I am in the process of working through some major changes in my photography that I will make as the result of a new law dealing with photographing senior citizens in Pennsylvania.
PA House Bill No. 1431 …. 2713.1 Abuse of care-dependent person. “A caretaker is guilty of abuse of a care-dependent person if the caretaker …. With the intent to ridicule or demean a care-dependent person, uses any audio, video or still image of the care-dependent person in any format or medium on or through any electronic service, wireless communication or any form of electronic service or wireless communication as pertaining to communication. …. A violation constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.” And, if it is considered stalking, it is felony of the third degree.
I am responding to this new law for several reasons.
- I have taken pictures of residents in the past and turned them over to the staff while I photographed events both within the personal care and independent living areas of Homewood. I then had/have no control over the use of those photos.
- The law is loosely worded as to who the care-dependent seniors are. They could be anyone living anywhere within Homewood.
- Abuse is defined as using photos of isolation, weight loss, bruises, broken bones, confusion, etc. At one time or the other such photos could be of anyone of us.
- Whether or not my intent on taking the pictures was benign, the individuals in the photos, or their families, may think otherwise whenever they view the photos used wherever or however.
To be safe and avoid any confusions or disagreements leading to possible legal actions, I will no longer photograph any residents in any manner or location within Homewood. I have done very little of that in the recent past while Homewood was under pandemic protocols with only outdoor activities, but I have done a lot of that for birthday parties, activities, and events over the years. I will do no more of that.
Considering that most of my camera gear was purchased primarily to enable my taking pictures of Homewood activities I am going to now consider making changes in not only my cameras and lenses but also what and how I photograph, or not.
My blog viewers saw very little of my Homewood photography so there might not be many changes in my photography for my blog, but there will be changes. Thanks to our Representative Kate Klunk and others, as I continue my photography, I will be making changes since my Homewood photography has been my main reason for pursuing photography.
PS, we have many residents and staff posting to the internet through Facebook. They might wish to change that.