Freeze! Put the camera down! Don’t make me shoot you (with bullets)!

Waverley has now become… a dangerous place.

You might see them walking around Bondi Beach with their weapons… they don’t care… they’ve got them out and are proud to show them…

From the short-range tools to the long-range instruments, people are ready to use their weaponry to get the ultimate shot.

And it is that shot that makes a postcard picture.

Why am I speaking like this, saying words that makes it seem like a photographer is a criminal or is someone who might end up being on the wrong side of the law?

Because in Waverley Council, taking pictures is now banned and considered a “hazard to public safety,” according to The Daily Telegraph.

Granted, The Daily Telegraph was asking people to do a survey and were taking pictures of them to go with it. That said, “asking” might have been translated to “harassing” by some people and even “oh my God, get away from me, no really, I don’t care about your stupid fucking newspaper-it’s easily the worst tabloid-newssheet on the planet” by others. I’m not saying that last one would’ve been me, but rather would have been others. Maybe.

However, since this is an article and a blog entry on a stupid idea by Waverley Council, the very area I live in, I’d like to make some points by some stupid people. Please note that while I say these people are stupid, they may not necessarily be stupid and may just in fact make some stupid comments. It is likely that they actually are stupid, and were I to meet them in the street and know who they are, if they happened to utter a line about how right they were in making these comments, I’d still think that they were stupid people. That said, here are some comments that probably fall under the jurisdiction of the word “stupid” in the dictionary:

“Anyone conducting any act on public space is obliged to apply for a permit,” Ms McDonald said. “It’s a policy of Waverley Council as caretakers of public space.” (Waverley Council’s Bondi Junction manager Linda McDonald)

Ms. McDonald, what the hell constitutes an “act”? Can I breathe without a permit? Too harsh maybe?

Okay, can I cry in public without a permit? Can I perform rehearsals in a park for a play I’m in with friends without a permit?- that would be the very definition of an act.

And photography — to you — is an act. Well then, can I take pictures of anything I want without a permit? No? Well seriously, how the fuck are you going to enforce it? No, really… I want to know.

How are you going to stop the millions of tourists that come down to Bondi each year to take pictures? Are you going to walk up to them and say that “Oh, I’m sorry… we can’t have you taking pictures of anything around here, unless you have a permit.”

Oh, and by the way, you can ask them to leave, but you can’t arrest them since it’s not illegal.

So if by chance you happen to tell me, as a photographer (which I am), that I’m not allowed to take pictures and I take a few steps back and start shooting again… how the hell are you going to stop me? You don’t have any legal rights to ask for my film or card, nor do you have any rights to detain my camera or myself. You can always call the police and ask that I wait, but since you don’t enforce the law and only enforce this loose set of stupid rules that only make sense if you happen to be an idiot, I can always say “well, it’s all well and good that you’ve called the police, but since you’re not a member of the police yourself, I don’t have to give a shit” and just bugger off home.

Nice, isn’t it?

Ranger Nikki Taylor said permission was required to take the photos because it was a “safety issue” to stop people in the street.

Wow, Ms. Taylor. Did you have that line spoonfed to you by the same idiots making these rules up?

This issue arose over The Daily Telegraph stopping people in the street for a survey of some sort and taking their pictures.

But what if you take their picture without stopping them, by shooting within the public domain as you’re actually allowed to.

What then, Ms. Taylor? Are you going to stop me taking pictures if I don’t stop them? Permission isn’t required if I’m selling them for artistic purposes or not selling them at all. Commercial enterprises is the only place where I’d need their permission, and I won’t be needing your permission to shoot anyone if I decide to do what I always do and shoot from afar.

Ms McDonald said this policy was the same as “every other Sydney council”.

But councils contacted yesterday had not heard of the extreme policies and lambasted them as an attack on free speech.

Manly Mayor Peter McDonald was stunned by the ranger’s orders. “There’s no way Manly Council would support that,” he said.

“I think that makes Waverley Council look a little silly.”

Sorry Waverley Council… did you think you were intelligent at all in making this decision?

Perhaps it would have been bright to actually… oh I don’t know… think about something before you made that decision so as to stop yourself from look like the idiots that you seem to be indicating to the community that you are.

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