Permit for Photography - London

London photographers are increasingly asked for a permit for photography. London's public spaces aren't so public after all.

That particular weekend we headed up to Kings Cross' Granary Square. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and a canal walk with my fiancee seemed like the right thing to do. 

So after a short tube ride we got to Kings Cross and a few minutes walk away, reached Granary Square. We discussed how we should go have brunch one day at Caravan (a restaurant there), bought a coffee from one of the sellers there and I set up my tripod to shoot a little timelapse cinemagraph (using Triggertrap).

"Sir do you have a permit for photography?"

Huh? I turn around and a security guard is standing behind me.

"Erm, no I don't. Do I need one seeing I'm on the side of the road?"

"Yes this is private property, but if you step 10 metres away, you can since it's not anymore"

You see, I would have easily let that go but it's just ridiculous. If you look at the timelapse below, I was originally on the bridge on the right. Mad isn't it?

So if I want to buy a coffee (they didn't stop me doing that) and take a selfie with a mobile, no one will bother me, however if I get my tripod out (needed for timelapse cinemagraphs) then it's a problem.

And so I avoided a long argument and stepped 10 metres away and shot this:

Granary Square London - Timelapse Cinemagraph

Granary Square joins a long list of places in London where photography is forbidden for all sorts of unreasonable reasons (London Eye, Gherkin, etc...) and it actually does them more harm than good. 

I really wonder what dinosaurs are in charge of their marketing.

With photography we don't take anything away from them, quite the opposite. By allowing photographers to take great photos they get free publicity. We promote them through social media (I have over 97,000 followers on Twitter of which 50% are UK based) and our websites and some people may have not otherwise been aware of it.

If I was a terrorist, trust me I wouldn't carry a tripod! If I was there to shoot up-skirts... I probably wouldn't be there with my wife now would I?

We love a good brunch and a good coffee, but Granary Square sure won't be on our list anytime soon.

If you are a photographer concerned about your rights or a Londoner appalled about such actions, please share this article. You can also retweet this tweet!  Hopefully companies will then understand how this kind of behaviour can have a negative impact on their own marketing and PR.

Nico