OUR VIEW: A picture can be worth many words

Parents' concerns about having their children photographed are understandable but people in public places are usually fair game.

A camera can be an expensive purchase but as any photographer will tell you, it is worth the purchase.

Grand Forks is picturesque and can provide any type of shutterbug with ample opportunities to focus their lenses on gorgeous scenery and historic buildings.

Also, there are many events that provide fuel for photographers, from the fall fair to the Santa Parade and the results can be quite vivid and colourful.

As Christmas approaches, there will be school concerts and Christmas plays, fundraising events and dinners.

A recent request to remove some photographs with a child in it, taken at a school concert, was of note.

It’s absolutely understandable that parents may have concerns about publishing photographs of children in the paper or online.

The Grand Forks Gazette always ensures that shots of individual school children or groups of five or less are approved by the proper authorities.

However, is it reasonable to do so when it is a shot of 15 or 20 or even a shot of the whole school?

With the advent of technology and accessibility, including social media sites like Facebook, it’s a reasonable issue to discuss.

In a small community, however, there are always six degrees of separation – where everybody knows everybody, or at least knows a person who knows somebody – and there are many parents and family members taking photographs at a school concert.

With the aforementioned social media sites, pictures will be posted online regardless of who takes them.

The general rule of taking photographs is that anyone can take photographs of whatever or whoever they wish in a public place.

A parade, concert or park are all public arenas for which  anyone with a camera is able to point and shoot. There are exceptions of course, such as washrooms and certain federal buildings.

However, should you be asked during an event to have your picture taken in an individual shot, it’s well within your rights to decline.

Photographs taken are indicators of what happened during an event and who was there. It’s a snapshot of a moment of joy, happiness and laughter, or the reverse.

During a public event, should you wish that a picture of yourself or child not be taken, do not participate.

Yes, you would like to see your child to participate in an event like a school concert but in doing so, he or she will be subject to having their photo taken amongst the dozen other students.

It’s an unfair request to have one person who doesn’t want to be published deny many others who do.