Where can you shoot? Who can be filmed? It is these ques­tions that are the most impor­tant at the moment when a cit­i­zen dis­sat­is­fied with his actions runs to the pho­tog­ra­ph­er. And even if his emo­tion is skill­ful­ly cap­tured in the right light pat­tern, you will first have to prove that the pic­ture was tak­en accord­ing to the law. Let’s look at the nuances of the leg­is­la­tion that reg­u­late pho­tog­ra­phy in pub­lic places.

Spoil­er: pho­tos tak­en in pub­lic places can be pub­lished with­out the per­mis­sion of the peo­ple caught in the frame / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

Work of laws in theory

Arti­cle 29, para­graph 4 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion says: “Every­one has the right to freely seek, receive, trans­mit, pro­duce and dis­trib­ute infor­ma­tion in any legal way. The list of infor­ma­tion con­sti­tut­ing a state secret is deter­mined by fed­er­al law.

The Con­sti­tu­tion is the most impor­tant law of the state, it is valid absolute­ly every­where in the coun­try. That is, if some­one tells you that, they say, “here we do not obey her” or “we have our own rules here,” then this per­son is legal­ly illit­er­ate.

If the one who inter­feres with you can­not refer to the state law pro­tect­ing the object, you can safe­ly not lis­ten to him. Anoth­er impor­tant point: if you got to the place of shoot­ing com­plete­ly unhin­dered, name­ly: you didn’t climb over the fence, wall, didn’t break the locks, then, accord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion, you can safe­ly take pic­tures. Even if some­thing secret gets into your frame, it will not be your fault.

Exam­ple: You went to the woods to take some wit­ty pic­tures of your friend in the fall foliage. And every­thing is going well, but you got lost and stum­bled upon a cozy clear­ing where the fight­ing bears are train­ing. The fight­ers from the dens are very friend­ly, and you are hap­py to take a lot of pic­tures with the bears and post them on social net­works. And only then do you find out that the clear­ing is top secret and you, with your pub­li­ca­tions, are dis­rupt­ing the bril­liant oper­a­tion to intro­duce bears into the camp of the ene­my. Ques­tion: who will be pun­ished? Legal­ly, you are not at fault. It’s just that some­one didn’t both­er to pro­tect pho­to­genic bears. You eas­i­ly reached the secret place with your own feet, and no one made it clear to you that the ter­ri­to­ry was guard­ed by spe­cial ser­vices.

Store clerks may try to argue that price tags and mer­chan­dise are pro­tect­ed by trade secrets or that you can’t film on pri­vate prop­er­ty, but that’s not the case — stores are treat­ed as pub­lic places / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

The same is true for trade secrets. Price tags, staff uni­forms, menus, show­case, room design — all this is not a trade secret when the insti­tu­tion is open to vis­i­tors. And if the own­er for­got his book­keep­ing on the counter, these are his dif­fi­cul­ties.

Here is a list of some places that are pub­lic:

  • ter­ri­to­ries and premis­es of edu­ca­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions, insti­tu­tions of cul­ture, phys­i­cal cul­ture and sports;
  • ter­ri­to­ries and premis­es of med­ical insti­tu­tions;
  • pub­lic trans­port: bus­es, trol­ley­bus­es, trams, trains, planes, etc.;
  • hotels, shops and mar­kets;
  • premis­es of pub­lic author­i­ties and local gov­ern­ments;
  • com­mon areas of apart­ment build­ings: entrances, stairs, land­ings;
  • beach­es; areas for recre­ation, tourism, sports;
  • gas sta­tion;
  • muse­ums;
  • tem­ples.

Bene note: flash can be harm­ful. For exam­ple, accord­ing to some sci­en­tists, old paint­ings can suf­fer from harsh light. This hypoth­e­sis has gen­er­at­ed much con­tro­ver­sy. The sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty has not yet made a final ver­dict on the destruc­tive role of the out­break, but the the­o­ry must be tak­en into account.

If you are shoot­ing in the sub­way, then the bright light from the flash can inter­fere not only with pas­sen­ger traf­fic, but also with the train dri­ver. The lat­ter can sim­ply stop the com­po­si­tion incor­rect­ly and at the wrong time / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

Sharp bright light is also con­traindi­cat­ed in cer­tain types of dis­eases — with epilep­sy, with oph­thal­mo­log­i­cal prob­lems, var­i­ous psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders. So, if you were warned that the flash could harm, but you still took a pic­ture with it and some­one got hurt, you will most like­ly be sued. But, if your activ­i­ty does not pose a dan­ger to oth­ers, you can shoot com­plete­ly calm­ly.

Implementation of laws in practice

Nat­u­ral­ly, not all cit­i­zens want to live by the law, and there­fore you need to be pre­pared for the fact that guards of var­i­ous stripes will inter­fere with you, they say, why are you with your char­ter in their monastery.

There are thou­sands of videos on video host­ing sites where blog­gers defend their legal right to film in pub­lic places. The sce­nario is always the same: an ener­getic char­ac­ter with a cam­era and a sup­port group arrives at some store or shop­ping cen­ter, starts film­ing. The guards imme­di­ate­ly grab the author of the video, the activist’s friends film it, the police arrive, the blog­ger wins, the guards are put to shame. It takes about five hours to do this — until you wait for the police, until you talk to every­one. So if you decide to do some­thing like this — count your time.

Legal grounds are good, but no one has can­celed polite­ness. You can achieve more with a good atti­tude than with foam at the mouth prov­ing your case. Show your mod­els pic­tures — maybe they will like the pic­tures and the con­flict will come to naught / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

At the same time, there is such an unob­vi­ous point: in a con­flict sit­u­a­tion, you need to behave as cor­rect­ly as pos­si­ble — do not stoop to the floor, do not shout, do not allow your­self to be drawn into a fight — oth­er­wise the arriv­ing police squad will sim­ply draw up a pro­to­col against you under arti­cle 20.1 “Pet­ty hooli­gan­ism” of the Code on Admin­is­tra­tive vio­la­tions. And, of course, you can not con­duct such actions in a state of intox­i­ca­tion.

Pho­tograph­ing in a pub­lic place deserves spe­cial atten­tion if this place is direct­ly or indi­rect­ly con­nect­ed with a reli­gion, espe­cial­ly with the Ortho­dox one.

There is a well-estab­lished stereo­type that it is impos­si­ble to take pic­tures in Chris­t­ian church­es and gen­er­al­ly you can­not go there with­out appro­pri­ate cloth­ing and knowl­edge of the Bible. In fact, every­thing is dif­fer­ent. As prac­tice shows, peo­ple will meet you, dis­cuss the project with you, and try to find com­mon ground. Among the min­is­ters of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church, the fol­low­ing posi­tion is pop­u­lar: it doesn’t mat­ter why a per­son became inter­est­ed in Chris­tian­i­ty, it doesn’t mat­ter what he knows about the doc­trine — it is impor­tant to try to find a com­mon lan­guage with him.

With oth­er reli­gions, it will be more dif­fi­cult — for exam­ple, inside the Bud­dhist tem­ple “Dat­san” in St. Peters­burg, film­ing is gen­er­al­ly pro­hib­it­ed, which, of course, runs counter to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

More­over, if in this case if you start insist­ing on your right, you must be dou­bly care­ful. The prac­tice of apply­ing the arti­cle on insult­ing the feel­ings of believ­ers is extreme­ly harsh, and how exact­ly it will be applied to your sit­u­a­tion is unlike­ly to be pre­dict­ed by the most expe­ri­enced lawyers.

Is permission required to publish a street photo?

So, we fig­ured out the loca­tion of the shoot­ing, it remains to find out who can be pho­tographed. Arti­cle 152.1 of the Civ­il Code of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion “Pro­tec­tion of the image of a cit­i­zen” states that pho­tographs tak­en in pub­lic places and at pub­lic events (con­certs, con­fer­ences, etc.) can be used with­out the con­sent of the peo­ple caught in the frame. There is an excep­tion to this rule when — the image of a cer­tain per­son is the main object of use. In oth­er words, if you did not shoot guests at a foot­ball match, but went on a “pho­to hunt” for a spe­cif­ic por­trait.

The bur­den of proof lies with the plain­tiff, a per­son who believes that his pho­tographs were used ille­gal­ly / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

An impor­tant point: in order to rec­og­nize the ille­gal­i­ty of your actions in court, a per­son must prove that it was he who became the object of the shoot­ing. It is the plain­tiff who must prove to the court that he was pho­tographed, and not you must prove the oppo­site. For exam­ple, you took a pic­ture of a crowd­ed beach, and it turned out to be the annu­al meet­ing of the Asso­ci­a­tion “Spies of all coun­tries.” And now each of them will have to prove that you pho­tographed them, and not the surf line. It is almost impos­si­ble to do this, unless you your­self admit it.

And all of this can be proven. just after post­ing snap­shot. To ban the process of film­ing on the basis that the pic­ture will be ille­gal is about the same as ban­ning preg­nan­cies on the basis that chil­dren some­times grow up as crim­i­nals.

Peo­ple most often for­get that every day they are filmed by hun­dreds of sur­veil­lance cam­eras and DVRs. Just because, first­ly, the brain is used to it and does not notice, and, sec­ond­ly, there is no one behind the lens attached to the ceil­ing. But in the con­flict with the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, the human fac­tor plays a huge role. There­fore, it is impor­tant to remem­ber the psy­cho­log­i­cal aspect.

Often, a per­son who is out­raged by your actions just needs to be allowed to calm down, talk with him, wait until the neg­a­tive emo­tions from the first con­tact sub­side. And then, quite pos­si­bly, you will not have to read the Con­sti­tu­tion to him in a men­tor­ing tone.

And don’t for­get: street pho­tog­ra­phy is beau­ti­ful / Illus­tra­tion: unsplash.com

We all come from child­hood, and, for sure, most of us remem­ber the ten­der feel­ing with which you leaf through a fam­i­ly album filled with warm mem­o­ries, if not mas­ter­pieces. So, in gen­er­al, the art of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er is close to every per­son. Some­times you just need to be remind­ed of it.