>I was in Regent’s Place the other day, that large British Land development on the Euston Road.
I took out my camera and took this little scrap of footage.
It is Julian Opie’s “Ruth Walking in Jeans” one of a number of pieces of contemporary art commissioned for the development including an Anthony Gormley and a Gary Webb.
14 seconds after I started I was very politely asked by a security guard to stop filming, as apparently no photography is allowed on-site. “Security Reasons” were the weighty words invoked to justify his request. Are “Security Reasons” now the new “Health and Safety”, both phrases being often used to justify the unjustifiable and the laughable?
How on earth can a shot of an Anthony Gormley or a Julian Opie put anybody at risk?
I may be naive but surely if the security of British Land’s tenants really is being put at risk by people taking photos of the public art that they have chosen to display on their walls, then why on earth did they decide to strew such highly visible objects throughout their development? Was it simply to smooth the planning process?
And is the work being done at Regent’s Square peculiarly important, high-profile or vulnerable to attack? More so even than Parliament, Buckingham Palace,MI5 and MI6 (none of whom object to photos being taken of their buildings)?
Have the photos they have on their own website here had special security clearance?
Of course Regent’s Place is not the only new development in London to have a no photography policy. I have also been asked to stop snapping public art in Sheldon Square, Paddington, again for “Security Reasons”.
I abhor this trend. If developers are given planning permission, partly on the basis of commissioning new public art and enhancing community facilities, then the people who use these facilities should be able to take photos of the art. I wonder if the planners are aware of, or care that, some developers become so camera shy when they have completed their projects?