Abitoffthemapp Camera Bags & Straps | Photography

City lawyer who escaped to become an award winning photographer. Now runs Abitoffthemapp Photography, the London Photo Festival and the London Photo Gallery. Purveyor of photography products: leather camera bags, leather camera straps and limited edition prints. My Etsy Shop is: Abitoffthemapp & MappofLondonUK


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Public v Private Land & Photography Debate

The debate on whether you can take photographs (especially with a tripod) on private or public land and encountering overzealous security guards seems to be an issue that will never go away and sadly it seems that we are moving more and more towards an undemocratic model of land ownership.

The issue should be simple: if it’s private land, then you need to get permission from the landowner but there is nothing to stop you from taking photographs of private buildings from public land/right of way.  No doubt, an ill-informed security guard will try to move you on from taking a photograph of ‘their’ building but they are not within their rights to do so.  However, if you wander onto private land, then you can be done for trespass.

If you are asked to move on from public land, then ask to see a copy of their regulations and even ask the security guard to call the police – the police are well informed about the rights of photographers and this was demonstrated in an experiment in 2011 called ‘Stand Your Ground’ : http://youtu.be/FJH9F7Hcluo

Some privately owned land in London includes:  Kew Gardens, Paternoster Square, Canary Wharf, the London Underground , the land between Land Bridge and Tower Bridge and surprisingly, the South Bank.  You are more likely to run into trouble if they think that the photographs are being used for commercial purposes, so if you are stopped then be polite (yes, it’s hard if you are confronted by a hostile guard) and just move on because getting involved in a pointless argument with a jobs worth is not worth it.  If you’ve got your image, then great, it’s yours and they cannot insist that you delete them.

What about photographing people in the street?  There is no right of privacy in UK stating that you cannot take pictures of people in public places but you can run into trouble if you publish the images (especially if the person is identifiable).  If you take a photograph of someone in the street and they object, then the courteous approach is to explain that you are a photographer, apologise and offer to delete the image.  And definitely do not take images of other people’s children without their permission – this is likely to land you in a lot of trouble (i.e. being arrested) and having all your images deleted.

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Project Jeanne

I’m currently working on a photography project that is totally different from my normal night and architectural images.  It is based on a kimono that originally belonged to my great grandmother, and was eventually given to me by my grandmother, Jeanne Johnstone Wilson.  The kimono is from China (circa 1910/20s – possibly earlier) and is made from raw silk and I’ve had it made into a dress, top and some lovely wall pictures.  But the fabric is so delicate and when my Grandmother passed away in 2012, I wanted to ensure that the fabric and its history was preserved.

Hence Project Jeanne! I am in the testing phases of the project but below are a couple of images to show what I am up to.

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Top 5 Tips for Surviving Redundancy

Here are my top tips for surviving redundancy, I have many more but here are some to think about

1.Unemployment Insurance

If it’s not too late, sign up for unemployment insurance.  This will kick in after you have been made redundant but ensure that you read the Terms and Conditions properly before signing up and there are no onerous clauses that will prevent you from claiming (i.e. you have to lose your job on a Tuesday with a full moon etc.)

2.  Get a Life (Coach)

When this was suggested to me, I was rather indignant – why would I need to pay someone to show me how to run my life?!  But without a shadow of a doubt, this was the best thing I ever did.  I would not be where I am today if I had not enlisted the help of a coach.

3. Network

It really is about who you know.  I attended as many networking events (the majority of them are free) as I could, I always worked on the premise that if I met one interesting person or learnt one new interesting thing/lead, then the event had been worth it.  It’s also a good way to get yourself out of the house and away from the computer.

4. Get your CV rewritten

I had had the same format for about 15 years and it was a format that had worked for me but once I’d changed it, I noticed that I started to get more interest from prospective employers.  I got a professional company to rewrite mine and they did a fantastic job.

5. Be nice to yourself!

They say that when you are made redundant, you will go through the same processes as grief and loss, so be nice to yourself and set up enjoyable things for you to do every week – let’s face it, you cannot apply for jobs all the time.  Go to a museum, art gallery or treat yourself to a nice glass of champers!