Walking through Christchurch Park, Ipswich, I came across the War Memorial and liked the juxtaposition of a threatening bundle of military gear on the Memorial and a father and child resting on the wall in the late afternoon sun. I took a couple of pictures – not particularly original, but worth recording. About 15 minutes later I was stopped in the town centre by two WPCs, who said very politely that the police had received a phone call complaining that someone might have taken their picture in the Park and had I been there. I said I had and was photographing the Memorial. They asked to see the last few shots on my camera; I was happy to oblige and they let it rest there. All of which raises lots of questions? Is it right to take photographs including people in public places? Should I have asked if it was OK? Was I obliged to show the police what was on my camera? What would they have done if I had refused? What would they have done if I’d been using film? How did they find me, I wasn’t the only one with a camera in Ipswich that afternoon? If I think I have right to take photos in public places, do people have an equal right to challenge me when I do? Where is the line between general pictures of places that include people incidentally and pictures in which the people become a main subject? Nothing new in all this, but the first time I’ve had such a direct challenge. Anyway, for the avoidance of any possible upset, the picture here is not the one I set out to take and can hardly cause offence (except to other photographers!).
Photo: Christchurch Park, Ipswich, April 2012