Monday, September 21, 2009

Weltkindertag - World Children's Day

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We went to Cologne for the weekend and found to our surprise that the World Children's Day is celebrated on 20th September in Germany, not on 20th November as in the rest of the world. So when we went for a Sunday stroll along the river Rhine we were part of a lively crowd trying to negotiate our way between various activities and stalls where charities, associations and companies did their best to promote their merchandise or services. Anything to do with children was present. Although the fire brigade posing for a calendar shoot in front of the mighty cathedral was a coincidence, I guess.

I had my camera at the ready not to miss any interesting in this huge crowd. But I found it increasingly difficult to take photographs for obvious reasons. There is something called privacy and integrity, which are fundamental rights. Yes, we have all taken pictures of people who were unaware of it, or we were unaware of it ourselves and discovered that we had captured the image of a stranger who just happened to be there. That is quite understandable in most people's eyes, I believe.

I certainly find other people fascinating when I am out and about, for instance at a tourist attraction, and I enjoy observing  them as they are being absorbed by the the beauty of something, or they are reading a sign with interesting facts and their faces sometimes reveal their reactions and feelings. In such situations, I have to confess, I find it very difficult to resist taking a photograph secretly. But I am very reluctant to use it on my blog, because I am not absolutely certain where to draw the line.

When it comes to children the issue gets even more important and emotionally charged. I understand that most countries have laws that are extra restrictive to protect children, and we have all seen blurred faces or "headless" children on TV for instance. So you can imagine how hard I found it to take some interesting pictures at the Weltkindertag yesterday! I ended up with lots of abstract pictures and other unobtrusive pictures.

I have however managed to collect some harmless pictures to illustrate the event in Cologne yesterday. You will have to imagine the rest! (Do you find this issue tricky, how intrusive you can be with your camera?)

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Protege said...

I think I can understand how difficult it must be to know when to share pictures of strangers.;)
I also do understand your fascination in observing our surroundings, whether is is people or nature, and their interaction with each other.
The pictures here are very intriguing and interesting.;)

swenglishexpat said...

Protege - Maybe I am too cautious. In the UK it is rather strict, perhaps not here in Germany. As long as you do not set out to intimidate, bully or in any other way harm the person, but to show an interesting face, situation or action, can it be so bad? I don't know. Perhaps I should find out exactly what the law says in various countries. Google!

Veronica said...

It is, I think, a sad reflections of our world if we can't take photos of (particularly) innocence at play without them being thought of as perhaps "tainted" - I have similar photos of children which are gorgeous and I took them to record the joy. Ah well, I guess, sadly, that is our world.

swenglishexpat said...

Veronica - In particular if you are a man, it could be regarded as suspicious, which feels insulting and unfair having worked with young people nearly all my life. I really should try to find out about what the law says in the countries concerned.

LadyFi said...

Lovely shots. Love the skeleton balancing on the plank!

I do agree with you that we should not publish photos of people without their permission.

I never ever put up any pics of my kids or kids I know on the Internet and would be extremely angry if someone else did so.

LadyFi said...

Just read the other comments. It's not that the pictures of kids are tainted, but that people from the Internet use them on paedophile sites and porn sites and the like... That's why we must all exercise caution!

swenglishexpat said...

LadyFi - Thank you, that skeleton might turn up in another post btw.

I asked my son before I put up pictures of my grandchildren the first time, and got his approval, but I am rather particular which ones I use.

Veronica said...

oh and ps ...
while you were in Cologne, my friends would have been putting down the river nearby; can't see their little "boat."

swenglishexpat said...

Veronica - Maybe I missed them just because they went downstream, and the current is very strong. They did not come "gently down the stream" but at breakneck speed!