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British Photographers and Filmmakers Will Face Serious Problems After Brexit

British Photographers and Filmmakers Will Face Serious Problems After Brexit

If you’re a photographer or filmmaker living in the U.K., traveling to work in Europe might be about to get a lot harder and significantly more expensive. If you live in London and suddenly land a job in Paris, taking a camera with you could soon cost you more than $400.

Among claims of fear-mongering of what Brexit might bring to the U.K. and Europe more broadly, it seems that even the British government’s own website is acknowledging that traveling with expensive electronic equipment might be a problem once Britain has withdrawn from Europe.

On this U.K. government webpage entitled “Take goods temporarily out of the UK,” it appears that traveling with “laptops, cameras, or sound equipment” might require an ATA Carnet in order to avoid paying duty when crossing borders. At present, acquiring one of these carnets to carry equipment from the U.K. to countries outside of the European Union costs £325.96 ($400).

As detailed by this page, “Touring Europe if there’s no Brexit deal,” published on October 2, 2019, there are major implications for photography units, film crews, and arts organizations if negotiations do not go well and Prime Minister Boris Johnson fulfills his promise to leave Europe at the end of this month, regardless of whether a deal is achieved.

As well as this major bureaucratic hurdle and significant costs, there will be other implications as a result of a no-deal Brexit, such as the validity of U.K. drivers licenses and Europe-wide health coverage currently enjoyed by all European residents.

The C.B.I., the Confederation of British Industry, has long warned of dramatic consequences, both of Brexit more broadly and more specifically of a no-deal Brexit. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Johnson was reported to have responded to these concerns by saying: “F*ck business.”

Will Brexit affect your ability to work in Europe? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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Will it cost that much take an iphone 11 pro abroad? asking for a friend.

" If you live in London and suddenly land a job in Paris, taking a camera with you could soon cost you more than $400."

How about vice-versa? Maybe this protects the UK photography/filmmaker market?

Could also lead to a thriving camera rental market on the continent (and one in UK).

In Germany the equivalent form (Nämlichkeitsnachweis) is free except for some legwork, so that's sort of a disadvantage for the UK… The scheme is primarily to protect the local market from native travellers buying stuff in foreign countries and bypassing import duties and taxtes, it doesn't bother with whatever foreigners bring in.

Is this not the same as going from the UK to say the US? I think a bigger issue is will UK citizens need a work visa for the EU 26. With the common travel area Ireland will not require a visa.

Yes it is the same as currently happens with the US (and other non-EU countries) and yes, unless they negotiate otherwise there will be no freedom to work in the EU and so a work visa will be needed.

I used to carry gear before freedom of movement, and it was a pain. Every border crossing meant seeking out an official to check the carnet, they often checked all the serial numbers, then you got the rubber stamp. Not something to look forward to. Every item you carried had to be detail on the carnet, and the customs guys could be very finicky. No good picking up an extra lens after the carnet has been made out.

I once had a few cameras and a carnet while traveling from Italy to France. The French said I had forgotten to stamp my carnet in Italy, that I was leaving Italy. So they wouldn't stamp that I was bringing the equipment into France. I had to find an Italian embassy in France and ask them to stamp the letter, which they did.

I've lived through the ATA Carnet days when I frequently took gear from the UK to Europe - and back. It was such a PITA. Every item had to be listed. serial numbers, number of cables, etc. I've had goods impounded at the Italian border because we stated on the carnet that we had a certain quantity of cables, when in fact we had one less. (I miscounted when shipping). Clients had to put up a surety bond before the goods were released. Not a happy shoot! Whoever voted to leave the EU must never have lived through those days - or holidayed in Europe either! It's a very bad mistake.

Without being elitist, I doubt that a GOOD many of those who voted leave have ever left their own county.

Lots of Brits living in EU countries voted leave, they think it does not affect them Freedom of Movement will work both ways as will soon find out.

Having worked in the production industry for almost 20 years, I can safely say that carnets are a pain in the bum. And that's just for shoots that have lasted maybe a few days in one location. Everything has to be accounted for. With serial numbers. And you only need one jobsworth who decides they want to go through everything and you're stuck in customs unpacking every flight case.

And it annoys me when you get the likes of Roger Daltrey going on about "we used to do it back in the day". Well, things are different now. And maybe it won't affect big bands and productions so much which have massive infrastructure to have people employed to attend to every final detail, but it's going to affect the lower end of the scale - bands just starting out, production companies and photographers who are travelling on a shoestring budget. It's harder than ever to be getting a foot in the door creatively and here we are with a government intent on putting up more and more barriers with our neighbours.

The knock-on effects of this on the UK creative industries will be felt for years.

" This is the country who fought off the Luftwaffe, with nothing more than wit and grit!"
And US assistance.

..."Europeans, they’re not as free as we, in America are." I suspect that includes the UK. And if the Democrats get their way, it will change in the USA also.

The British will be paying a lot more for their "freedom".

If economic success is a desirable outcome then one often cuts deals. A deal is a compromise.
We pay taxes to get services. We limit our movement because of private property and so on. We join clubs and abide by their rules. We have traffic laws.

The narrative that your freedom is imperiled because of rules is not logical because ever since the first human group gathered for shared benefit, there have been compromises in freedom for the benefit of the group.

It is called the social contract.

You might have noticed that if everyone acts on what they think is their "freedom" your life would suck.

The British impulse to Brexit is largely motivated by non-competitive people angry that Adam Smith's hand slapped them upside the head.

...and unfortunately, America is the land of Trump. I know where I'd rather be.

Many, many in the USA stated they would head to Canada, so they may be running out of room there. Though it sure did not seem that way when I visited this summer.

Why do we hear this improper WWII pathos in context of the Brexit? Just the US are the United People, and economical power, so was the plan with the EU: Creating united people with a sum of economies in fact regularly out matching the US by a margin. Both economies and a sum of (what) 700-800 million peoples constitute "our way of live" and a dominant force.
The Brits were confused by people with vested interest in tax heavens, and... just like we were impacted by election meddling from Russia, Russians meddled in the Brexit vote severely (research British Cyber Crime report in this matter) because they want the fragmentation of Europe. And so the entire circus has been created, politicians "discover" its not that easy, nation is divided on the issue.
Nobody wants the return to fiefdoms, custom officers stopping people every few miles, opening trunks and suitcases at random, stamping some papers and all such. So please talk photo, zip the Crimean War, Napoleonic War, Punic War, 30-year War, Boer War and Civil War and whatever war. Leave it to History Channel.

Ok, let me repeat:
What Camera Do You Have In Mind? ...Keep Calm, Carry On!

Right on! I just shot on the beaches, someone yelled "no photography" but I said "We Shall Never Surrender"

You quote Churchill in your assessment of Brexit. Churchill is officially recognized as a founding father of the European Union, and saw European economic and political unity as a major method to head off the horrors and destruction of WWII. So I’m not sure why you see the UK’s wartime defense in opposition to European unity: the one who lead them out of war saw them as complimentary.

If you consider it lessening oneself to be in the EU then you’ve already answered your own question, and it was not legitimate if you’ve already made your conclusions.

Then how pointless it is for you to ask a question you’ve already closed your mind to.

It's nice to 'see' things your own way. Unfortunately it doesn't make them real. The UK is not an equal to Europe, but I think a lot of our citizens still look back fondly on the days of the empire. They think the UK is still a 'force to be reckoned with' and honestly thought that Europe would be worse off for us leaving... Oh well, we'll soon know.

Ha. And people in the USA keep asking why we are different then all the other developed nations (Europe is a big part of that category). You have stated exactly why. And the EU was an attempt to move towards the USA (closer to the original US Confederation prior to the constitution on the confederation-federation continuum, but better designed).

haha, sarcasm, right?

"I never thought I’d hear a Brit say, being independent is a bad thing?"

Moronic post of the day. You do realise we are not at war and not persecuted right?

Mate, you've got no idea about this.

Let's just start with the "we stood alone" bullshit. The British Empire and Commonwealth in 1939 was nearly a quarter of the world's population. We drew on troops and materiel from across the world, this was the time of "the sun never sets on the British Empire".

Then you've got the Leave crap about us not being independent if we're in the EU. Hey, guess what? Every fucking treaty or organisation involves some pooling of sovereignty. You have the current appropriate example of the WTO at the moment, where countries agree to act in line with certain rules on trade. You could even look at NAFTA closer to home for yourself.

The key thing about this is that we are a key influence within the EU. We drive the rules and push them in the ways that benefit ourselves. Outside of the EU, we will simply be impacted by them due to simple economic gravity. We're also going to be cutting our service industry (the largest part of our economy) off from the market. This might be hard to understand given the sheer lack of integration across the US between states (differing systems in Delaware for example, right), but the Single Market is one of the few Free Trade Areas to cover a large service element.

Then let's come onto 'freedom', and another stupid argument about who people's ancestors were. Yes, Europe is where Kings and Queens once ruled. Same as America is a land of tribal Chiefs. Our ancestors killed a lot of both European aristocrats and American chiefs. Europe is also the land of Magna Carta, of liberté, égalité et fraternité, the two oldest Parliaments in the world, the allemannsretten, and the root of a lot of the western world's legal and democratic systems.

"Europeans, they’re not as free as we, in America are"
Lol, youre not in the top ten freest countries in the world. Norway, Sweden, Canada even New Zeland is more free than americans, and this is just few of the european countries that more free than america.

and few years ago even hong kong was freer than america while still being under china. but its sad to what china did to them. but, it seems china money are silencing everybody now...

I'm a dual nationality Brit/Belgian living in Belgium, Sounds like a business opportunity to me.
I'll start renting out kit to Brits who want to come shoot here :)

A lot of this sounds punitive. Why would UK drivers licenses not be valid in the EU after Brexit? My US license is valid.

It's called scare-mongering.
The whole Brexit thing was built on lies and keeping the masses scared.

The whole thing is interesting to me. I have friends that live in the UK. I also have friends that live in Germany. Of my friends that live in the UK, the attitude towards Brexit ranges from ambivalence to grudging acceptance, to outright support.

Of my friends who live in Germany, to a person they are nearly apoplectic towards Brexit.

What you've got to understand here is the differentiation between an orderly Brexit and a No Deal Brexit.

No Deal means everything falls away, including not having to exchange your driver's license in Germany after six months (a lot of this impacts most on British people who live in other EU countries). You've then got a question as to whether there would even be the simple exchange reciprocity.

What a nightmare. It’s confusing though - that govt site also says ‘ You do not need permission to temporarily move goods to another EU country unless they’re controlled, for example weapons.’ But it’s not clear if that means only if there is a deal.

You don’t need any of this shit to take a laptop or cameras to non-EU countries at the moment though, so surely it’ll be the same?

Is it only if it’s for professional reasons? Why not just say that it isn’t?

I am living in the UK and I have had letters (latest dated 27 August) from HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) telling me that I have to have an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) to move goods in and out of EU.

I can apply for TSP (Transitional Simplified Procedures) to make importing goods easier and make it possible to delay paying customs charges, but exporting still requires the full hoola-baloo of declarations and such.


You might not realise it, but you do if it's for professional purposes. Try taking stuff to a trade show in Norway or Switzerland, and you'll find out the sheer joy of it all.

Ah but gear is only a small part of it. When I’ve toured, sets and wardrobe have been made in the UK and travel with us. Getting a new set and new wardrobe in each country would blow the budget out of the water.

I'm a documentary cameraman and I'd imagine you're broadly right about renting stills equipment but when it comes to professional video gear, you're out of luck outside the major cities. Even if I could rent the right cameras and support, what I cannot do is rent MY gear - setup in the way that I like with the myriad accessories and customisations I have built up over many years.

I've often considered renting for jobs on mainland Europe to avoid excess baggage charges, but the availability just isn't there and it's always been simpler to travel with 6 or 7 Peli cases than try and source kit abroad.

I've been through the carnet process numerous times in the rest of the world and it's rarely straightforward. This will have a direct impact on my business - either through added complexity (meaning more time and therefore more cost) or even lost business.

The sad thing is that this is all pointless - Britain will gain nothing from brexit other than nebulous wittering about sovereignty and independence. The economic, social and geopolitical downsides of this are enormous. I'm very sad at what my country has become in the last decade - I can only hope that this disaster can be averted and we can start to address the many factors that caused many decent people to vote to make us all worse off.

Spot on. Well said.

Strange that Norway, Iceland, Switzerland have managed so well all this time... with only FTA's and the EEA...

Britain will get their FTA's and most things will go on as before...

Those who voted to leave - have imposed the consequences on every UK-citizen. That's sad. For what we've seen and heared from Boris Johnson - there won't be a way out, it'll be a hard BREXIT - lots of people in and out the UK will loose their jobs - will the UK continue to exist? What about the royal family? The EU isn't perfect - but the UK leaving will cost all of us dearly. In the US some may be happy - until the financial ball starts running. It can have worldwide consequences.
Be sure you realise what you're hoping for - no matter where you live. And those living in the US should't think they 've the greatest democracy - they 're heading towards the biggest possible debt-crisis one can imagine. Sooner or later the debt the current governement has build up - needs to be repaid.

"Those who voted to leave - have imposed the consequences on every UK-citizen."

Well, that's sort of how a democracy works. People vote. The winners get what they want, the losers don't.

What alternative would you propose?

As an aside, I would be willing to bet that a decade after Brexit is done and over with, the UK will have survived quite well.

At the end of the day, the EU has to take some responsibility for what's happened as much as the British Government for the shambles that's happened. However all said and done, Europe will feel the pain as much as Britain, from being able to use our diplomats, access to the Commonwealth, the London Stock Exchange and economic contributions to name a few aspects that's not being discussed. This was a democratic vote over our EU membership that was was never asked to vote for and hoodwinked into membership after being part of the EEC. The British membership was never an easy one, just spend any time reading the tabloids and broadsheets for the last decade.

That and and the very foundations of Europe's dream is being dictated by two countries, Germany and France with the others being forced to accept egregious policies (Greece, Italy, Spain et al) and the new fractious members in Eastern Europe trying to shape policy to their own ends. Europe could have headed this off decades ago accepting the British membership postwar instead of it being blocked multiple times to give the British population time to assimilate as unlike the rest the Europe which is fairly cosmopolitan the UK doesn't have the same ease of access into Europe. That and the UK remembers being shafted by Europe by having to fix the mess that France and Germany created in various wars and conflicts by being left to pick up the pieces.

Will Britain suffer? Oh more than likely, but I'd like to see how Europe fares after a decade after losing one of the strongest and largest, mostly positive, contributors to the EU especially when you have a stagnating economies and a ongoing Euro spinning top that's barely stable with various economies dragging it down and countries blatantly ignoring the very laws they helped create to stabilise the Euro. Europe depends a lot on the UK, more than the media portrays and the EU likes to downplay the UK's contributions and assets.

The reality this is the media trying to influence the People's Vote by scare mongering, and to be fair both sides are as guilty. However I've yet to see any narrative from the media discussing the European fallout, and why Europe has to try and bludgeon/punish the UK for having the temerity to want to leave. Realistically Europe has to punish the UK to try and prevent other members leaving, by doing so saying this could happen to you too.

I could go on, but the Brexit narrative is deeper and more nuanced than the media would have you believe. I'm a realist, but I was also a Remainer. I've touched on highly complex topics, and they don't even begin to cover the realities that all countries face now with this decision. The fact the UK Government is in such disarray and trying to block the Vote is indicative how much in danger Democracy is, we're moving to a mob mentality and if they don't get what they want they'll spit out their dummy.

The only country that'll gain anything from this is Russia.

To add to your point about Britain's entry not being easy, it was so difficult that they did not choose to join the monetary union. So they forwent the convenience of a common currency. Having to get hold of Euros does not seem to be a terrible hardship, but if that also was falling away (i.e., had the UK gone w/monetary union), I bet people would be complaining about how terrible it would be to have to change currencies every time they hopped across the channel! I did travel in Europe before the monetary union, and it was a bit of a pain to cross borders.

For those interested in reading about Brexit, this offers a well-researched and carefully sourced overview. https://qr.ae/TW2e9S

I'm not clicking that until you tell me it's not the Daily Mail ;)

The article lost me as soon as it used the word 'Remainers', which is unfortunately the 3rd word on the page.

You made an assumption about my knowledge of the subject, unfortunate.

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