Photography Licences in National Parks

Warm light during the golden hour caresses the famous Twelve Apostles along Australia's Great Ocean Road.

On the way home I heard the last few mintues of of an interview on ABC 774 radio here in Melbourne with Landscape Photographer David Tatnall

David's a friend of mine, who I haven't seen in a few years, so I was interested to catch the news.

It appears that Parks Victoria have now dropped the fee they'd be charging for a number of years for Landscape photographers producing commercial products from images made in National Parks. The fee was $275 per year and, as one of the initial licence holders, I had paid the fee for a number of years. There were plenty of others I knew who refused to pay the fee but, largely due to the way I was brought up, I felt it was the right thing to do and was happy to pay until a few years ago when my journeys took me elsewhere.

Mind you the fact that I'd dutifully paid the licence didn't stop a certain degree of harrassment by parks officers, some of whom didn't even know about the pass when I produced it. I've had similar experiences in the Uluru/Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks.

We can only hope that, over time, parks officers are given the training required to approach CUSTOMERS with care and coutesy. An emphasise on education, rather than policing is more often than not the way to proceed.

The licence was always difficult to police and probably poorly conceived.

Photographers rights are a complex and difficult issue and, in this case the elimination of a pretty substantial fee, that failed to offer any tangible advantages to the working photographer is, to my mind, a positive outcome. I commend Parks Victoria and/or the Victorian Government for making this decision.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru