Why am I not photographing the Apple Newcastle launch?

February 17th, 2010 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

The answer is simple. They will not let me.

As you know I like to take photographs. Some are what you might call “Artistic” and others are more of a documentation of history. Personally I love looking at old images form when I was younger, or of places before I knew them in the past. Because of this I take pictures of the here and now for people to look back on in the future.

As the an Apple store opening is something that draws the crowds I thought this was something I should look at capturing on (virtual) film. Before I did this I emailed Apple and asked if there was a problem with me doing this out of politeness.

Sadly Apple responded stating that they have a policy of no photography in the stores and would not be able to mane an exception for the launch. They did say that if I queued up and only took a couple of pictures then there “shouldn’t be a problem”. Not overly happy with being told that I am not allowed to take a picture, but almost saying that I could get away with taking a couple, I pushed for a definitive Yes or No. I was not surprised to get back a polite No.

In the end I decided not bother going down to capture the day and I suspect there will be plenty of pictures taken by camera phones. Most of the phones were probably iPhones so the image quality will be low and the pictures out of focus, but at least we have some records of the day. :-P

So, I have had my rant, and Apple have dropped a long way in my estimation of customer relations. In the interests of neutrality I feel it important to point out I did not ask for permission to photograph inside the Sony Shop, but Ikea have said yes (and that is bizarrely true).



  1. Rich Quic says:

    Surprised at this .. kind of.

    It seems a bit dumb to pass on free publicity .. but Apple do suffer from being a bit over-corporate at times.

  2. Pete Hindle says:

    I don't think this is surprising – the Apple store is a private corporate venue. However, more worrying are places like Sunderland's The Bridges, which are public spaces that don't allow photography.

  3. minxlj says:

    It's a complicated issue, because Apple don't outright OWN that property – it's owned by Eldon Square and their companies. Who also have a policy of 'no photography' if similar tales are to be believed (security guards asking friends not to take pics etc). Places like The Bridges are still corporate environments so I think the owners are trying to save their own skins 'just in case' – stupid attitude, leading to that poor man being accused of taking untoward photos of his OWN son.

    Anyway it may be interesting to contact Eldon Sq and find out the official position and whether it's up to individual stores…what the line is when taking photos in the rest of the Eldon Sq space, etc.

  4. minxlj says:

    Oh, also a friend who was working on the construction of Eldon Square South was told none of them were allowed to take photos of any store or public area, even a week before the opening when things were being finalised and the public knew all the listed shops and the opening dates…

  5. Alistair MacDonald says:

    I do understand that organisations want to control there publicity and when you have a big launch coming up you want the maximum impact in the press. Although I also agree that it is a stupid attitude to stop photography the west of the time.

    Oddly I am considering Eldon Square for a sew seconds in a video project, but because of it's origin I don't expect any problems with that one. It's just normal domestic photograph that is the problem.

    On an aside I do remember that some artists filmed a mini drama in front of security cameras and used the data protection act to get there hands on the footage. :-)

  6. Other Paul says:

    It’s not Apple. Well, it is, in that it’s all of them. All of the stores together have agreed to enforce a no-photography policy in the mall. I was told this by a big guy in a red shirt who walked over to me from between Burton and the Apple Store. I have a photo of him approaching me. Oddly, he would not name the entity which claimed this authority over us. I did ask, but he just sidestepped the question. My 83 year old mother joined me in the conversation and we made exactly the point you started with – that in later generations there’d be no photos of the kind we were looking at today. The guy in the red shirt agreed with us and even said it was mad. If you can, you should at all times carry around with you a portable elderly lady. They’re incredibly useful for getting security staff to behave like human beings and encourage reasonable conversations instead of the jobsworth stonefaces you usually get

  7. Other Paul says:

    Postscript – I just thought I’d let you know that I had the opportunity to check out what the burly guy in the red shirt had told me (i.e. that there was a notice in the entrance which told visitors that photography wasn’t allowed).

    There isn’t.

    There is a large panel at the Clayton Street door near the foot of the escalator with all of the red circles (eight of ’em) presenting what you can’t do in the mall (what a lovely inviting country we’ve become). There’s also a CCTV symbol explaining that the centre is filming everything (for the usual security reasons). There’s also a sentence or so saying that some photography may be taken from time to time for PR and publicity purposes.

    There is no prohibition on your taking photographs at all mentioned on that panel. The guy in the red shirt pretty much told me a barefaced lie.

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