anonymous derrière CENSORSHIP IN SOUTHEND
5 September 2006
Mrs Monk is the photographer as you will see on these pages. Our pocket Nikon came back from the beach mysteriously damaged and irreparable.
Mrs Monk demanded a new camera to record what was left of our summer holiday, and this Summer she had competition from our young niece Mary who had become an enthusiastic and talented photographer, since we last saw her. Her pictures will be featured on these pages in due course.
Mary was content to take pictures of fences and blades of grass in the park, but Mrs Monk challenged her to take pictures of people. This was a tough assignment since it would take some hutzpah to pull this off, and even the determined photographer, Mrs Monk, who has an abundance of, and perhaps too much hutzpah, often fails to get her man, or woman. She is frequently disappointed by lost pictures seen too late, when the elusive verity of what she has observed, passes by, leaving her with yet another shot of another anonymous derrière.
And then, if you are lucky enough to achieve something telling and relevant, there is always the moral question of what is fit for publication
The paparazzi have questionable morals, but as long as the subject is photographed in a public place, they remain untouched by the law, so it seems, since frequent pictures of starlets showing to much, getting out of limos are published in tabloids and pictures of Prince Philip farting have recently been published by the BBC.
This evening in Southend, I found myself waiting outside Marks and Spencer parked on double yellow lines and, waiting for Mrs Monk, as I frequently do.
I picked up the camera and snapped away randomly for a few minutes at the street scene and at passers-by. These pages are full of such pictures; today's pictures are not particularly outstanding.
I was parked here for about ten minutes when a corpulent elderly policeman and another young lady policewoman approached me. I assumed I was going to get moved on.
“I’m just waiting for my wife” I said.
“Where does your wife work?” He said.
“She’s a teacher” I said, wondering what that had to do with anything.
He then said I could not take photographs in the high street
“Why not?” I said
“Someone might object about invasion of privacy”
“This is a public place, and it is not an offence to take photographs in a public place”
The corpulent policeman spoke again, “If you took a photograph of us, I would arrest you”
I was taken aback since Mrs Monk has taken many pictures of policeman before, and some are on this website, it seems that either she or me, are liable to be arrested.
The corpulent policeman leaned forward and asked me to show him the last picture I had taken. As he leaned forward, I smelt alcohol on his breath. It was 5:30pm.
Mrs Monk then arrived and the corpulent policeman asked her where she taught school.
Mrs Monk looked surprised.
“He says I can’t take photographs” I explained
“What?” Said Mrs Monk
I was up for an argument.
“In France....” I began.
“This is not France” said the PC
“In France” I persisted, “it is illegal to point a camera at anyone, but it is not illegal to take pictures in a public place in this country,” I insisted.
Mrs Monk became agitated because I was defying this fat authoritarian figure.
He asked me to delete the last picture. Mrs Monk told me to delete the last picture.
All the while the young lady policewoman, said not one word. I assume she was embarrassed by this boozed up fat man, who could have given me a ticket for parking on double yellow lines, but preferred to act like he made the law, when he should have been enforcing the law.
We drove off and Mrs Monk berated me for arguing with a policeman.
“Did you smell the booze on his breath?”, she said.
“Yes” I said.
. Shoestring Chronicle