somehow doing something wrong. You don’t have to get in their face about it but merely explaining who you are and what the photos will (and won’t) be used for seems to calm a lot of erroneously frayed nerves.

  22. Not a pervert September 10, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    And this sort of thing is why, of the 30,000 or so photos I’ve taken in the past four years, maybe a dozen show identifiable people, and none portray children. People might look at you funny if you spend five minutes composing a picture of a flower, but at least they’re not assuming you’re doing so for nefarious purposes.

  23. Random September 10, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    I am a total shutterbug, I have been known to take 400+ pictures just people watching while my teenager is out on the river for practice.

    Recently we had a heatwave, and downtown at the waterfront park, is a fountain designed for the kids (and adults) to play in. I took a boatload (haha) of pictures of men, women and children in various moments of play. Sure, a few kids (anyone who appears to be under 18 is classified as kid for photgraphic purposes) had saggy bottoms that I caught by accident. I snap pictures without focus several times in a row to see what I catch. THOSE photos, I delete as soon as I see them. If I catch a really good shot of someone or their child, I like to approach them to see if they’d like it emailed or something.

    I’ve never been accused of any wrong doing, and after reading this I wonder if its truly because I am a woman and thus perceived as “safe” around kids.

  24. Kimberly September 10, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Ok Lets see

    1. I was accused of having child porn on my computer because all pictures of kids on a computer are child porn. I was working at a children’s museum and the accuser was a volunteer. The same volunteer was bound and determined the secular meant religious – and accused me of forging the dictionary when I showed her the entry. – yea I can run tissue thin paper through a printer and insert it into a fancy grown up dictionary seemlessly.

    2. I about took the head off someone who accuse my coworker of being a pervert because why else would a man teach elementary school – it isn’t like it is a real job like coaching.

    3. One time I did ask a news crew to stop filming a group of my students – But I had 3 – 4 foster kids, 2 adopted (unrelated) with unstable birth parents trying to make contact, and several with flags on their files because 1 parent had custody the other had rights terminated due to abuse. (This isn’t an unusual mix for my school, we deal with a good number of abused kids. In part because we are one of the schools that gets kids from the abused women’s shelter)

  25. ella September 10, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    My daughter is blind. My husband and I took her shopping for clothes at Kohls. I went in the dressing room with her and my husband brought us clothes to the doorway of the children’s changing room hall. One of the sales ladies yelled at him telling him he couldn’t go in the changing hall. I guess she thinks that no father would ever shop for clothes with his kids. I was really angry. Most fathers love their kids and take good care of them. This paranoia makes me crazy.

  26. Marta September 10, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    When my husband was out with our son, he started to throw a tantrum. Some lady tried to get him away from my husband telling him ” come over here, I will help you.” It was as if she had never seen a child have a tantrum before and the only possible reason he could be crying was because his dad was a perv. It is so insulting to men.

  27. MFA Grad Student September 10, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    @ Rachel – I totally agree with you – this automatic suspicion of men with children hurts both men & women for the reason you’ve stated, as well as others. If feminism is about women gaining equality with men, then men being stay-at-home dads should be supported in their choice just as much as women choosing to return to the workforce after giving birth. It’s profoundly sad that so many fathers, uncles, grandfathers and other male relatives have to deal with this suspicion just because they are men and in our culture, no matter how much progress has been made, the majority of people are still nonplussed to see men in caretaker roles. Neither women nor men are going to be able to make much progress towards equality, and kids are going to keep losing out, until we quit making snap judgments based on gender.

  28. MaeMae September 10, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    @Karen – Another reason your husband may not get invited is because some of the other women’s husbands may not be comfortable with another man hanging around. I read an article recently about military families where the mothers are deployed and this is the problem their husbands faced.

    This incident was ridiculous. I am so glad that the police officers responded appropriately. I have never once looked a man with a camera and wondered what he was doing. Besides, so what if he was taking pictures to post online? My Facebook page is full of pictures of my kiddos.

  29. Susan September 10, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    When I was little, my father had to travel internationally a lot for work. He would be gone for weeks at a time. He would sometimes visit parks, playgrounds and other places that kids congregate to take photos. He would later show these as part of slide shows he gave to schoolchildren in our town about particular countries they were studying. He said that kids like to see what kids their age do and look like in other countries. These slides would catch their attention.

    I also remember him telling us that sometimes on weekends when he had been away from home for a long time and would be really missing his family, he would go to a park and watch the families play. It made him feel closer to us. At the time he told this to me I was about 8, and it made me feel good that he was thinking about me when he was gone (no Internet then). But now as I write this, it sounds kind of slimy to me. But he’s my dad. I lived with him for 21 years. I KNOW he’s not a pervert, so probably most others watching aren’t either.

  30. phdinparenting September 10, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    That is ridiculous and makes me sad and worried for my husband, who is a loving stay-at-home dad to our two children.

    I have unfortunately noticed some of our kids friends being hesitant to bring their kids over for play dates when I am not going to be there. As if these mothers assume that my husband is going to abuse their children or somehow put the moves on them if they decide to stay with their kids.

  31. Andrew Kovacs September 10, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    One thing I’d like to add is that while the police intervened and said that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, had he been taking pictures of anyone’s kid that wasn’t his (and professional photographers will frequently do this in a crowd), then he could easily have gone to jail. So it

    I believe to legally take a picture of someone else’s child, even at a public event, even if they’re in the background, you need permission from their parents. Even then, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for a busybody to get them in trouble, as this story illustrates. Perhaps some Brit would care to correct me if I’m wrong here?

  32. Randy September 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Andrew: Even in the UK it’s not illegal (http://curly15.wordpress.com/2008/04/19/miliband-on-photography/ ) to take pictures of children in public, even if they aren’t yours. No permission from parents needed at all… although what is defined as a “public space” might be a little blurry sometimes, and it’s usually just easier to stop if some hyper-sensitive person asks you to. Publishing those pictures, though, that is a different story and can get quite tricky legally.

    Am I the only one that thinks this story is absolutely hilarious (as well as being face-palm worthy)? The UK has more video surveillance of her people than any other nation on earth, manned by god-knows-who, and this person freaked out when someone took pictures at an amusement park? Wow!

    I guess the take-home lesson here is this: If you’re a pedophile, just have a nice long scream at the first person you see with a camera. After that you’re beyond reproach and can continue your nefarious deeds.

  33. Meagan September 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Ok, just because I want to be a jerk:

    “One even accused him of photographing youngsters to put the pictures on the internet.”

    I MUST point out that the photo IS in fact on the Internet.


    So obviously the woman was right. The guy must be a pervert. Along with everyone on this site looking at that vile photograph. You should all be ashamed.

    Seriously though, as a hobby photographer this sort of thing makes me very worried. I HAVE taken photos of other people’s kids without asking, because I see a good candid shot and there’s just not time. I have a fantastic photo of a little girl getting her face painted, and as I play with the idea of trying to become a payed artist, I have to consider whether I can include it on my online portfolio.

  34. Sander de Regt September 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Okay, I probably getting a lot of flak for this, but so what IF the man had been a pervert? The thought that someone might be getting aroused by looking at a picture of your kid is disgusting, I admit. But as long as the person who makes the photographs doesn’t actually harass children, or make them do things they’re uncomfortable with etc. what is the big deal?
    There are people who are foot/shoe fetishists, should we close all shoe stores, so the perverts won’t get their kick?
    People can take pictures of trees, flowers, houses, bridges….and even people, because they think they look beautiful. As in beauty, as something to appreciate without the need of Kleenex, why shouldn’t they able to take pictures of children?

  35. Charles September 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    @Sander de Regt:
    I tend to agree with things like that, if a person is not actually harming someone then let them be. However your comparison of someone who has a foot fetish to someone with a kid fetish is a little off.
    If someone has a foot fetish the only thing you have to fear is that they may want to suck your toes. I don’t think foot fetishists are often caught hacking someone’s foot off and running off with it.
    Unfortunately there is some truth to the notion that people who are aroused by images of children will often find there compulsion escalating to more direct and physical forms of abuse.
    If someone is a photographer and taking pictures to show kids at play or some such thing, then there is no problem, it is when compulsion and arousal enter then game that is becomes dangerous.

  36. Andrew Kovacs September 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Randy: Thanks for clearing that up for me. I had a little trouble finding exactly what the law was on that. Though it seems to me that even if it’s legal, you could still get harassed and questioned about taking pictures so it has a chilling effect as many people would rather not deal with the hassle, much as the person in the story has learned.

  37. Andy in Germany September 11, 2009 at 12:22 am #

    This isn’t new in the UK: There are many cases of people taking pictures being harrassed, arrested and generally mistreated by bystanders and the police for photographing children, vintage busses and even old buildings.

  38. mammatiamat September 11, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    Well here I am to be the odd one out again. I don’t see the outrage here as he was not arrested and basically, all he had was an upsetting interaction with one person. Freedom means that other people are free to have opinions you don’t like, and even to tell you about them. Maybe if he had been carted off and given a polygraph I could see the outrage, but nothing happened here but a bad day. Without authorities backing her up, the woman is just a person with an opinion. People get to have opinions that make you uncomfortable, folks. I mean what, do you want to be sheltered and protected from that, like a “helicopter parent”?

    And I will say that as the parent of two red-headed blue-eyed daughters, I’ve had to deal with uncomfortable situations of men taking photos of them without my permission and even sneaking around to do so. And I do call them out on it. Is it against the law for them to do it? Maybe not. But it’s definitely RUDE. And again, if they want the kind of free society where they can snap pictures of whoever and whatever they want, they also get the kind of free society where I can say “put that damn iPhone down and leave my daughter alone” with impunity.

    My daughters, folks? THEY ARE PEOPLE. They are not a scenic route or a historic building. When you get down in the face of a PERSON to take their photo, it is RUDE unless you have their permission to do so. They are not objects and if you think it is “chilling” to be asked what the hell you are doing photographing them, well think of how “chilling” it must be to realize that already at the age of three you are seen as an OBJECT and not a PERSON. A pretty thing which everyone has a “right” to comment on, touch, photograph, and harrass. Not fun.

    And yes, if I can’t tell you are with a particular group of kids and you are standing at the end of the slides (!) snapping photos I will ask you what you are doing. And ask that you do not photograph my children if you are doing so, and that if you have already done so that you destroy the image while I watch.

    If you don’t like that, maybe go photograph dogs instead of people. Dogs don’t have those annoying dissenting opinions that you would so love to silence in the name of your precious “freedom.”

  39. anonymousblob September 11, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    I seem to remember a case a few years ago where a man was caught after trying to suck on a woman’s toes in a shoe store. I believe he’d done it several time, and finally ended his run of good luck.

  40. Kari September 11, 2009 at 2:46 am #

    I agree, this was one person that was upset over something trivial. I have this happen on a weekly basis as a mother of two special needs children. I have had curse words, horrible looks, terrible parenting advice, and naysayers all over me for y children’s very real and very hard special needs actions. I would just ignore them unless they got the law involved. Say “thanks” turn and snap more pictures of your children. If they want to freak out, let them go get the cop.

    I have really gotten a thicker skin over the opinions, words, and actions of strangers.

  41. MFA Grad September 11, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    @mammatiamat – I don’t think anyone’s disputing your right as a parent to request that people not take photos of your children (or at least ask permission first). Of course freedom goes both ways, and as long as you’re polite in making your requests that someone not photograph your children/delete photos they have taken, I don’t see the harm; if your request is met with rudeness or hostility, then you are within your rights to respond appropriately. I’m an editor and at my publication, we’re very careful about using pictures featuring children (making sure any applicable permissions and release forms have been obtained, etc., although honestly that usually applies to both adult & child photo subjects), so I understand where your impulse comes from.

    However, what I believe most of us are objecting to is the growing assumption that people taking photos of children (sometimes their own, sometimes not), especially men, must be up to no good, which in turn generates overreactions like those of the woman mentioned in the article. It creates a pervasive atmosphere of fear and suspicion and is blatantly sexist against men. The fact that a parent had to bring over the police to explain that there was nothing wrong with him taking photos of his own kids is ludicrous. Looking out for your children is part of a parent’s job, but there is something wrong when people see an adult (especially a male) with a camera around children and immediately think that person might be a pedophile. What if it’s another parent or a photojournalist or an amateur shutterbug or even a photography student taking well-meaning, innocent photos? I have a habit of keeping my digital camera with me in case I see something I want to shoot and occasionally I’ll get shots with both adults & kids walking through that sometimes I’d like to keep because the exposure or composition is great, but if a parent were to come up and ask me – politely – to erase any pictures in which their children are identifiably visible, I would understand why and do so. Hell, I’d do so even if they were rude, but I wouldn’t be nearly as nice about it because how could I not be insulted if that parent acted as if I was purposefully taking pics of their kids for untoward reasons? That kind of behavior is also rude and uncalled for.

    My point is that while you are within your rights to care for your children as you see fit – and you are right, children are PEOPLE, not objects, although frankly I’ve seen parents treating their own children as if they were ignorant of that fact, but that’s a whole different problem – please don’t succumb to the hysterical fear that anyone you don’t know with a camera around kids MUST be a pervert and therefore needs to be treated as such.

    On a totally unrelated note, love the screenname – I’m a D&D/ancient mythology geek and get a kick out of seeing women use the name “Tiamat” – perfect for a fierce mother.

  42. Michelle September 11, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    People freak out over stupid shit all the time. I see it alot when I am out with my man. There’s a little indoor park in a mall we go to, and parents are able to sit inside, but when I say little, I mean more than 5 kids and it’s crowded. A few times we have gone, and no others kids were there, so it was just my son, and my man went in and played with him, chased him around the rubber/foamy slide(yeah, really). People who walked by gave him some nasty fucking looks, it was sad. Once I asked him to change out sons diaper while I had to go pee, so I asked him to go to the family room, and he refused. He’s done it many times before, but I guess someone made him uncomfortable about it the last time.

    while here, I dunno where to send it, cbcnews.ca had an article about safety and school zones.


    from the article:

    “Some of the examples of dangerous behaviour the CAA says its specialists witnessed include:

    A minivan arriving at school with the side door already open to allow a child to get out faster.
    A school bus driving too fast and letting children out without putting on the warning lights.
    Two children seated without seatbelts in the front seat of a car, their faces right up against the windshield because they are wearing backpacks. ”


  43. Uly September 11, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Well here I am to be the odd one out again. I don’t see the outrage here as he was not arrested and basically, all he had was an upsetting interaction with one person.

    One upsetting interaction is one interaction and doesn’t mean anything. A series of incidents where people are told they can’t take pictures of their own kids, or warned from taking pictures that happen to include kids somewhere in the background indicates a troubling trend. I’ve seen several stories such as this before.

    Freedom means that other people are free to have opinions you don’t like, and even to tell you about them.

    Their right to opinions kinda stops when they tell you you can’t take pictures of your own kids, you MUST be breaking the law by doing so and up to no good, and call over the cops. They may have their legal right to their opinion, but they certainly have no moral right to that level of stupidity.

    I mean what, do you want to be sheltered and protected from that, like a “helicopter parent”?

    No, but this isn’t about one random crazy woman. Unless this random crazy woman really gets around and causes trouble for people all over the English-speaking world.

    And I will say that as the parent of two red-headed blue-eyed daughters, I’ve had to deal with uncomfortable situations of men taking photos of them without my permission and even sneaking around to do so.

    Completely off-topic – this person wasn’t taking pictures (even incidentally) involving other people’s kids. He was taking pictures of HIS OWN kid. (And I think we all can agree that sneaking around to take pictures of people without their consent is creepy and wrong.)

    And I do call them out on it. Is it against the law for them to do it? Maybe not. But it’s definitely RUDE.

    Sure, go for it! You’re absolutely in your rights to do so. But when they’re not taking pictures of YOUR kids, and are taking pictures of THEIR kids, you need to back the heck off.

    And yes, if I can’t tell you are with a particular group of kids and you are standing at the end of the slides (!) snapping photos I will ask you what you are doing

    Why the exclam at the end of slides? Where is he supposed to stand to get a pic of his kid on the slide?

    At any rate, you can *ask* him who he’s taking pictures of, but you have no business being rude about it until or unless he’s rude first. This woman didn’t ask him to destroy pictures of her kids – she called the cops because he took pictures of HIS kids.

    So please – stop comparing apples and oranges here. We’re talking about two entirely different situations.

    If you don’t like that, maybe go photograph dogs instead of people. Dogs don’t have those annoying dissenting opinions that you would so love to silence in the name of your precious “freedom.”

    You just posted a long, irrelevant screed (on somebody else’s website) that has nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with your own sense of self-righteousness, and you claim you’re being “silenced”?

    That’s pretty amaing.

  44. Tobias September 11, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    To all the people who would ask others to delete pictures of their children: what if the person taking pictures doesn’t use digital?

    Several of my friends are parents. Most of them have asked me to photograph their children at various points in time. I prefer to photograph children in their “natural environment.” Generally this means outdoors, usually at a park or beach of some sort. When you’re in a public place it can be difficult to avoid getting strangers in your shots.

    I also use a film camera. I don’t use digital for my serious portraits because we haven’t reached a point where I can blow up a digital photo to canvas size without a significant depletion of quality. I’m also a bit of a snob, I like film and all the processing that goes with it.

    If I accidentally get someone else’s child in my photos I don’t know about it until at least a day after the event. If a parent was to come up to me and demand that I destroy any photos with their child in them I’d be hard pressed to remember which kid they were talking about. I’m certainly not going to destroy an entire roll of film simply because there *might* be the back of some kid’s head in a couple of the shots.

    I realise that most people have switched over to digital photography, however there are exceptions. Beyond that, the ability to delete individual photographs is a recent development. We all survived childhood just fine without our parents worrying about our backs (or even faces) being in a few random pictures.

  45. Dino September 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    This sort of thing is not new. For many years, I was a Newspaper photographer. One year, a week after school was out, we decided to do a feature on kids activities during vacation. With permission of the mother of a couple of youngsters, I was setting up a shot with the baseball and bat the kids had brought to the park.
    Suddenly the principal of the adjacent school appeared and demanded that I not take pictures of these children. With the mother objecting to the interferrance, the principal informed us that all school age children were teh “property” of thepubli schools and there was “a state law”. These children were students at a local parochial school.
    Faced with arrest, the mom and I decided to drop the picture idea.

  46. lonedattyof3 September 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    For a family night out, I take my tots to Waikiki and walk around, check out the street hawkers, hucksters, buskers, and performance artists; the shops and the free samples; the eager, happy, and sometimes whacky tourists; the water features; the free concerts and movies; the beach (we swim when the evil sun is gone but the shore is bright with lights); the weekly skyrockets; and, of course, the junk food. We are frequently approached by total strangers, often non -English speakers, who want pictures of the kids, especially the twins. Usually they want to be in the pictures, and often I am the impromptu photographer.

    And while we’re at it, some 20 years ago my 10-year old nephew was asked to join about 50 foreign tourists taking a group shot at a scenic site. When they were done, someone gave him an envelope which we opened a few minutes later in the car. In it was a thank you card and a $50 bill.

    Arrest me.

  47. kherbert September 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I think you should have done a story on the Principal thinking s/he owned the children of the town.

  48. frances September 12, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    If a perv wanted to take pictures to arouse himself with, or put on the internet, wouldn’t there be more convienent places to do so than a crowded park filled with other parents?

    If this guy wanted to make kiddie porn of his own kids, he would be doing it in his house.

  49. Peter September 13, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    I work from home (in NYC), so I’m often bringing my daughter to the playground and to “mom” playgroups in the park. I also am a huge shutterbug and often bring my honking big DSLR camera with me. I’ve never once had a problem with anyone complaining about my taking dozens of photos. Not once. In fact, given the ubiquity of digital cameras these days, you’d probably stand out more if you *don’t* take your camera with you to the playground to record your little angel’s every waking moment.

    (Now taking your camera into a store, well, store employees tend to hate that…)

  50. Sheena September 13, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    It’s ridiculous that someone ASSUMED that Gary was a pedophile simply because he’s a man.

    As far as the photography debate…I’ll take pictures of my nieces, nephews, and my friends’ kids. I have always had permission. During my nannying job, I had a small folder of pictures (most taken during play time inside the house). After the job ended, I transferred those pictures into a temporary file and e-mailed them all to the parents. After I had a confirmation that they received the pictures, I deleted them. Mostly because as much as the “three giggling toddlers group hug” picture made me smile, I knew that it would make their mother happier. And, in a backside-covering step, I didn’t want someone fiddling with my computer (either a friend checking e-mail or an IT person fixing something), seeing those pictures, and either freaking out or “borrowing” them.
    But that’s still different from someone hanging around, and taking pictures of other peoples’ children without asking the child (if they’re old enough) or their parents if that’s OK. And saying OK and moving on if the child or parents don’t want a picture taken.

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  52. pyromomma September 14, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    I love this comment on the site: “There are more 10,000 surveillance cameras in London, is this not more worrying than a father photographing his children?
    “A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens.”
    David Davis, resignation statement, 12 June 2008

    Mrs Grundy needs to mind her own business. I am sick of these self-righteous busybodies and their fear-mongering. What a blessing that those 2 boys have a dad who takes them out and takes pictures of them. By the way, I have used the horrified “You mean you let your child ride in a car!!?” 3 times in the past week to 2 hyper-helicopter mommies. They were upset because their 10 year olds were out of their sight for a minute at a park. I may not be invited to go to the park with them again for a while. (Yep, they are my friends — oh, well, coffee alone! )


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