Don’t shoot the children
I have been photographing a lot of educational establishments lately. It is great fun and hugely rewarding. Modern schools are such lively and refreshing spaces, so different to my own memories. As a parent
it is a great pleasure and a privilege to gain an insight into the places our children spend so much time.
Although the architecture is my primary subject, the presence of people in some of the images helps bring a human aspect to the photography. The schools, children’s centers and nurseries I have worked in have been rightly concerned to assure the highest standards of safeguarding. As a school governor in Suffolk I have all enhanced disclosure CRB/DBS checks and have completed the Suffolk Education Safeguarding course which all education staff are obliged to complete. However, the responsibility of a photographer goes much further than this.
I take great care over who has access to our images. I gain written approval for every image before it is passed to the client. I always blur out children full names if they happen to appear in the background and it is not uncommon to have to forgo an image that would be great to use because the necessary consents are not fully in place. Though it may be painful sometimes, it is never a hard decision to delete an image we can’t use. I know that one slip-up could damage the trust my clients have in me beyond repair.
It is common for children at playtime to clamor to have their photos taken when I am working in the school grounds but I have to resist this not just for safeguarding purposes – once you photograph a few – they all want their photo taken and time is always short.