Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

Memories Lost Forever

As if we don’t have enough to contend with, users of Studland Beach are now plagued by drones flying overhead (Daily Mail article, 27 July 2015).

A Studland United Naturist spokesperson told the Daily Mail journalist that several beach users heard the drone flying over the naturist area and they were concerned about this new invasion of privacy. It was feared that a camera had been attached to the drone and there were concerns about where any material taken would end up.

These small, unmanned remotely piloted vehicles (for heaven’s sake do call them models) can be bought and operated by anyone. The days when the only thing people had to worry about was when someone waved a box brownie in the wrong direction have long gone. Back then the worst thing that could happen was ending up as a mystery in the background of a picture of Auntie Joan.

There are rules about drone operations, enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority and the National Trust, who own Studland, have a strict policy that photography requires their prior permission. It strikes me however that the drone has circumvented National Trust’s policy and there is little the authorities can do to prevent it. Any action they may take will be long after the damage had been done.

But have we not been here before, when cameras first appeared on our mobiles? Naturist venues around the world banned any form of photography. So to prevent a few idiotic perverts they have punished everyone.

Am I being over dramatic there? I don’t think so. Let me explain why.

It is not difficult to find pictures of naturists on the web, if not on dedicated websites like naturistbeach.com, on social media and often posted themselves. This makes nonsense of the ban at clubs and other naturist venues. Besides, if anyone really sat down and thought about it, there are so many pictures on the Internet what are the chances that yours will be found?

Now we have this new ‘threat’, the drone. To be fair, many of them have either a camera attached or it is already built in so the potential for illicit photographs is there. But isn’t Studland – like any other open space – a public place. Nowhere in the UK is completely remote, so aren’t the chances of being seen comparatively high? So I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. The fear they have is irrational. Yes, a picture of you might end up on the Internet. So what if you are.

If you think your bosses are trawling the Internet every night looking for ‘naughty’ pictures of you then you’re sadly mistaken. And what if you are found. It might be because they are naturists too. On the other hand, if it is a porn site your worried about then perhaps you should ask them why were they accessing such a site in the first place? Then there is the “Right to be Forgotten” under EU Law, if you discover it first. Then again, I don’t suspect you’re trawling the Internet for illicit pictures of yourself either.

So we are back to the irrational fear of pictures of you ending up on the Internet and seen by others all, if not most, of whom don’t know you.

Not so long ago, I  had the pleasure of reading Iseult Richardson’s book No Shadows Fall and in it there are photographs of the entire Macaskie family, some showing Iseult and her sisters as children growing up into womanhood. This is a book about her life, as much as it is about her parents and the history of Spielplatz. If there were no photographs, would the book still be as interesting? Perhaps, but no biography of a person, a family or of a place is complete, unless there are pictures that help to illustrate the story being unfolded.

We are currently marking the centenary of events that occurred between 1914 and 1918. There is no one alive today who can tell us first hand what the trenches of the western front were like, or what it was like for those left behind on the home front. We can only gain an idea, with the pictures taken then worth ‘a thousand words’, if not more, today. Without them, we’d have very little to stir the imagination, to provoke debate. It is not we, who pays the price of our irrational fear of being photographed. It is the future generations who will not see what the past was like, with naturism accepted by many more people than they can imagine. Will today’s children remember a happy holiday at a naturist campsite in 10 or 20 years time without photographic prompt?

I am not saying that without photography, naturism will die but it will be harder to show that the human body is not shameful, or lewd, because it has no clothes on.

5 Responses to Memories Lost Forever

  • This is a great article, Reg, and I for one completely endorse all you say. This is yet another aspect of our increasingly ever-changing world that we simply have to get used to.

    It certainly won’t stop me nuding outdoors; the thought that someone out there would go to all that trouble to take a few distant (overhead?) shots of my portliness fills me with mirth.

    However, its families with small kids that may find this development most uncomfortable and that, together with a further loss of privacy for all, is what makes this such a social nuisance. And I’m sure that there are others that prefer to protect their privacy for personal or other reasons, and they have every right to do so.

    There is not a lot to be done short of shooting the confounded ‘models’ out of the sky – not a suggestion as its outside the law, but it does conjure up a certain self-satisfaction. Hopefully, those who perpetrate these anti-social activities, as with those creeps, self-gratifiers and meerkats who give nudist beaches bad names, will eventually realise that the photos and vids aren’t that great anyway and this will tail off.

    As with photography generally at naturist venues, challenging the perpetrators if they can be discovered may also bring results, but in the meantime I fear that this is something we may have to get used to.

    Any kite fliers out there who would like to protect their naturist patches? Any barrage balloons available anywhere? Now there’s a business idea for someone…

  • copied from somewhere, credit to source but I know not where (please delete if inappropriate):

    It is considered bad practice to fly over people, vehicles or near property which isn’t in your control, the CAA recently reminded UAV flyers in the UK they are breaking the law if they don’t adhere to the following rules:

    • An unmanned aircraft must never be flown beyond the normal unaided ‘line of sight’ of the person operating it. This is generally measured as 500m horizontally or 400ft vertically.
    • An unmanned aircraft fitted with a camera must always be flown at least 50m distance away from a person, vehicle, building or structure.
    • An unmanned aircraft fitted with a camera must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert.

    The CAA doesn’t consider the breach of the law as trivial and recently proved this by winning a court case against a UAV hobbyist: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/02/uk-first-drone-conviction

    The Phantom being a fully fledged UAV (we don’t like the word drone), is listed as it should be, as being for sale to over 18’s only, yet it is incorrectly categorised as a toy.

    To date the Phantom has primarily been available via specialised RC (Radio Controlled) and video specialists which provide detailed advice and support so customers don’t harm themselves or others.

    Without properly trained staff selling to the public, incidents like this will occur. Hopefully following this incident, Maplins will fully train all its staff rather than point the finger at one individual who likely was unaware of the risks and laws.

    Anyone in any doubt about if the Phantom is a toy, should watch this recent video (warning: shows blood and injuries): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji3Hii_LZOc

    The Hudderfield Examiner has since reported on the incident here (albeit they’ve used a photo of the much smaller Hubsan in error): http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/huddersfield-firm-fall-foul-civil-7125987

  • I am not suggesting the improper use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) should not be investigated as there have been at least two incidents where they have been flown too close to airliners on their final approach, putting the lives of all on board at risk. I can imagine, however in an age of restricted budgets, there is a need to prioritise and to decide how much effort to put into each incident. I know which one I’d rather the police – or whoever – investigate. We also need to realise, on most occasions, this will be after the incident has occurred, so the damage is already done. Lets hope that none of these investigations will EVER involve the recovery of dead bodies. The possible infringement of someone’s privacy pales in comparison.

  • An air rifle might solve the problem!

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