Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

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Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby gpsmikey » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:35 pm

Here is an interesting article on taking pictures in public, potential interaction with the authorities and some good comments from other photographers from around the world. Something to keep in mind when you are shooting those images for your next slide show ...
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/02/ho ... -when.html

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Mac » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:23 am

Photographers are becoming increasingly under assault, yet the law is really on their side. Those who feel at risk can prepare themselves by learning and carrying some basic information:
http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby gpsmikey » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:40 am

As the photographer who wrote the article points out, while the law may indeed be on your side, the reality is it may take you days or weeks to resolve the issue and you miss any shooting you were going to get that was time dependent. As he points out, if you can head it off by talking to the authorities first, then you are far better off. Long before 9-11 I had an encounter along the same lines - fortunately, the police thought it was funny - we were working on a project for my underwater photography class and were in the marina where my parents had their boat at the time, after dark, taking flash pictures at about 20 feet under the boat. The local security was alerted to strange flashes under water from the area and when we surfaced, we were greeted by several security folks. Fortunately, they thought it was interesting and wandered off. Post 9-11, it probably would have taken me days to get back out of jail (and then only when they developed the film and saw it was pictures of sea anemones, starfish and other assorted things). :twisted:

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Mac » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:41 am

That comment was meant to let people know that they have the right to fight and that they will probably be told contradictory information. The sad reality is that you may have your equipment confiscated and you may never get your images back. OR your equipment! You may be right, but your opponent may not care.
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby debngar » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:40 am

This is no longer a country where our constitution is respected and upheld by the persons hired/voted in/ appointed and sworn to "serve" the country and to uphold that cherished document.

I read through nearly every single post in that thread. The loss of our freedoms is much worse than many are aware or willing to admit. WAKE UP people. The frog's water in the pot is starting to boil rapidly. Those wishing to keep the freedoms as we used to know and cherish them, please plan on voting this election, give a long think about who is likely to protect our country and turn it around to like it USED to be, instead of becoming like the less free countries people came here to escape from!
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Mac » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:17 pm

This is when the forum should have "like" buttons 8)
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Jim Adams » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:39 pm

I'm not sure what laws you want enacted, Debbie, but with very little public property around anymore I don't see the rights of private property owners being overturned for the sake of artistic photographers. I wish I was wrong.

I've been escorted away from places many times (and been called many names) because I was either on private property or photographing private property. I'm not talking about scaling a twelve foot high fence, topped with razor wire, in the dark of night. I'm talking about walking down a city street, pointing my wide angle up at the beautiful architecture of a building and being descended upon by armed security guards because the building I was pointing at was private property.

Or being told to leave the parking lot of a church where I was capturing a colorful sunset because "We don't allow that sort of thing around here". God may have given us beautiful sunsets for free but not the permission to enjoy them anywhere we wish.

The wilderness, public parks and tourist havens are about the only places where a photographer is truly free. We're all wearing Scarlett Letters wherever we go and those letters grow bigger and bolder as our photo gear looks more professional.

"No trespassing" signs are here to stay and "Make My Day" laws will become more common. Nobody trusts strangers anymore and photos can destroy lives. No wonder why photographers are viewed as people with ulterior motives.

I'd like to go back to Pleasantville, too. I just don't see it happening.

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Tonel » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:20 pm

And yet Google can drive through towns & cities taking an endless stream of photos of people and properties, apparently with the full backing of the governments concerned, and publish them to the world. So if you're a big company it's OK but if your an individual you're a possible terrorist.

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby DickK » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:48 am

Tonel wrote:And yet Google can drive through towns & cities taking an endless stream of photos of people and properties, apparently with the full backing of the governments concerned...


Nope, government not involved and some of them have indeed objected. As long as Google does it correctly, in the US neither the government nor individuals can stop it, although a few tried. They can't object if you do it either but the difference is that Google has lots of lawyers on staff and you don't. Being right isn't the issue, the issue is how high a price you're willing to pay to prove you're right.

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Ron » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:04 pm

Nope, government not involved and some of them have indeed objected. As long as Google does it correctly, in the US neither the government nor individuals can't stop it, although a few tried. They can't object if you do it either but the difference is that Google has lots of lawyers on staff and you don't. Being right isn't the issue, the issue is how high a price you're willing to pay to prove you're right.

Hi Dick I'm not 100% clear on what your saying but may I ask where you got your facts that support your above mentioned comments? Because here in NY there are many signs posted around the city, public places, forbidding photography but yet all these areas appear in Google Maps. A photographer friend of mine was hauled in and detained 6 hours (never got his flash card back either) for shooting landscape photography in one of the same areas, pic below!
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby DickK » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:20 pm

The government (at any level) can restrict access to it's property, as can an individual. It can control or prohibit photography (or just about anything else) while you're on that property. The government cannot prohibit photography of public or government property while you are on public property nor can an individual prohibit photography of private property when done from public property (there are a few specific oddball cases where this isn't quite true, but they're few enough to ignore). All such rules have been tested many times and so far as I know upheld every time. This is a frequent topic in photography forums and photography blogs (like included in the original post). There are a fair number entire books published on the legal aspects of photography all of which will say essentially the same thing--if Google or you follow a few rules you will be legal, period and end of story. Doesn't mean, however, that you won't be hassled, stopped or even arrested. Just means you'll win in court.

For example, TSA has acknowledged that it cannot prohibit you from photographing anything you want at an airport terminal including the security areas they control. They would "prefer" you not do that but they cannot legally stop you. This has been the subject of a fair number of court cases and the rights of the citizen upheld every time they behaved according the real laws about such things. Again, however, doesn't mean that some security guy at the airport might not assert strongly otherwise up to, and including, physically preventing you or seizing your equipment. Railroad enthusiasts routinely get hassled or prevented from photography of trains and railyards --perfectly legal if done from public property but again, you'll win the issue but suffer along the way. (If, by the way, you do it from their property without permission the charge is trespass and the photography is irrelevant.)

None of that means that you should take on the law enforcement folks or private security about it -- they're wrong but a confrontation could readily lead to bad results including you doing something that is, in fact, illegal.

As for the specifics of that sign, I can't comment. Insufficient information and I'm no lawyer. In the end, only a court can decide what's permissible within the law and what's not--I'd wager that specific case has never been tested (most aren't). If tested, the burden is on the government/private organization to show that it has an over riding need or the legal right to restrict an otherwise legal activity of citizens.

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby gpsmikey » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:31 pm

The key thing to remember when it is "you vs them" is that more often than not, "them" can a) make your life difficult no matter who is right and b) "them" usually has far deeper pockets than you do and has a bunch of lawyers on staff that are bored and looking for something to stay entertained with. You may be right, but you lose everything proving it. Is it fair? Nope, but that is the way if often works. Better solution is to be aware of the issue and as the guy in the original blog pointed out, head off the problem before it happens if you can.

Now why can't they go after the guys wandering around with the boom boxes cranked all the way up for "illegal public performances of copyrighted music" ????? :twisted:

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Ron » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:23 pm

I think you guys went off in a different direction - I was just supporting Tony's statement that it's OK for Google but not us of which you disagreed.
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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby DickK » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:59 am

Ron wrote:I think you guys went off in a different direction - I was just supporting Tony's statement that it's OK for Google but not us of which you disagreed.

Don't think so--it's okay for Google and it's okay for you. That's the point. They don't get any special privilege here.

They've been challenged as you might. If the real rules have been followed they win in court (they have) and you'll win in court (others have). The difference is they have the lawyers plus the financial ability and incentive to use them.

Outside the US (Europe for instance) Google has been challenged and lost where you or I probably would have won. Those challenges I've read about centered on how Google used the data they gathered not the actual image capture. There are, however, laws limiting your rights to take photos in various circumstances in various parts of the world. Something tourists frequently run into issues with. I'm sure Google's lawyers try to make sure they stay on the right side of those laws as well.

No, I think we got it--I believe you asserted that Google gets special treatment. That's not the way I read the situation. But if you mean that they may get a better outcome than we will, because they can afford the lawyers, then we agree.

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Re: Interesting discussion on taking pictures in public

Postby Ron » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:22 am

No, I think we got it--I believe you asserted that Google gets special treatment. That's not the way I read the situation. But if you mean that they may get a better outcome than we will, because they can afford the lawyers, then we agree.


I guess I see it a bit differently. As I think we agree but to me, if they get a better outcome then they get special treatment. I don't see the grey area here but I do understand your point clearer.
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