As you may be aware, I started obscuring exotic number plates in my photos for a while around August-Sept. The blanking of number plates was criticised by many: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=67047&page=650
(and following pages). There are a few pages of my gallery with blank plates:http://aussieexotics.com/drivers/thumbnails-69-page-33.html
For the record, I started blanking the plates in effort to remove any perceived privacy concerns. Afterall, I really enjoy photographing beautiful cars and I like to share these photographs. I don't want to put anyone offside with this activity. However, this took considerable time. I decided not to blank number plates anymore for the following reasons:
1. We live in a democratic and free country. People can take whatever photos they like of whatever subject if it is in public view. No person has any right to inhibit this liberty.
2. I only publish photos of cars located in public places. Anyone can see the cars and take photos if they please.
3. Blanking number plates is futile because exotic cars naturally attract much attention.
a) We live in a digital world. Many people take photos of exotics around town, so it's inevitable that many photos will end up online. Moreover, many passers-by will tell their friends about the cars they saw including the location and number plates. This information may also end up online via many means.
b) Many cars I photograph are rare or distinctive (i.e. orange Murcielago, yellow Superleggera etc). Therefore, many people on this forum or otherwise interested in exotic cars will know the cars in question, including their owners and histories.
c) The point of blanking plates is to preserve anonymity, but a person driving an exotic car will unlikely ever go unnoticed:
- They are beautiful, loud, exclusive, expensive and often vibrantly colourful. Therefore, exotic cars inherently draw attention.
- Parking or driving exotic cars in busy retail or entertainment districts significantly increases the number of people who will notice you and your car.
- Personalised number plates, especially where one owner has multiple cars with similar plates, will increase the chance of a car being remembered by passers-by. This is supported by anecdotal experience.
- Parking numerous exotic cars together will also magnify the degree of attention (and later recollection by Joe Public) of you and your car.
4. Before today, nobody has ever requested that I refrain from photographing their car or that I blank their number plates. I always photograph cars in full sight (no clandestine photography), so there has always been opportunity for any concerned owners to discuss this with me. On very few occasions owners have approached me, but once I explain I'm an avid automotive photographer, they are invariably very friendly and willing to talk about their cars.
5. Although there is nothing compelling me to do so, in the interests of maintaining privacy, to the extent reasonably possible, I avoid including any people in my photos, especially car owners and people in cafes/restaurants.
There are many more reasons too which will no doubt be canvassed by others below.