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HB horse bench video

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Just one question: were the individuals who sat on the bench aware that they were being filmed, and was their permission sought before the video went live with them in it?

From Jack Lockhart

Friday, 21 March 2014

Graham, tha'ts two questions!

I thought it was OK to film people in public spaces without their permission.

I thought it was a great film btw. The bench looks good too. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

From Jenny B

Saturday, 22 March 2014

What a great film. Did you notice how many people patted the 'horse'. I must walk that way and look at this amazing bench soon.

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Yes, it did occur to me afterwards that it was two questions. Sorry about that.

I asked them because I stopped watching the video after less than 60 seconds, feeling uneasy about invading other people's privacy. If the camera was set up in full view and it was obvious that the bench was being filmed, fair enough. If not, I feel that a line was crossed.

I accept that it's not an easy line to draw. BBC guidelines for privacy and consent include this:

When filming openly in public and semi-public places, we do not normally obtain express consent from individuals who are incidentally caught on camera as part of the general scene, unless they are engaged in an activity where they have a legitimate expectation of privacy that is not outweighed by a public interest in showing them.

Whether the people in the video were 'incidentally caught on camera' or had 'a legitimate expectation of privacy' can be debated. But if this were footage from a CCTV or surveillance camera rather than a specially commissioned project, I wonder how happy everyone would be with the same video.

From Elizabeth B

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The second commenter states that anyone can take a photo in a public place without permission.

There are many adopted and fostered children in Hebden Bridge for whom having their photo and location in a public realm is at best unhelpful, and at worst dangerous, and something their adoptive or foster parents would seek to avoid.

Whilst I imagine anyone would want to encourage artistic freedom and expression, a courteous request about the use of the photo could prevent any unintended consequences (and parental anxiety).

From Jack Lockhart

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Graham, I am surprised you felt uneasy at the video and had to stop watching. I thought the video and the bench were a great celebration and insight into our communities and how we use public spaces.

This piece of public art is there in our shared space and doesn't set out to offer a private space but one that we can share.

In this public space I don't suppose anyone had a legitimate expectation of privacy and though its not clear from the video I would think they would have been able to see the camera set up in front of them, some people seem to look directly at the camera.

The BBC guidelines are there for them and to most probably protect the BBC and are not law. There are thousands of pictures and images published every day featuring people in public spaces and if there is a line to be drawn it is being clear about what is a public space and what is a private space.

The intentions of the film and bench are set out clearly in the title of the film "connecting communities" and are very different from more covert filming such as cctv.

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Jack - people might be in a public space but they might also like to enjoy a private moment and not have it turned into a public spectacle. Consider, for starters, the point Elizabeth makes.

This video deliberately set out to film specific people - those who chose to sit on the bench. If it was done without their knowledge, that to me makes it a form of voyeurism. Dressing it up as a 'celebration' - one for the tired cliché debate on two other threads, possibly - doesn't cut it.

As I've said, if those people could not possibly have been in any doubt that they were being filmed, that's fine - end of problem and I'm happy. But it isn't yet evident that that was the case, which is why I asked for clarity. As for the comparison with CCTV images, it strikes me as naive to think that calling the video 'connecting communities' makes everything OK. It categorically does not.

From Maureen Brian

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Graham Barker, do please look at the camera angle!

Assuming this is an average-sized human with a video camera on a tripod, then the photographer has to be on the flat land - footpath and trimmed grass - on the other side of the lock from the bench. That's somewhere between the bridge at Little Theatre and the footpath up to Shelf Road.

In plain sight of everyone who both sat on the bench and appears on the video!

No conspiracy theories or underhand goings-on are required.

From Jason Elliott

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Oh dear.

"This video deliberately set out to film specific people" is a serious accusation, and one that, if incorrect would be defamatory in law.

Considering the five paragraph article refers to the "bench" in four of them and, by way of literary deviation, "sculptural feature" in the other, with no mention of anything else being the subject, this looks as though there is mischief making going on here.

Steve Morgan is not an average sized human either. He is taller than normal, quite strikingly handsome (if you go for that chiselled sort of thing), clearly visible with a big tripod no more than 30 feet away, on his own, opposite the bench in plain sight for a long period of time.

Sitting on a public bench in front of a pre-located and easily visible cameraman with a tripod is not normally something people do if they are concerned about being seen.

Unless of course they were partially-sighted. Anyone care to check? I've got some paint to watch drying.

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 30 March 2014

If Jason can drag himself away from watching paint dry, perhaps he could consider a couple of questions.

Would there have been a video at all had no one sat on the bench? It's a human interest video, ergo the expression I used.

And did he properly read either of my comments? I draw his attention to: 'if those people could not possibly have been in any doubt that they were being filmed, that's fine - end of problem and I'm happy.'

Jason seems emphatic that all the photography did take place in full view, though his wording is ambiguous. I'm willing to accept that but where's the evidence? It's not on the video or in the accompanying article, and we seem to have silence from the people involved in the production of either.

I still hold to my view that this might be - stress might be - an example of a double standard that seems to be emerging now that we're all tooled up with cameras. Invasions of privacy by 'them' are bad, but invasions of privacy by 'us' are OK.

From Richard Woodcock

Thursday, 3 April 2014

I don't think ex-HB resident and now highly-respected photographer Martin Parr will have asked permission from the subjects of his photographs...

From Julie Rose Clark

Friday, 19 September 2014

Our permission was asked for filming and we were asked to sit on the bench.

See also:

HebWeb News - A Day in the Life of Hebden Bridge's horse bench