Phil Bradley 12:27am, 21 November 2009
Members may be interested to note that I got a phonecall to my home this evening from the Manager of Brookwood Cemetery warning/advising me to remove my images of the Cemetery from Flickr.

As the cemetery is privately owned it's necessary to purchase a £20 a day permit to photograph there - a fact of which I was previously unaware, though it is stated at the entrance to the cemetery. As it is private land I'm pretty sure that they're able to make this condition, although how easy it would be to enforce is another matter entirely.

I only had about half a dozen images from there in my Flickr stream, so it's not a particular issue for me, and none of them were favourites in any way, but if you do have specific images taken at Brookwood without a permit you might wish to consider what you do with them, or the approach that you take in case you are contacted.

I'll copy this posting across to other cemetery groups, so apologies if you see this more than once, but I think it's worth posting widely.
_barb_ 7 years ago
I wish they'd show a bit more generosity with non commercial use.
-ytf- PRO 7 years ago
Perhaps it is also unwise to use your real name on Flickr.
willowdawn 7 years ago
But how would they know if you had purchased the permit or not? I purchase permits to shoot in Cathedrals on a regular basis - but don't save my permits after I leave. I couldn't prove that I paid... this just seems odd to me.
inetjoker PRO 7 years ago
Just like the permit I got at the Cairo Museum... I payed my 5 pounds off I went... all they gave me was this little stub.
Phil Bradley 7 years ago
YTF - I don't have a problem with using my own name, and I link to a lot of my stuff via my site/Facebook/Twitter.

With regards permits - he may well actually keep a list of who/when and try and link back to data via the EXIF info. on an image, so I think you do have a point if you've taken out a permit as 'John Smith' and then post as ytf for example.

It's also not just me anyway - he's contacted other people via email as well, so if you did get a permit there it might be an idea to keep it. Or alternatively, just not visit!
mfophotos PRO 7 years ago
geez, people must be dying to get in there. Sounds like the guy has way too much free time.
inetjoker PRO 7 years ago
Or he got info you don't want freely going... watch your tags....
Whipper_snapper PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Whipper_snapper (member) 7 years ago
Thanks for the tip Phil I was considering Brookwood for next year...

I just found this:

I have posted links to this subject on a few cemetery groups which I belong to.
Yersinia 7 years ago
Hmm. I wonder about photos taken before they introduced the charge.

The page Barry links to says copyright 2007, updated 2009. I have photos in my stream taken in 2006, and didn't notice any signs back then. I can't be sure that there weren't, of course.
Whipper_snapper PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Whipper_snapper (member) 7 years ago
Good point Yersinia.

I am a member of the Surrey county group so I have added a link there as well.
Phil Bradley 7 years ago
I checked the website going back to 2001, and it does state that photographs of graves may not be taken without permission of the grantee, countersigned by the company. Of course the term 'grave' may or may not be the same as tombstone or monument, but we're getting into pedantry at this point.
nuszka Posted 7 years ago. Edited by nuszka (member) 7 years ago
Private is private. I try not to take photographs of the text on gravestones as they are personal, but I don't always manage it.

Some of the restrictions on photographers, the bbc photographer being stopped on the south bank last week for example, should be streniously resisted, but in the case of a cemetery, I belive it is fair. Perhaps it's a bit of a cash cow, but nobody buys a plot in a grave yard as a backdrop to our creative urges.
Atget's Apprentice 7 years ago
At last, someone other than undertakers has found a way of making money from the dead.
Sighthound 7 years ago
That's IT.. I refuse to get buried anywhere that won't let people photograph my grave without paying.
To Become Immortal, and Then Die [deleted] 7 years ago
mfophotos says:
geez, people must be dying to get in there

DarkScribe Posted 7 years ago. Edited by DarkScribe (member) 7 years ago
I have been photographing graves and headstones since my teenage years. Only recently have I had a problem with various authorities demanding a permit - usually requiring a fee.

I ask if the ground is consecrated - most graveyards are - and if they answer in the affirmative I tell them that I will only stop if the Bishop requests me to. I let them know that I already have his permission and politely but firmly refuse any request to cease photographing and inform them that I will happily see them in court if that is what they wish. I have been threatened with prosecution or law suits a number of times but it has never happened. Usually they either know the law regarding consecration of graveyards and leave me alone, or become puzzled as to why the Bishop should be involved.

I do in fact request permission of the Bishops when intending to photograph graves in an area - Catholic and various Protestant denominations and it has never been refused yet, although it is often accompanied by advice regarding respect and ensuring that care is taken not to disturb others. The local Bishop is the ultimate authority with regard to consecrated ground - regardless of who owns it.
Simon_K PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Simon_K (member) 7 years ago
These people are having a laugh, aren't they? Have you read the Rules & Regulations? My favourite is number 22: Dogs are not permitted in the cemetery, unless they are guide dogs or dogs for the deaf. Any dog found in the cemetery will be confiscated.

I notice from the bottom of the page that it is obviously a family concern:
Managing Director: Erkin Guney
Senior Manager: Melanie Guney
Directors: Alev Kanli, Erkin Guney, Gonul Guney, Gulen Guney, Onder Guney

I wonder who the one is with all the time on his hands?

Phil, in his original post, wrote: I only had about half a dozen images from there in my Flickr stream, so it's not a particular issue for me, and none of them were favourites in any way, but if you do have specific images taken at Brookwood without a permit you might wish to consider what you do with them, or the approach that you take in case you are contacted.

I wouldn't remove them. The £20 charge they make is for photography, not for later publication on flickr. The offence has already been committed. Taking your photographs off of flickr won't change that. I think I would just reply Oops, sorry, thanks for telling me mate and then leave it at that.
superstarsphotos 7 years ago
I am sorry (and ban me for it if you have) but all of that is such BS.
And not the regular BS format! Nooooooo! King Size BS!

file under anything 4 a buck, and us stupid photographers, will dish out hard earn money to these clowns......Did the people that RIP over there have paid to do so? Yes, so I believe it's none of the cemetery people business to charge sort of a "Photo Tax" to shoot . who do they think they are? Seems to me that they think they are the Government finding new ways to come and pick our pockets. I'll repeat it again Such BS!

It follows the same logic as to say that if i pay and park my car on a private property, the owner of the parking lot can stop someone trying to do a photo of my car, unless he purchase a permit!

We should fight and boycott these ass H**e as they are obviously set rules so they can make more Money from the death industry.
Even in France where one of the most often visited "all Strars Cemetery exist "The Pere La Chaise one, i had the chance to shoot amazing shots over there don't charge for a Phoney Photographers permit!
Convict J-man 7 years ago
Not sure what the laws are there, but rly?
That crap wouldn't fly here. I doubt it's enforceable there (or in any developed country).
Simon_K PRO 7 years ago
It isn't enforceable here, but it is annoying...
johnncox PRO 7 years ago

You don't have to candy-coat your sentiments or couch your opinions in PC talk. Just let us know what you really think and don't worry about feelings getting hurt. Were all friends here.
tj.moore Posted 7 years ago. Edited by tj.moore (member) 5 years ago
Fairly sure that photography on private land, permitted or not, does not assign copyright or ownership to the land owner. Whilst they can tell you to "get orf my land" and confiscate a camera, once you're off the land it's tough.

I'd say if you get a demand to remove the photos, tell them you'll see them in court, or at least demand where there is copyright infringement.

Let's just hope Yahoo! aren't like Google who remove content from YouTube just because a company claims (incorrectly) copyright infringement without evidence.

Simon_K - Check out some of the news surrounding Mr. Guney and the cemetery.
alohadave 7 years ago
Whilst they can tell you to "get orf my land" and confiscate a camera, once you're off the land it's tough.

Can anyone who is not a police officer confiscate private property in the UK? In the US, only the police can do that, and only as part of a criminal investigation. They also cannot delete the pictures without a judge's order or it is evidence tampering or destroying evidence.

If you are on private property, the owner has the right to stop you from taking any more pictures after they discover that you are taking pictures, but they have no right to make you remove pictures taken up to that point (again in the US).
TheDamnMushroom Posted 7 years ago. Edited by TheDamnMushroom (member) 7 years ago
Seems to me the cemetary could stop you from taking pictures while you are there, but hasn't the right/ability to tell you to delete them from Flickr once they're here.

Do what you see fit, but consult your local legal eagles as to whether the cemetary could take you to court for continuing to display those photos... I suspect they have no recourse, the extent of their rights is within their physical boundaries -- not the Internet. They didn't "catch" you in their jurisdiction.
peejayk PRO 7 years ago

"Brookwood Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7 November 1854 and opened to the public on 13 November 1854. "
Atget's Apprentice 7 years ago
If I ever go there, I'll stand outside and take pictures over the wall, through the gate or the fence.
W9JIM PRO 7 years ago
@alohadave - Here in the Good 'Ol USA, the police do not have the right to confiscate your camera, either.
Fred255 Photography PRO 7 years ago
I too have have a note from him asking me to remove this one or he will take legal action against me.
ratsal adsand 7 years ago
It seems symptomatic of a poorly-run overstaffed nepotism factory that their staff spends so much time trolling Flickr to harass photographers with empty threats of legal action.

Their rights as private property owners extend to preventing access, or, if you decline to follow their rules, asking you to leave the premises.

If someone tries to tell you they will take legal action against you for posting a photograph, invite them to show you a lawyer or shut up. Their notes and letters are an intimidation technique designed to get you to do what they say. And if you obey them, they don't need a lawyer, or to be right, because they got their way anyway.

If someone tries to tell you they will confiscate your camera, film, or data, don't hand it over. If they forcibly take it from you, call the police, and then show them YOUR lawyer.

UK guide
US guide
Printable rights
More printable rights
Fred255 Photography PRO 7 years ago
Well said!
Simon_K PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Simon_K (member) 7 years ago
This goes without saying, but I hope this thread will strengthen the resolve of anyone contacted to at the very least totally ignore them.

I am actually making plans to visit Brookwood this spring, with the sole intention of taking lots of photographs for my flickr stream.
Fred255 Photography PRO 7 years ago
Contact me nearer the time I will be happy to join you.
Fred255 Photography PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Fred255 Photography (member) 7 years ago
necromancer2 7 years ago
Gravestones are not owned by the cemetery so the cemetery owner has no right to deny them being photographed.
Also if (as at Brookwood) the cemetery has been open to the public for over 12 years then their are established rights for the public to enter the cemetery.
It seems strange that the cemetery wants to receive public funds for renovation and maintenace but wishes to restrict public access.
Very sad AND very silly
ƒliçkrwåy PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by ƒliçkrwåy (member) 7 years ago
I live local to the cemetery and have taken the odd shot there - I think I have just the one on flickr which met with a favourable response by a couple of affected relatives.

I made another visit late January 2009 with the intention of photographing one, or at most a handful of memorials for my Picture-a-Day project. As I drove into the site I did notice the 'No Photography' sign which I think must have been fairly new - so I decided to be careful. I pulled up and reached over to my camera, but before opening the car door I noticed a white pick-up truck had parked behind me. Instinct told me to drove on, but I was cornered later (having taken a wrong turn and needing to reverse).

I was confronted by the managing director himself, Mr Erkin Guney. He had just taken a pic of my car, and with Lumix in hand sussed what I was up to and then went on to explain the situation.

He said he patrolled the site (which is large) five times a day and only allowed photography on a permit basis because some families could still be grieving. He suggested that families had seen memorials on flickr and objected to this. Consequently, he feels the need to control photography there, hence the permit. This permit does not allow you to upload here or elsewhere on the internet, and he does not want any images posted online.

He told me that the permit was granted in return for a donation (after I asked for the cost), and is only valid for a day.

Since he doesn't want images posted online, I doubt if I'll visit with my camera again, although he says he encourages photography (on his terms). I'll probably scour more churchyards if I want memorial photos - there are plenty out there!

On the subject of Phil receiving a phone call at home on the matter, I find this very bad form. How did he know your number Phil? Presumably you must have many namesakes!
He should have mailed you on flickr, or contacted flickr HQ.

Incidentally, the guy has an interesting story to tell.
Neil Weightman PRO 7 years ago
wenxue2222 PRO 7 years ago
What a vile situation. They claim to protect the rights of grieving relatives - unless you pay them £20 a day.

Disgusting money grubbing. Making money from the dead in that way. Hope they all decide to rise up and give the Guney family one hell of a haunting - perferably by taking photographs of them.

Maybe someone should contact the Bishop who consecated this ground and let him know what's going on. This is a most unchristian way to behave.

There are very good legitimate reasons for taking photos of old tombstones before age damages them badly. Geneology being the one that springs to mind. Because of a photograph of a tombstone from 1858, which is located 300 miles away from where I live, I got in contact with a distant relative and got to see the original will of our shared ancestor.
brookwoodcemetery 7 years ago
I have been interested to read the discussion posted here about Brookwood Cemetery's restrictions on photography. I'd like to clarify our reasons for having these restrictions in place:
1. Cemetery staff have to deal with complaints from families who are shocked to discover photographs of their family graves posted on the internet (and sometimes posted for sale).
2. It is bereaved families who have raised this as an issue with the cemetery management. We have a duty of care to those with loved ones buried at Brookwood.
3. Monies raised from permits is specifically paid into our Brookwood Cemetery Restoration Fund and used for restoration projects across the cemetery . This includes the cleaning of older memorials (which would otherwise be uncared for), although our most significant project to date has been the restoration of the lake in the Glades of Remembrance.
4. Despite our status as a Grade I Historic Park & Garden, Brookwood Cemetery currently receives no external funding support whatsoever. This means any work taking place in the cemetery has to be paid for out of income we generate from running and maintaining the cemetery.
5. All visitors to the cemetery should remember that if they visited (say) Kew Gardens or another historic attraction, they would expect to pay an entrance fee. We could argue you are exploiting the cemetery as a free photographic resource.
6. It is a courtesy to ask permission to take photographs when entering private property. Most photographers don't bother and don't feel they have any obligation to do so (as is clear from the discussion on Flikr). On behalf of grave owners, we disagree.
7. The cemetery has had restrictions on photography since its opening in 1854. The change in recent years has been that we have made these restrictions more explicit, in response to complaints from grave owners at Brookwood.
Erkin Guney
wenxue2222 PRO 7 years ago
I would hardly descibe a cemetary as being a "historic attraction" in the same way that Kew Gardens is. I stand by all I say above.

If you ask nicely for donations for the upkeep of the cemetary you may find people are more generous than you think as long as you are specific and clear as to where that money is going.

Photographers are rarely interested in recent memorials where there may still be living relatives. I have only ever heard interest expressed in the older graves.

I would have no issue with anyone taking photographs of my own grave or the graves of my own family or freinds because everyone that sees that tombstone speaks their name again - and as long as someone is thinking about you then you are never truly gone.

I have never been to this cemetary and I have no intention of doing so but every bit of me screams that this is commercial exploitation of the dead rather than the protection of them or their families.

Prove me wrong by changing your signs and permitting photography of graves more than say 40 years old. That would show you really did have the best interests of families at heart and you were not just in it for the money.

LondonGal 7 years ago

Um, same fellow? Would explain quite a lot.
The Polstar PRO 7 years ago
I was contacted by him also - and i've removed everything. It's a pity because Brookwood is a beautiful cemetery and I know that my photos have made people visit it.
I don't understand private ownership of cemeteries - however it is nothing new. Highgate have always charged a nominal fee for photography.
If this was done PURELY because the family members requested it I would understand - however I doubt that is true.
Unfortunately it just means that Brookwood is a cemetery i will never choose to visit again - a real pity.
wenxue2222 PRO 7 years ago
If someone sells you a permit to take photographs they have no control over what you then do with those photos. They can ask that you do not sell them for commercial purposes but they cannot stop you uploding them to wherever you please. If you take the photos you own the copyright and you can do what you want with them. Just because someone puts a term or condition in a contract (the permit) does not make that term or condition legally valid. A contract cannot override existing laws - in this case the copyright of the photos you take.
Neil Weightman PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Neil Weightman (member) 7 years ago
LondonGal: How does that explain anything? That page and the one listed earlier are all about a miscarriage of justice in which someone called Erkin Guney was incorrectly imprisoned and finally cleared. Leaving aside the issue that this could be a different Erkin Guney, what's the connection between that story and people being charged for taking photographs in a cemetery?

Edit: It seems like it is the same person. Here's the BBC News item about him being cleared.
wenxue2222 PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by wenxue2222 (member) 7 years ago
Same person or not the issue is not Mr Guney's character but charging for and restricting photography in this cemetary - I repeat my challenge to the management of this cemetary - prove it is the welfare of grieving relatives that concerns you (rather than the coins in your pocket) by allowing unlimited photography of graves more than 40 years old.

Edit: Does seem from the BBC report that the Guneys are making a lot of money out of something to have that much cash lying about - they really don't need to be charging this fee for photography at all.
Atget's Apprentice 7 years ago
Just a suggestion, but maybe it would be a good idea NOT to photograph Brookwood Cemetery, with or without a permit. That way, Mr Gurney will have nothing to complain about, and you won't be lining his pockets. There are plenty other historic graveyards that will be much more pleasant to deal with, I'm sure.
wenxue2222 PRO 7 years ago
I can promise you Mr Gurney will never see one penny of my hard earned cash :) However I reserve the right to take him to task on his dubious excuses and exploitation of the dead.
necromancer2 7 years ago
Seems to me the reply from the cemetery is pretty poor. They want to turn the cemetery into a prison for there own financial gain. The "restoration fund" is just another name for money spent on the cemetery, ie more profit for them.
To talk about Kew gardens is a joke, all the income there goes to running the garden not lining the pockets of ex cons (sorry miscarriage of justice! smoke and fire comes to mind)
No one is going to photograph the vulgar modern grave stones so it is very unl;ikely that any bereaved relatives are complaining.
This is just a moneymaking scam
Neil Weightman PRO 7 years ago
"There's no smoke without fire" is complete bullshit and you should be ashamed to use this pathetic argument.
Cobj04 7 years ago
Where is Brookwood Cemetery? By charging people to take pictures, they are making money off the people who are buried there. Most of them I am sure purchased their tombstone so I wonder what the families of the deceased think of that?
ratsal adsand 7 years ago
If the relatives are offended, let the relatives ask the photographers to take their photos down.

I can't really see someone being offended so badly that they would leave their computer (where they could easily contact the person who had posted the photo) and make the effort to contact the cemetery to complain.

That would be like finding a bone in your sandwich and complaining to the farmer who raised the chicken.
Gilli8888 PRO 7 years ago
The Brookwood reply stated " The cemetery has had restrictions on photography since its opening in 1854 " ... Oh really ?? The instigation of such a restriction in 1854 has to be applauded ( or possibly doubted ) for it's almost clairvoyant foreward thinking in as much as popular, easily achieved photography was barely possible at this time so it seems unlikely that any restrictive warnings would have been necessary. Wikipedia ( with it's well known degree of inaccuracy taken into account ) states that the first 'photographs' were taken in the early 1820's; these photographs involved the use of large items of photographic apparatus and toxic, liquid chemicals - possibly quite apt for taking photographs in a graveyard but not readily accesible to the fledgling everyday photographer. It was well into the late 1880's before any form of popular photography was available courtesy of Mr. Eastman and his photographic paper - or film as we now call it.
Anyway, enough history. I am firmly in the camp of those who have expressed their distate at this thinly veiled money making venture. It is absolutely ridiculous to threaten, cajole and harrass people who are doing something totally innocuous and innocent. If the relatives of those featured in any photographs have objections to their loved ones being the subject of a photograph then that's fair enough but in that case then let them make the request to remove the picture not the cemetery management. Good luck to those who have posted pictures and resisted any bullying to remove them; I suspect that no action will be taken against you and it is very unlikely that any court would uphold any such action if it was instigated.
Surely a memorial is just that, i.e. a means of remembering the dead. Taking a photo and putting it onto the internet is just an extension of that and means that that person's remembrance will go on even if the grave stone is destroyed, which happens all too often in the name of economic lawnmowing. We are not talking about prurient photos of corpses here and I cannot really see why anyone would object, I know I wouldn't. Owners of private graveyards are normally in it for the money: I've worked in a crematorium/cemetery and know just how far some will go to make a buck from a body - trust me, you don't want to know.
Incidentally, Highgate cemetery ask you not to take photos in their vaults even though there are no recent burials: not sure why.
jimgunnee 6 years ago
I've got a few pictures in my stream from Brookwood, and occasionally notice searches for "Brookwood Cemetery" or similar leading viewers to them. I guess they'll be in touch (especially now that I'm posting this here!)

Some information for anyone thinking of visiting - don't drive into the cemetery. Go by train to Brookwood - or park in the station car park. Also, a large part of the cemetery is war graves, owned and controlled by the Comonwealth War Graves Commission. You will not have a problem taking photos in any of the War grave areas.

As to the rest, the privatly owned bit... Well I have a family grave there that I visit occasionally, with my camera. Is anyone every going to tell me that I can't visit my family's grave? Or that I can't take photos of it?

There are a lot of people buried in this graveyard, that is still the largest in the UK. I expect you've got family buried there too.
artfulpurpose [deleted] 6 years ago
I've been thinning my group list by getting rid of those I never contribute to, or that don't have lively discussions. This discussion has secured my interest in this group.

I'm almost fifty, and for the first time in my life, I'm driven to start thinking about my own grave marker. I hope I shall have the resources to have "Free photography of this grave site permitted by all photographers," or some such actually on the stone itself.

I have actually felt a concern about treading on the berieved's feelings while taking pictures in a cemetery. So far I've not been accosted by anybody, though. I think if I were I'd offer to send them a copy of the picture for their personal use or something rather than get into a big argument at the time.
Hit me if I am wrong, but I have just read the statement made by Mr. Guney and No.2 states:

2. It is bereaved families who have raised this as an issue with the cemetery management. We have a duty of care to those with loved ones buried at Brookwood.

OK. If they have a duty to care for those with loved ones buried in Brookwood, then why is Mr. Guney & Co issuing permits. If you don't buy a permit, it is the duty of the management to stop you taking photos. But if you pay out a £20.00 fee, what happens to the duty of care then. Seems a bit contradictory doesnt it.

I also take photos in graveyards and have never as yet had any issue as this, and if it does happen, let them try and take my camera off me and it will be them that will need a grave.

Another thing, if my knowledge is correct, if the cemetary is private and is owned by Mr. Guney & Co then he will only own the perimeter fence, the buildings within it, and the land. People who are buried there own their own or family plot plus their headstone, so any fees paid should go to the relatives of those departed.

Concerning Photography laws, it seems a law that is not sure of its own rights. I know that you cannot take photographs on private land unless you ask permission of the owner, which is really a couteous thing to do, but you can take photographs of things in private land providing you are on the public side of the perimeter fence. Anywhere public you can take photographs and they are rightly your copyright. You can also take photos of people in a public place, but it is always polite to ask. If you ever get stopped by some pillock boasting authority to you, bash his/her ears with the photography law and they wont know what your talking about. If they are getting the better of you, plead ignorant, and dumb and just walk away. Amen
Charlie Keene Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Charlie Keene (member) 6 years ago
I can see this from both sides. As a photographer it is less than 24 hours since I was told off - again - for taking pics in a railway station, even though I had a ticket. But as a Funeral Director I can also see the cemetery's point of view. What is really needed is common sense on both sides. The owners need to be proportionate and the photographers sensitive.

Magical Moments, I guess Brookwood's duty of care' is that by issuing permits they know who has taken pics, so can mitigate if anything untoward happens with photos taken, ie they are used in ads or to deride or exploit the deceased or their memorial. Also the families only own a deed of grant for the grave, giving them the right to erect permitted memorials and to inter other family members in the grave. The 'freehold' of the grave remains with the cemetery owner. No deeds are issued for churchyards, that I know of.

Against the cemetery, I wonder what they would do about family members taking pictures of their own relatives' graves, and indeed stone masons who photograph memorials all the time.

The sensitivity issue is why I dislike people publishing pics of memorials with 'funny' names, spellings or designs. If a loved one of mine became the butt of someone's humour I would want to know that the people I pay thousands of pounds to for a grave are protecting me from such ridicule.

I suspect there is also the fear that pictures could be used to collect evidence of any incompetence or negligence by the owner.

If anyone has problems with belligerent cemetery owners they could contact the Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria Management ( ) for advice. Most cemetery authorities are members, including Brookwood Park Ltd.
13ft [deleted] 6 years ago
Really good of you Charlie to post this info and insight. Cheers.
jrmoyes10 6 years ago
I have received today what is probably a standard note from Mr Gurney. My photographs wereprovably taken in 1975 (the negatives are scanned in) and in fact they were taken with the witnessed oral permission of the cemetery staff I approached at that time. If Mr Gurney is right that the cemetery has had notices against photography since 1854, then no doubt I was remiss in not seeing them. However, I am prepared to stand upon the granted permission and if Mr Gurney is prepared to sue me then no doubt he will do so. His case would no doubt be that, notwithstanding that the pictures were taken with permission in 1975, I caused them to be published on Flickr in 2011. But then he would have to show that non-commercial internet posting is 'publishing'; show quantifiable damage that rises above the maxim 'De minimis non curat lex' (the law does not concern itself with trifles). But I have no wish to butt heads with Mr Gurney. In the interests of civility and compromise i have removed all reference to Brookwood from my photostream. Should he remain aggrieved, he will no doubt be contacting me in Cyprus.
Photodude05 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Photodude05 (member) 6 years ago
Actually the Cemetery can sue you for taking photos on their property sadly enough and or the family member that owns the plot of land.. Most all Cemetery's are on private property. If your taking photos of your own families stones or plots this is okay unless they have rules that tell you no cameras. Why is this illegal to take photos of other people's headstones is that you do not own them.

The Cemetery is there to maintain your families gravesites. Who pays for the area. The familes do. You have to pay for the plot of land which will house the deceased. The family is the one that owns this land and you are the property owner. Yes, it's known as your own property. Just like land you buy. Then you pay for the burial and for everything else. The upkeep of the area around your property is mowed and kept up due to the fact that is part of the contract you sign in the Cemetery when you buy your plot. The land you happen to be buying is in a Cemetery and yes, this is also a place to bury people. The family is the one who owns the area in which their family is being laid to rest. They can put plants there and make it a nice place and the Cemetery has to do the upkeep since this is part of the land agreement when you pay for it.

This is also like owning your own land, but it's not on a Cemetery. No one can come up and take a photo of your house without written consent and a property release form. Same at a Cemetery. If a church owns the Cemetery and they have rules yes you have to follow them or get sued. Pretty lame, but it's the law. If somene sees you taking photos and they ask you to stop and tell you your not allowed it's not allowed. You don't stand there and argue with them saying you have a right. As you can go to jail, have your camera taken away from you, and or be sued. Things that I would not want to be part of as it's not worth it.

If a non family member comes out and takes a photograph on your Property (Plot) actually if the family member can prove ownership of that plot they can sue the photographer and or the Cemetery that allows it to be posted online. Most people don't sue as this lands under a tricky type of law, but there is a law for it. Most people just ask for you to remove it, but if people do not yes they can go to court over it. They can win if they can prove this is their plot.

Most all properties when photographed need a Property Release form. This is also true when taking photos of someone's house, car, dog, etc. Why would you need a Property release form for the stuff I mentioned here as a House, Dog, Headstone, car can't speak for themselves and that is why a Property Release form has been created. They have been around for years. You can look up Property Release forms online. If you get a form signed by the family your okay. If not, your SOL. Some people are okay with the fact that they can track their family down with websites that have taken photos of their loved ones. Some people do not like it and want control over their property. Now if the Cemetery paid for all the headstones and the plots and the families did not have to pay for any of it and the Cemetery gave permission for anyone to take photos yes that would be fine, but since the family is the owner of this Property and a stranger takes a photo without written consent of a family member he/she can be sued and taken to court. A bishop can say yes you can take a photo, but he doesn't own the plot the family does. Most people just over look the law and forget that you need a property release form to take photos as it's to much hassle, but if they happen to see their loved one on a website without their permission you can sue up to what ever you think you feel like suing for and usually the family will win. Which would suck, but that's the law. It's very hard to find the law on taking photos like this, but yes there is a law. A release form is a way to go on all this and cover your back. If you use the photo as a means to make money or for commerical use too you can be sued as well by families as they'll want your profit due to the fact you never asked their permission to take a photo of their property (plot) and headstone they own.

Since the family owns the plot of land in the Cemetery and you happen to like a headstone and get it into a Calender or make money off that photo they can go right to court and sue you for half or all your profits as again you do not own the piece of land in which they bought to bury their family member. Now if you shot something and put it in a Portfolio of your work in which you can only see it or show it to a client and do not post it online it's okay.

You also have to watch out when your in Cemeteries and you take a photo and you have to watch out what is in the background as if you happen to catch a sign or house in the background of your shot some of the stuff in the background can be copyrighted or you'll need a property release for that as well. Been doing research on this for a couple of years and being a photographer for most of those years you just learn the rules and do what you need to do to get that best shot. Then be safe in the meantime to have forms signed so nothing like what you all are talking about above comes up to bite you in the butt later.
Vinsco Air Flickr PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Vinsco Air Flickr (member) 6 years ago
I would ask for a VAT reciept and ask also for the names of the contact/relatives of those graves you took photo's of so you can ask their permission to publish. If he can not then you can ask him since there is no contacts then there is no foul and if he recieves a complaint to contact you then ask for a copy of the complaint before you remove the images. If Google can come into my street and take arial and street images of my property without prior permission then this is a bucket full of horse manure. Oh by the way are these people sueing google maps for the arial shot they took of the graveyard lol
howbeg 6 years ago
This guy sounds a pompous twat!
inetjoker PRO 6 years ago
I don't think we need name calling here. Sometime the best reply is no reply.
meerstone Posted 6 years ago. Edited by meerstone (member) 6 years ago
Mmmm sound like Photodude05 (who has no details on his profile or photographs) lives in a different world to the rest of us. The comment above about Google Earth sums it up very well.
alohadave 6 years ago
Most all properties when photographed need a Property Release form. This is also true when taking photos of someone's house, car, dog, etc. Why would you need a Property release form for the stuff I mentioned here as a House, Dog, Headstone, car can't speak for themselves and that is why a Property Release form has been created. They have been around for years. You can look up Property Release forms online. If you get a form signed by the family your okay. If not, your SOL. Some people are okay with the fact that they can track their family down with websites that have taken photos of their loved ones. Some people do not like it and want control over their property. Now if the Cemetery paid for all the headstones and the plots and the families did not have to pay for any of it and the Cemetery gave permission for anyone to take photos yes that would be fine, but since the family is the owner of this Property and a stranger takes a photo without written consent of a family member he/she can be sued and taken to court. A bishop can say yes you can take a photo, but he doesn't own the plot the family does. Most people just over look the law and forget that you need a property release form to take photos as it's to much hassle, but if they happen to see their loved one on a website without their permission you can sue up to what ever you think you feel like suing for and usually the family will win. Which would suck, but that's the law. It's very hard to find the law on taking photos like this, but yes there is a law. A release form is a way to go on all this and cover your back. If you use the photo as a means to make money or for commerical use too you can be sued as well by families as they'll want your profit due to the fact you never asked their permission to take a photo of their property (plot) and headstone they own.

You seem to be mistaken about property releases. You do not need a property release to take a picture of private property.

You need a property release to sell the work commercially (advertising). In general, if you are not selling the work, then you do not need a property release.
dave_kan PRO 5 years ago
I have never heard of this problem before and have been photographing
Brookwood and other cemetery for many years...

I remember the good old days when most Victorian cemeteries were forgotten and just wilderness.
Before the do-gooders decided to "tidy them up and sanitize them" and push their slant of history upon Mr and Mrs Average..

Now they even pick the names of the deceased out in blue paint at my local cemetery to help people on the guided tours...
inetjoker PRO 5 years ago
Remind me to leave the ones here in the states natural and never try to save any....
Found in life lost in death
dave_kan PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by dave_kan (member) 5 years ago
I find Mr Guney statement, concerning the the offense to the families of the bereaved concerning them discovering pictures of the family graves on Flicker disingenuous..
As if most people would trawl around the forums of Flickr trying to find something that might offend them...

I find most people photograph the older tombs and headstones as the modern UK. stones are very poor and mostly have very little artistic merit...

Most of the older tombs will have no or very few surviving relatives and have hence suffered from years of neglect...Giving them in my opinion interest and character
Mort Sto Helit 5 years ago
I was planing to visit Brookwood Cemetery But after seen this discussion i think i will stay well clear of there

i was going try and have a look at their end of the London Necropolis railway and as i am a photographer i was going to take some snaps

oh well one less visitor
Whipper_snapper PRO 5 years ago
As much as I don't like this issue or the management's attitude on the subject I am bound to say that the management does have the law on its side. Tough but that's a fact.

Photography in public places has certain Common Law safeguards and I have had (and won) arguments with private security guards in the City of London after they tried to prevent me taking photos in a clearly marked public highway.

However the cemetery is private land and (for example) if I found someone taking photos in my back garden or front garden I would tell them to f........ errr..... 'go away' in short order.

Rob Stewart lived near Epping when he was married to Rachel Hunter and he was rather peeved to find Fleet Street photos of her and him appearing in the tabloids while they relaxed in the sun on the patio behind their house. He could not do anything as the photos had been taken from a public footpath bordering his land, with the aid of a long lens. In other words the photographer was on public land.

Rod re-arranged his garden and thought that was the end of the matter. It wasn't. A few weeks later it happened again but this time careful matching of camera angles led him to some bushes about 200 yards away from public land and clearly on private land (I THINK it was his land or a neighbour's). Either way the photographer had clearly trespassed and Rod was able to successfully sue the agency and the photographer concerned and make sure it never happened again. On this occasion my sympathies lie with Rod Stewart (and I'm not a fan of his).

You will also note from TV news that when a press pack gather outside the home of a disgraced person with any cameras, the press pack are very careful not to step in the front garden. They know the law and so do any police guarding the address.

Public is public and private is private.
Neil Skene [deleted] 5 years ago
What happens after you pay the fee and someone doesn't want the grave photographed. Too late, the owners have the cash and not the offended persons. They get nothing and the photo has still been taken.
If the owner is going to allow photography (within the grounds, as if you are outside the gates then its too bad, click away) Then they should have a list available of the graves you should not shoot.
Otherwise it's just a grab for money without helping the people who don't want the photos taken.
rumpleteazaer 5 years ago
I find this discussion rather interesting. I live in the U.S. and there are groups all over who request photographers chronicle aging grave markers so family members across the country can find where loved ones are buried. There are cemeteries who seek to attract photographers, especially professional photographers. One in Cincinnati, OH is also an arboretum and has wedding parties, engaged couples, senior high school students and others use the mausoleums and monuments as backdrops for portraits.

This really looks like a profiteering grab on the park of the graveyard. If photography is prohibited, except by the families of the deceased, then it should be prohibited. I would have a lot more respect for the management if they grew a spine and made that declaration.
Ken Zirkel PRO 5 years ago
The reason they don't want you to photograph the cemetery is because they want to charge people for grave searches. If you could find the grave on Flickr or Find-A-Grave, you would not pay them, now, would you?
APD Photo 5 years ago
OMG, is this thread still going? Clearly the manager(s) at Brookwood are crazy. 'Nuff said; let's move on.
inetjoker PRO 5 years ago
Well you can all move on as it has been resolved. Get those cameras out.

Hi Larry
They'll have one hell of a job. Half of the Cemetery is War Graves Commission who never attempt to restrict photography, over which Brookwood Estates Limited have no control. I've hundreds of photos taken long before the last set of owners attempted do a 'Heritage Centre ' number on what is in reality a public amenity. If you care to search Google for the terms 'Erkin Guney' and his late father 'Ramadan Guney' I think you will find it quite enlightening. You really couldn't make it up.
Erkin Guney lost control of the Cemetery in the High Court last October 2011. He was ordered to divest his and all his families intretests in the Cemetery to his late father's (Ramadan Guney) mistress - Diane Holliday - with whom he had a child. The arguments and infighting carries on.
I've not met the new owner but I don't think Ms Holliday is much concerned with photography or Heritage Centres where the attractions are mostly...dead. Hopefully she will not be demanding £20 or turfing errant tripod owners out on their ear.

But for those who are intetested here is the UK law as it stands for photographers -

Life's never dull
Pat Agonia 46 5 years ago
The ground is owned by the Crown.

All land in the UK is.

If you own the Title Deeds the land is yours but is actually still Crown Land.

You'd have to look up the legal tech' stuff on the above but even if you pay a fee to a church or cemerety for a burial plot you do not actually own the land.

I am unsure about the legal tech' but as far as I am aware it is owned and run by a branch of the US federal Govenment established in 1923.

As well you all know, the date above in Booklands post was the wrong century so cease being so disingenuous!
Pat Agonia 46 5 years ago

It may help to consider torts and their applications:
"A body of rights, obligations, and remedies that is applied by courts in civil proceedings"

This should help clear up some of the erronious comments about photographing on private land.

Hope it helped!
inetjoker PRO 5 years ago
Now we are into International law. I say go shoot have fun and if asked to stop ask why. The grounds keepers at every cemetery I have been too will come up to me at times and ask if I have seen something special. I have been allowed to go into areas that are ... Lost.

I am not a Crown Subject nor do I know the Crown laws all I know is that a little Honey goes a lot farther than a cup of Vinegar.
Rosa Moline 5 years ago
well, well, well it appears that our beloved cemetery is now under "new ownership"...perhaps the new owner will permit photography?
inetjoker PRO 5 years ago
I think I posted that above but then... what do I remember...
West Street 5 years ago
Legally he may have right on his side as far permitting photography or not, but morally his stance is weak, given his arguments. Surely it isn't the photograph that is the issue but the purpose or use to which it is put, and the "ownership" rights of the said image? If a photograph is taken for personal use then it really is very hard to understand any reason to obstruct the photographer. If it is for publication, then it is understandable that the cemetery would wish one to require a permit. By issuing a permit, depending upon its wording, they do retain rights as to how those photos are published or used. However, policing such a system would at be best haphazard.
Sharing on Flickr or similar may not be such a big deal, but just gets caught up in a more general restriction, but that said, no-one can say what happens to copies of these images once put into the public domain.
Offending relatives is a pretty poor justification for any ban though. How many relatives have been asked if they mind photos being taken of the graves? It could be yet another example of the vocal minority imposing their view on the silent majority, if there is any truth at all in that reason. How can we know?
inetjoker PRO 5 years ago
In 30 years I have never been asked by a relative to resend or remove an image but I have been asked to go back and shoot more.

Morals that is another thread here....
gryphon1911 [A.Live] 5 years ago
After reading the cemetery website - the one thing that stood out to me was

a) They want you to buy a permit and then not use the photos for anything at all.
b) They have photos for you to buy if you want.

The problem is that they want to make money from the selling of photos and they are muscling out the competition.
scotbot PRO 4 years ago
I've never heard of any other cemetery in the UK with a photography ban but it's private land and although there is no real justification for it the owners are entitled to set whatever conditions of entry they see fit. If one is permitted to enter private land as long as certain conditions are met and then those conditions are no longer met the offense of trespass is committed.

The owners can use reasonable force (as defined in law) to remove anyone who refuses to leave but this is the limit of the owner's right of redress and clearly once the individual has left the property they cannot start making demands of any kind unless there a legal basis for them (for example compensation for damage to property).

They can certainly ask people to remove photos but cannot enforce anything unless they can somehow think up a loss for which they can pursue compensation through the courts - I can't think of any basis for such a claim.

Be aware though that there are a number of areas of the cemetery reserved for certain faiths who may be quite offended by seeing photographs on the web - I really don't accept that Christians for example would really care but others might depending on their beliefs.
alfabrizio 4 years ago
Seems to me, much ado about nothing. The cemetary is respectfully asking people not to post photos to the internet out of respect for families; they aren't prohibiting private photography. Secondly, they ask a £10 (voluntary) fee to take photos (not £20 as someone posted), which goes to the maintenance of this ancient cemetary - not into anyone's pocket. None of it seems terribly unreasonable to me. There are plenty of other cemetaries that one can shoot and post to the internet. Anyone who decides to violate these rule simply threatens the privelage of taking photos there - at all. So, stop your snivelling and get over it.
Viejito 4 years ago
There are already quite a few photos of Brookwood Cemetery on Flickr, and more are certainly to follow. What are they going to do about it? Probably the same as the SABAM people who warn people not to use pictures of the Atomium without permission, i.e. nothing.
Stella Blu PRO 4 years ago
Unlikely that I will ever go there since I live in north west Canada, but the posts about that place sure make it tempting to go and look at it :-)

I's sure if there was a place where people could leave a donation toward the upkeep, many visitors would do so.
ƒliçkrwåy PRO 2 years ago
December 2014: Brookwood cemetery has now been purchased by Woking Borough Council so maybe things will change?

However, the former owner, Diane Holliday is now the manager, although it was the previous owner to her that introduced the photographic restrictions.
Pianowerk PRO 2 years ago
I will be writing to Woking BC and asking them what their photography guidelines are for all their cemetries - I will also point out that photography is encouraged(or at least not discouraged) in the other 6 cemeteries of the magnificent 7 so hope that they will remove the restriction, which seems to be a personal restriction in the first place.

I would encourage others who would like to take photos at Brookwood to do likewise, after all, if it's owned by the Council, it now becomes public space and an amenity.
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