Am I a criminal?

Two days ago, once again in Oslo, I got slightly in trouble with a hotel receptionist for taking one of the photos in the series below. She meant I was not allowed to photograph the hotel window from the public street. I protested that even though it was a private property, it’s perfectly visible from the public street and there’s no sign forbidding photography.

After I got back to my hotel, I did some research to find out what the Norwegian law says about street photography. Am I only doing this now after 10 years of street photography? Yes in fact.

What I found out is that the Norwegian law is very strict in protecting personal rights. It’s perfectly legal to photograph anyone (maybe except children) without asking for a permission, but it’s not allowed to publish photographs of identifiable persons without their permission. Exceptions are photos where the identifiable persons are taking part in street protests, parades or similar, photos that have a public usefulness (whatever that is), and photos the main content of which isn’t the person – although identifiable – but the situation, the context this person is involved in. Hopefully, most of my pictures will fall within this last category for the judge who gets my case the day someone sues me for doing street photography and sharing it. The alternative is photos like the ones below, without a face or a soul. Feel free to leave a thought on this, if you like.

5 Comments on “Am I a criminal?

    • It ‘s a very delicate and unpleasant topic, unfortunately is the harsh reality, and what I see also in Norway, a country certainly more modern and liberal that Italy: imagine that here the law dates back among to 1941! (and I think at that time the leaders had other things to think …). Anyway, it is necessary that the street photographer go around with a laptop desk to get to sign a document called “release” from all recognizable people in the context photo!!, Even if it is commercial, In fact, just that the image is “published”.
      I personally believe that if a person portrayed is honest and has nothing to hide, it should have no objection if it is photographed in a public place, provided it is not prejudicial attitudes photographed in his image (like “paparazzi” with the famous persons).
      Something different in private places, which in theory should be the owner’s permission, as in your case. It ‘s clear that then everything depends on the tolerance of the people you meet. And then eventually leave under these make any difference: Think of that the Eiffel Tower in night lighting is covered by copyright and no one could photograph it at night without permission!
      I’m sending a file through email, it’s a piece of my photography course that I kept talking in some detail of these problems, the fault is that I spend the desire to photograph!

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