More than just a simple Selfie with a Horse
A horse has sprang to fame by being one of the subjects in a Thomson Holiday photographic competition, but it is not the cute and comical image that has caught the attention of the news but the apparent possible ramblings and actions between the horses owners, the horse and the other subjects in the photograph.
One of the subjects, the father Mr Bellis has been slammed as "shameful and stupid" by the horse's owners after a photo of their grinning horse photobombing a selfie with his toddler. Mr Bellis submitted the photograph into the Thomson Holiday "Make Us Smile" photo competition and incidentally won them a £2,000 holiday.
But the simple reason for the wrath comes from a fact that he did not have the horse owner’s consent beforehand.
Mr Bellis says that he and his three-year-old son had taken the photo together enjoying a walk in Prestatyn, North Wales, when a horse suddenly popped up in the background smiling and even sticking out his tongue. Unsurprisingly, Mr Bellis realised the comedic potential and took the photograph.
But why is there anger because of this post? Well, according to social media the horse's owners found out about the man winning a holiday by using their horse, they then decided that that was grossly unfair. The owners even went on then to demand half of the winnings as a token of "gratitude".
So, there is my "reporting" of the story. Now I get to speak my mind.
Firstly, a simple bit of research from the owners part would have informed them of their rights. In legal and in courtesy terms.
Where Mr Bellis was walking and from where the photograph was made was on a public walkway. And there is no need for the photographer to get any permission to picture any property owned by the owner, including the horse.
So why would Mr Bellis need to be courteous to the owner? He doesn't. Courtesy is subjective to the point where he could have shared half of his winnings with the owners or simply informing the owners that their horse was involved in a prize photograph. But, he did not need to be courteous or thankful at all.
The outraged owners uninformed and self-entitlement brings upon quite dangerous precedents and laws when it comes to photography.
One such instance was the Freedom of Landscape bill that was floating around the EU for the past few years. If it was passed it would make it illegal to feature any copyrighted image in any photograph without getting the owners permission. In that effect that it would leave billions of photographers liable for prosecution simply by taking photographs and videos of monuments, buildings, features and landscapes of any city in Europe.
Another such instance is what the French call Right to Private Imagery. In this such instance it is only through the subjects consent that their photograph can be taken. It is used because of a belief that their (the subject) image can be used to break an anonymity and their private life which separates them from their public life. Other rights upon images is also mentioned in French Law but none of these include property or indeed animals.
But Thomson have granted that Mr Bellis and his son can still go on the holiday besides the protest of the horse's owners and their friends on social media.
Speaking after being told the prize is still theirs Mr Bellis said:“I would also like to say I hope the family affected by this are OK as I am a family man myself and never meant any harm when we took the photo. We never thought it would cause any issues for anyone."
And it never should be.