Taking Someone’s Photo

In Week 7, we learnt the use of public televisions, digital public signage and personal IT devices that were used to manage the pressures and opportunities of passing time in public areas. Besides, we learnt the types of public media including outdoor TVs, and Google Street View. And in this week, several tasks have been given which are: photographing someone who are using or watching media in a public place, explaining how I managed the ethics of this photography, and listing points that made public space ethnography effective.

Firstly, I asked one of my classmates taking BCM240. I asked her politely whether I was allowed to take a photo of her using/watching a medium. And she agreed with this photography. In order to satisfy the appropriateness of the photography including her privacy, I informed her that her face would not be taken and a photo would be used only for an academic purpose. And as you can see below, this was taken at a class room after finishing a lecture.


On the other hand, if I am asked for taking a photograph in a public area that contains an image of someone else I do not know, I would say no. Although an information sheet published by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (2016) guarantees that it is possible to take a photograph in public without asking his/her permission (there are a number of exceptions/limitations), I would not take it. According to the unspoken rules of our society that also are known as tacit knowledge, taking a photo of someone I do not know is inappropriate with even permission. And the second reason is that I am shy.

In terms of managing public space ethnography, there are some regulations and safeguards that can make public space ethnography effective/safe. According to the information sheet written by ALCA (2016), this shows that there are a number of regulations/safeguards. For instance, one of the regulations is “the use of surveillance devices and listening devices is regulated in most states and territories… the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Victoria) and Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (Western Australia) make it an offence to photograph a “private activity” without the consent of the subject” (ALCA 2016).

This week’s topic was quite interesting. Consequentially, I was able to learn the street photographer’s rights published by ALCA (2016). Previously, I did not know that such things were existed.


ALCA 2016, Information Sheet: Street Photographer’s Rights, the Arts Law Centre of Australia, viewed 14 September 2016, <http://www.artslaw.com.au/images/uploads/Street_photographers_rights_2016.pdf>.