No photos?

Are our public places being made private by stealth? One of them is acting like it has.

Down the Brow past where John F Kennedy Heights used to be.
Down the Brow past where John F Kennedy Heights used to be.
To the new Greatie.
To the new Greatie.

It’s been the ‘new’ Greatie since it was moved into its compund a year ago. I came to visit on its opening day. Today will turn out to be my final visit here. You’ll find out why soon.

Before tht it was Liverpool's oldest street market, all the way along the road here.
Before that it was Liverpool’s oldest street market, all the way along the road here.
Closed off now.
Closed off now.
Part of a site.
Part of a site.
Where ‘External Market Trading’ certainly won’t be allowed.
All sort of corporates will be here. But it won't be Greatie.
All sort of corporates will be here. But it won’t be Greatie.

Noticing in passing that the building of the new stuff is proceeding very slowly, if at all, I walk along to see how Greatie is doing in its new home.

Reasonably busy I'd say.
Reasonably busy I’d say.

PAYF - 33PAYF - 34PAYF - 35PAYF - 36PAYF - 37Lasy year I remember complaints about it being cramped, about there not being enough room for all the stall holders, and fears all the rents would be hiked up.

Today I’d have to say people seemed fairly content.

But is it still Great?
But is it still Great?

Not really. I always thought of Great Homer Street Market as a great swaggering beast of of a thing, something a little edgy. Well inevitably, in its compound, that’s gone and been replaced with something tame and a bit nervous. Nervous about being photographed for one thing.

As I’m walking around this public place taking these photos I’m twice approached about what I’m doing. The first, a stallholder, asks to see the photos. I show him and he seems happy enough. Not sure what he was expecting other than pictures of Greatie? Next I’m approached on behalf of ‘the management.’ Not the manager herself who stands a little way off, but a pleasant enough man who nevertheless tells me I can’t take photos ‘without the Council’s permission.’ That this is ‘private Council property.’ I quietly tell him my opinions about this nonsense, and how my photos are not for profit and are part of a blog I’ve been building about life in Liverpool for several years now –  and give him my card so they can go and see the photos I’ve taken ‘without permission’ when they’re published.

As I walk away I take another one!
And as I walk away I take another one, obviously.
There'll be no more though.
There’ll be no more though.

I think markets are really important and I like them much more than corporate shops that are much the same wherever you go. Markets feel like and often sum up the places where they are. That magnificent market in the middle of Leeds for example. I photograph them all and love encouraging other people to go to them. And I’ve never been seen off before! So I doubt I’ll be back at this one.

Great Homer Street Market a private place? What absolute nonsense.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. I was driving along there the other week Ronnie and thought’ where’s the market? then I saw it and carried on driving…It has lost it’s sense of place….keep the photo’s coming.

  2. The proper legal definition of “a public place” is “a place to which the public are admitted without charge”. the owner of a public place may place restrictions on the use of photographs taken there, i.e. they could say that commercial use – itself a very specific instance – should not be made of any photographs taken without prior approval. “Commercial use” excludes the use of a picture for news purposes or reporting (such as in a blog). This is known as “editorial use”, and even if you get paid for editorial use (say, by a newspaper – although this is a rare occurrance these days!), that does NOT make it a commercial use. Commercial use is purely in connection with advertising, sale to a stock agency, or with the sale of a photograph for use in a magazine article or book not directly connected with the instance at hand.

    If i were faced with that situation as an amateur photographer, I would be firing off a stiff note to the council asking to see the byelaw under which photography is banned. (Of course, I’m not just an amateur, but that’s another matter and has no bearing on this argument.) As you rightly said in your blog, people taking selfies or otherwise using their mobiles to take photographs are unlikely to be challenged, so there’s an element of discrimination taking place here.

    A lot of people have very vague and misguided ideas about the rights that ownership confers when it comes to photography, and the freedom to photograph anything in a public place. Sadly, that seems to extend to that particular employee.

    1. Thanks for these detailed thoughts Robert and for making the legal position so clear, and what is and isn’t ‘commercial use.’ I shall continue to photograph what interests me with impunity!

  3. Way to go, Ronnie. Your photos along with your excellent writing are what make your blog so interesting, informative, provocative and ‘real’. Your blog would not be your blog without your photos. Don’t be compromised by a ‘job’s worth’!

    1. Thank you Lindsay, didn’t even stop me on the day! But it has removed this version of Greatie from my inner list of ‘good things about Liverpool’ so I won’t be encouraging others to go there. All thanks to the officious management.

  4. Being stooped from taking photos has happened to me a few times Ron, but not too often. I was taking photos of a market place(might have been Stanley market) about 20 years ago and some stall holders weren’t happy. It’s probably because they are working there illegally and do not wish to be recognised in case the photo appears in the papers,etc. Another time, I was taking some candid shots down at the Pier Head by the ice cream van, and an off duty policeman went berserk and whipped out his police badge and started shouting and raving at me. I tried to explain I was into street photography but he didn’t listen/want to know. Quite upsetting at the time. Nowadays, I still take candids but usually with the folded screen/monitor on my camera turned up and camera at about chest high.

  5. In my experience, market folk have always been a little twitchy about cameras, not just at Greatie. I took some photos there last year before the move but made several visits first and chatted to stall holders without taking any photos and gave them my contact details to build trust. It’s a difficult one I guess.

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