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To children or not to children?

Praia de Luz, Algarve @ 2010.07.02 20:53

Praia de Luz, Algarve @ 2010.07.02 20:53

This is one of the pictures I shot during a fantastic sunset at Praia de Luz in Algarve on the southern coast of Portugal this summer. There were families eating together at the beach restaurants , there were children playing on the beach. Nothing special about this.

I did a lot of pictures with my unobtrusive EP-1 and the fantastic, new 9-18 wideangle zoom lens. Taking pictures of the beach, the beach furniture, the sunset, and – of course – the children were a part of it all.

After having finished both the shooting and my dinner I was approached by two Portuguese men who demanded to have my camera to remove all pictures on the card. The reason? I had been taking pictures of children. I naturally refused and it then turned into a very nasty experience. I was attacked physically and had to seek refugee in a public bar (suddenly nobody was able to speak English).

After what seemed like a long while, I had no choice but to call the local police and ask for protection. The police arrived, they asked their questions and then agreed to drive me home to my hotel. They did, however, tell me that it was forbidden to photograph children in public places in Portugal.

Does anyone know if this is really the case? I do, of course, know, that I should be careful and ask for permissions when photographing people, and especially children. These photos were, however, landscape photos shot with a wide-angle. None of the children were distinguishable.

(Afterwards I was informed that Praia de Luz was the place where the 4-year old Madeleine McCann was abducted(?) in 2007, this may explain some of the reactions, but I still think the reactions were over the top)

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