The Issues With Nude Beach Photography

| January 2, 2015 | 45 Comments

How Do We Deal With The Legality of Non-Consensual Nude Beach Photography?

Just recently a story began to circulate online about a guy who was caught with a hidden camera at a nude beach called Maslin Beach in Adelaide, Australia. A few beach-goers realized that his cooler had holes in it and that there was a video camera inside. They chased him down and detained him in a “citizen’s arrest,” then called the police.

Officers who came to the scene didn’t find any actual beach footage on the guy’s camera. Due to a lack of evidence, they released him with a warning.

Some onlookers said they’d seen the guy before and that he uploads film to a commercial voyeur website.

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Nude Beach Photography


Had there been footage on his camera, police actually could have arrested the man for “indecent filming.” I am far from being an expert on Australian laws, but this is what I found from researching online.

In South Australia, there is the Summary Offences Act of 1953, which was amended to include “indecent filming” in 2008.

Indecent filming means filming of—
(a) another person in a state of undress in circumstances in
which a reasonable person would expect to be afforded
privacy; or
(b) another person engaged in a private act in circumstances in
which a reasonable person would expect to be afforded
privacy; or
(c) another person’s private region in circumstances in which a
reasonable person would not expect that the person’s private
region might be filmed;

The “private region” is defined as the genital area (no mention of female breasts). Indecent filming is a criminal offense, and so is distributing any film or photography obtained from indecent filming. The punishment for this crime is up to two years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If the case involves a minor, those figures double.

The news stories online make it sound like this was a relatively isolated incident at Maslin Beach. Given the fact that secretly filming people on a nude beach is illegal in South Australia, maybe it is an infrequent occurrence there. Though it doesn’t mean that hidden-camera sleuths won’t try anyway and even get away with it at times.

I also found a report of a man getting arrested on a nude beach in Spain for filming people with a tiny hidden camera in his sunglasses. He was charged with “invading the privacy of others.” I haven’t looked into the laws of any other European country, but they seem to be much more judicious over there than here in the USA.

Here in the United States, we are not so lucky. Most nude beaches in the U.S. are public and are considered no different than a textile beach as far as privacy is concerned. This means that it’s totally legal for someone to photograph or film you without your consent, whether you’re nude or not.

It doesn’t mean such behavior is ethical or tolerated by others. In our view, it’s still a gross invasion of privacy and should be illegal. Posting the nude photos online should be a criminal offense as well.

At many nude beaches, nudists work to establish rules of etiquette that usually address photography. People are expected to be aware of others around them and in the background when taking photos. People are also expected to ask permission before photographing someone else.

One nude beach where camera voyeurs are known to pop up on occasion is Gunnison Beach. Some will hide their camera in a cooler or bag, some will pretend to be talking on their cell phone (while actually taking pictures) and others will just brazenly point and snap away without trying to hide it. Sometimes you can spot them by the very fact that they stay dressed and don’t bring any beach gear with them.

This behavior is difficult to confront, especially when the law is not on your side. It used to be easy to stop vile photographers. Before everything went digital, you could just pull out someone’s film and immediately destroy it with exposure to sunlight. Now since almost every cell phone doubles as a camera, photography etiquette is much harder to enforce. It’s also become very easy to upload pictures online and distribute them far and wide.

So how do you prevent or stop people from taking your photo without your consent?

Here are a few tips on dealing with nude beach photography:

  • Don’t let this make you paranoid to the point where you can’t enjoy the beach, but be aware of your surroundings. Some of the regulars at Gunnison (such as the Ranger World group) do try to look out for each other and warn people when they see someone covertly pointing a lens their way.
  • Use windscreens or other beach gear to block others’ view.
  • If you notice someone taking your photo, approach them and politely ask them to stop (and delete any photos they took of you). Bring a friend if you don’t feel comfortable or safe in doing so alone.
  • If you go to the beach regularly, you may want to consider printing out fliers listing nude beach etiquette rules in the case that someone is unaware of them.
  • If you ask someone to stop and they continue taking pictures, you can either ignore them, relocate to another part of the beach, or confront them again. For the last option, it’s best to gather a few people and approach as a group – there is power in numbers. Tell them they need to stop and ask them to delete any photos they took. If they become violent or start making a scene (this is rare I think), it’s probably in your best interest to walk away and relocate yourself.
  • Many say that a good way to get a persistent creep to stop is to take their picture. With any luck, they will freak out and leave.
  • Park rangers won’t interfere as they can’t really do anything about it. But there is one exception – when there are kids involved. If you see someone who is clearly a stranger pointing their camera at kids, notify the rangers. According to this 2011 article, rangers did arrest someone at least once for filming some children on Gunnison Beach.

Once a person takes your photo, you have no idea if they’re just going to keep it private for their own enjoyment (still gross), or upload it to a blog or some commercial website dedicated to voyeurism. We know of at least one website filled with pictures secretly taken at Gunnison. We looked into ways of getting it taken down, but unfortunately it’s hosted on a personal server, and while Jordan has continually requested and pleaded with Google directly, they refused to take any action.

In the aforementioned article, one retired federal investigator says he has a private Facebook page where he uploads photos of predatory photographers. (I have no idea what page this is or if it still exists.) This is a way to publicly shame them as well as alert others to their presence.

It’s frustrating that we are legally defenseless against non-consensual photography at nude beaches. Hopefully we will one day make it a crime as other countries have done, though progress is slow. At least some states have recently passed new laws against “revenge porn” and “upskirt” photos (when someone secretly points their camera lens up a woman’s or person’s skirt in public). So we are slowly expanding privacy laws.

What do you think, readers? What’s your experience with photographer creeps at the nude beach, and how do you deal with them?

This article which it titled – The Issues With Nude Beach Photography – was published by – Young Naturists & Nudists America

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Category: Felicity's Nudist Blog, Nude Beach, Nudism and Naturism, Social Nudity Blogs

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Author of Felicity's Blog. Co-founder of Young Naturists America. 3rd-generation nudie. Avid reader. Feminist. 70% vegan, 30% vegetarian. When I'm not busy eating, I'm writing about naturism, censorship, topfree equality, body image and other fun topics. I like feedback, so plz leave a comment when you've got something to say!