May 23, 2008

Taking pictures on LA's Red Line violates the "9/11 Law"

Keith tried to take a picture on the Red Line in LA, and was told that he was breaking the "9/11 Law" by a metro worker who swore at him and threatened him with arrest when he asked what the "9/11 Law" was.

Full text of the article on boingboing

May 21, 2008

Photographer Assaulted By A "Cop"

This story is just about 2 years old now ... but it's just another illustration of what is happening to photographers every day.

Read the whole story here

May 11, 2008

I'm Calling My Lawyer!

Jeremy Brooks was out shooting on the streets of San Fransisco and saw this guy involved in some sort of interaction with a homeless person and took his picture.

It seems that he did not want his photograph taken so he thought it would be a good idea to approach the photographer and attempt to intimidate him (terrorize), touch him (assault), grab his camera equipment and attempt to illegally seize his equipment (attempted robbery).

It seems to me that in these modern times when cameras are everywhere (including in almost every cel phone and on most traffic light posts) if you do not want your photograph taken in public you might just want to stay home.

Too bad there was not a police officer around when this happened ... Based on Jeremy's account of the events if there had been a police officer there this guy would certainly be calling his lawyer ... for criminal defense purposes.

Read The Article Here

The Fine Print:
This blog post is an editorial based on the facts presented in Jeremy Brook's blog post. The owners of this website have no further knowledge of the incident or the guilt or innocence of any parties concerned.

April 27, 2008

Delete Those Photos

The top photo is exactly like one of the many photos an Air Force police officer made me delete from my camera last Thursday.

The reason he gave for making me delete the photo was that "It shows my perimeter fence and my flightline".

The lower half of the image above is the same area viewed in Google Earth with WAY more detail than I could ever hope to capture shooting from the racetrack. The Google Earth image is available to anyone on the planet earth with an internet connection and a computer. However my photo of the fence and the flightline is a security problem.

For the record, I was not on the air base. I was on private property (Las Vegas Raceway) across the street from the airbase and I was not taking photos of anything that was not clearly visible with the naked eye. Earlier in the day another Air Force police officer said it was perfectly legal to be there and to take photographs from there and asked us to "just stay on the racetrack side of the street" because the other side of the street is Air Force property.

I want to make it clear that the police officer that made me delete my photos was as nice as could be, acted in a very professional manner, never yelled or used foul language .... we even chatted about airshows and military airplanes ... but (in my opinion) he was clearly confused about photographer's rights and what constitutes a security risk to his air base. I could have challenged him and refused to delete the images and I'm sure I would have been 100% within my rights to do so ... but frankly I was not up for the fight at that moment ... after all this was the same day my truck was broken into and I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted... deleting the images seemed like the easiest way to avoid a problem. I'm not entirely sure but I would not be surprised if he was also out of his jurisdiction. It seems strange to me that Air Force police would have authority over a civilian that is not on Air Force property. ... but that's another issue entirely for another day.

Stories like this are becoming more and more common and it's very troubling to me as someone that loves to go out and take photos. Every incident that I've had like this and almost every incident that I've read about have one thing in common, the police/security people are convinced that they are doing the right thing and they are acting in good faith the protect (whatever they are meant to be protecting) and in most cases they are very nice and reasonable ... but they are still wrong in many cases and they are (with or without intent) often trampling on the constitutional rights of people just out having a good time with their hobby (or business), photography.

Something needs to be done to educate photographers and police/security personnel about what our rights and responsibilities are and what really constitutes a security risk.

I don't know what the answer to this problem is ... but I am sure that if we just let the problem keep getting worse there will come a day when we'll be afraid to leave your houses with our cameras. A writer from JPG magazine said it pretty well ""In a post 9/11 age of paranoia and suspicion, public photography is increasingly seen as threatening, or mistaken as criminal...Amateur photographers are the documentarians of real life. We capture our world to help us understand it. We are not a threat."

I'm always talking about this issue on my podcast, I think it's probably one of the more important issues concerning photographers today.

Continue reading "Delete Those Photos" »