I've got a big dot on my forehead. Please don't take my picture
Just as Leica is busy removing the red dot from the face of the M10-P, festival goers in the Netherlands are being encouraged to put a red dot on their foreheads. It’s just another wacky idea following the introduction of the GDP regulations in May this year. It is actually probably nothing to do with GDPR, just another overreaction to the new fetish for control.
According to the organisers of the Haarlem Culinary festival, visitors are fair game for photographers unless they put a large red dot on their forehead. The presence of the red dot indicates that you do not give your permission to be photographed.
Already, I’ve noticed an increasing reluctance among strangers — especially visitors to events such as the Bièvres Photo Fair which I touched on back in June — to have their pictures taken. Photographers are now a lot warier than they were and I am not alone in now feeling inhibited. I definitely take fewer pictures of faces than I did in the past. This is a pity because I enjoy street photography and this new emphasis on default privacy makes things difficult.
It has always been generally accepted that if you are in public you are part of the scenery and can be photographed.
This would appear to be no longer clear, and antics such as the red dottery at Haarlem are symptoms of an increasing problem for photographers. Eventually, I suppose, we will be restricted to still-life compositions and inoffensive landscapes, having pixel peeped carefully to airbrush out any individuals wearing a red dot. It is fortunate the old cars and motorcycles have no rights in the matter.
Of course, this is an overreaction. It could be called dotty. I cannot imagine people wearing red dots on their foreheads just in case they should happen to pass the lens of a photographer while out in town. Nevertheless, the mere fact that the organisers can come up with such a daft idea is worrying. It won’t be long before some idiot suggests we should all wear a coloured dot if we do want to be photographed.
But see our translation of the relevant blog post from Haarlem below. Note the final sentence: “In addition, thanks to all the enthusiasm with which this has been received, we have started to give this action an even clearer face and put it on the map of the legislator. More madness….
As a sequel, the same festival organisers have discovered that the red dot on the forehead could be offensive to certain groups. I could have told them that before they started. Now they are thinking of a white dot, hoping that no one will think it odd or be offended by it. They might also be advised to steer clear of yellow dots and pink dots Come to think of it, why not a triangle? It's more emphatic than a dot and would be sure to offend even more people.
Een stip = geen foto
What the organisers said
"Since January of this year, we have been increasingly asking ourselves whether we are doing all right. Our events, our websites, photos, video; every time we run against the new AVG / GPDR legislation. In other words, how do we process personal data?
"During the Haarlem Culinair, we made a small adjustment in our house rules. If you do not want to be recognisable in images on photos and videos taken during the event, we offer the possibility of sticking a red dot on the forehead so that we can make these people unrecognisable when checking the photos…..
"Now that Bubbles & Bites is already on the doorstep from 24 to 26 August, we have also introduced a similar expansion in the house regulations. From that moment on, the phone was red hot. Media, internet experts and fellow organisers wanted to know everything. There was also a considerable discussion on the internet with purely positive feedback. In these discussions too, the lack of clarity of the new legislation often emerged.
"Several times, we were reminded of people who have a red dot on the forehead from a religious background. That is why from now on - and Bubbles & Bites has the scoop - we will offer a white dot instead of red dots.
"In addition, thanks to all the enthusiasm with which this has been received, we have started to give this action an even clearer face and put it on the map of the legislator….."
- Subscribe to Macfilos for free updates on articles as they are published
- Want to comment on this article but having problems?