Legality of 'bystander' photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sharkbait, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Found myself in a situation tonight on the way home from work, and of course didn't have a camera in the car (so it's a moot point), but here's what happened...

    I'm on the freeway, and about 100 yds in front of me a car has a blowout and proceeds to do two or three 360s before going head-on into the cement center-median at about 50mph. I was the first car past the scene (and the only one to stop). I called 911, and by the time I got off the phone with the state police, a couple more people had stopped to help. Anyway, end result was an ambulance ride for a couple of the people in the car, but overall I think they were alright.

    On the way home, I got to thinking. No camera in the car as I said, but there were some awesome photojournalistic images to be had. If I had had a camera, would it have been legal to fire some off? Would it have been tacky?
     
  2. LittleMan

    LittleMan TPF Noob!

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    I don't think it's illegal... but IMO if the camera gets in the way of you helping the person it's not the right thing to do... Maybe if there are other people there helping and there really isn't anything for you to do then go ahead and fire a few off... I don't think it would really make anyone mad. :)
     
  3. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    That's what I was thinking. I wasn't even thinking so much of photographing the 'victims', but more the paramedics and firemen.
     
  4. wil

    wil TPF Noob!

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    In most cases it would be fine. if you think about it you were "gathering evidence" the police take photos but they they do not release them the the insurance agency with out a court order ( at least where I live ) so I'm sure if you offer the victims a copy of the photos they would be pretty happy. As far as legality of taking photos with out permission you can if you follow some rules/laws. they are for educational reasons, not for profit ( news mags are ok ) and the people don't have a percived sence of privacy. ( if there in public there fare game )
     
  5. kfoster

    kfoster TPF Noob!

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    A buddy of mine use to shoot accident photos all the time and subbmit them to the local news paper. They never print anything that is too graphic or really identifies anyone. They liked pictures of the wreckage, or wide shots of the emergency crew surrounding the wreckage. The kind of stuff you see in the papers all the time.

    Its no different then if they sent a reporter to take photos.
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Legally in the US, it is OK to shoot anything that is in the realm of the publics need to know. That would include any newsworthy incident outside the individuals private home of any other place where a person has a reasonable right to privacy. Morally you must decide what is right of wrong. My guidance is if I feel comfortable shooting it, I do.
     

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