I am sitting in a cafe in Sydney writing this, The Rocks in Sydney to be precise. I have just had a Falafel roll and a coffee and i am marvelling at the wonders of technology that allows me to do this (write this entry, not eat the falafel)… Actually i am getting side tracked.
What i really want to write about is the Arts Freedom Australia Rally that took place here at Campbells Cove, just next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge this Sunday past. The rally was organised by Arts Freedom Australia and Ken Duncan, both of whom have been very vocal in recent years about the erosion of our rights to photograph the natural environment and the icons of the built environment like Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Bondi Beach (check it out here http://www.artsfreedomaustralia.com/blog/ )
Many places such as these, as well as a growing list of National Parks now require expensive permits to photograph for any commercial purpose. This includes entering your snapshot into a photo competition, or selling something you took earlier without the intention to sell it. The bureaucrats who write this legislation have forgotten that it was the photographic images of these places proliferating around the world that helped make these places famous in the first place.
So the rally last Sunday was to draw a little attention to this situation, and i think in this it succeeded very well, there were several estimates of 700-1500 people who showed up on the day (i’m not much good at counting, thats why i’m a photographer), including many of us from other states. It was a very peaceful demonstration, photographers are not known to be violent or unpredictable, but there was plenty of passion and plenty of solidarity, as well as a bit of humour. Lets hope our voice is heard.