November 06, 2009

Photos Have I None

I thought that it would be business as usual at today's photo shoot at the Regent Park Film Festival. Instead, I ended up having to leave before the shoot really got off the ground.

I planned to take photos at today's School Program starting at 1:00 p.m. Naturally, this would have involved photographing children in the care of their teachers. For me, this should have been the first red flag. Since parents weren't around to give their consent to their progeny being photographed, the possibility of any photography was uncertain.

This point was driven home by one of the teachers, who made sure that all of her students signed a media release form. After checking with another teacher for the same requirement, I was self-assured that I'd be able to do my work. However, when I saw another class marching into the presentation room, I told Richard Fung (Festival Manager) about the situation. In turn, he escalated my concern to a woman from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). She then told me that I wouldn't be able to take any photos since she didn't want any trouble resulting from unintentional oversight.

While this is not the result I desired, I fully understand and accept her position. In truth, I also had to exercise careful judgement a few days ago at another RPFF event. During the panel discussion, one of the filmmakers started crying as she talked about the experiences which were documented in her movie. When this happened, I stopped shooting until she recomposed herself.

I'm a photographer in search of good shots, but that doesn't mean I'm a wanton opportunist. My shutter finger isn't that itchy.

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