Photography is more exciting now than ever before, but at a time when photographers? rights to take pictures in public are increasingly being challenged, says Labour MP Austin Mitchell.

Speaking at the opening of the Jessops All Party Parliamentary Photographic Exhibition Mitchell told invited guests: ?Photography has become the real, genuine, people?s art.?

He said this comes as photography?s popularity soars with the rise of digital technology and camera phones.

But Austin once again condemned the attitude of police and other officials who challenge photographers? rights to take photographs in public.

His words prompted cries of support from guests who included politicians and members of the media, in the Upper Waiting Room of the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, Austin welcomed the mass of support from fellow MPs for his Early Day Motion (EDM) on the subject lodged in the House of Commons last month.

The EDM has, so far, attracted signatures from more than 130 MPs.

Austin’s office told Amateur Photographer that he has received many messages of support from members of the public since the EDM was tabled.

Austin also confirmed plans to raise the issue with a government minister and hopes to include a representative from Amateur Photographer magazine in a ‘delegation’ to visit the Home Office.

MPs winning honours in the year?s Jessops-sponsored photo contest were: Tim Loughton, Colin Challen and Austin Mitchell.

Those clinching success from the House of Lords were Lord Crathorne, Lord Dholakia and former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.

Austin Mitchell chairs the All Party Parliamentary Photographic Group.

? The issue of photography and police was last week covered by the BBC, online and on TV. Amateur Photographer‘s news editor Chris Cheesman appeared on BBC Breakfast last Friday to discuss the growing number of incidents involving photo enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists is due to meet the Met police to discuss police treatment of photojournalists following reports of clashes during the recent Olympic torch relay in London. A meeting which was originally scheduled for last Thursday has been postponed until this week

Picture credit: Lord Robertson

Lord Robertson


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