Problems with 'Custom Photography'
Brian Shuel (Folklore Society)
Paper short abstract:
As a professional photographer with an interest in 'Custom Photography', Brian Shuel discuss the effects of technological change on photography proceeding on to issues surrounding the photography of children participating in folk customs. He is the founder of the Collections Picture Library.
Paper long abstract:
As a professional photographer, between the years 1963 and 1993 Brian Shuel photographed about 200 customs and traditions of the British Isles. One of the major developments in photography during that time, aside from technological change, is photographing children. The sixth picture of his photographic career was taken on National Service in Singapore at which time children everywhere pestered photographers to take their picture. Since the 1990s and following paedophile scandals and subsequent legislation, this sort of reaction doesn't happen much now. Parents caution their children. All photographers are assumed to be paedophiles. Random street pictures of kids for whatever anthropological or folkloric purpose is definitely discouraged without proper permission. However, many customs involve children, indeed some are entirely about them. Brian Shuel's working rule has been that if anyone does object, desist at once as it is definitely not worth arguing about. Also, professionals who work on family portraits, or in schools, or in studios with child models now have to have a licence.
Folklore and Photography