Posts Tagged ‘law


Young Brit photojournalist detained

For taking photos of young military cadets during an Armed Forces parade.

This is frightening and absurd. The young fellow had the presence of mind to begin audio recording during the detainment, and he’s put together a video collage of the “offensive” photos. Once again, people are parading for public view, and someone in authority thinks that they should not be photographed?

This is in the UK, but it shows that in the US, we need to be vigilant in our rights to photograph in public places.


Pushing around the media

Even high-profile TV folks can get pushed around by the police for trying to do their jobs. “Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.”

Watch the reporter being arrested on video. The cop literally pushes him out into and across the street from a public sidewalk, then brings in several other officers to cuff this one guy.


Yet more your right to photograph

Scary post here at Minnesota Public radio, leading up to the Republican National Convention. (side note: has anyone heard stories like this prior to the DNC?) From moderate harassment (show me your ID) to damaging equipment and erasing cards, I’m wondering if photographers should go out with a wingman to cover them with concealed video if harassed by security. It’s sad to think that posting to Youtube is the only way to make these things go away.


Followup to Man arrested for Unlawful Photography

Magic City Mania has a post that fleshes out the story of the man arrested by police for unlawful photography. Apparently he has had problems with the local sheriff’s office before, but as far as I can tell, he’s just a fellow defending his rights against police harassment. It also appears that his daughter is a better photographer than he is.


Your right to photograph

There’s an interesting and useful post at Photojojo that pretty much synopsizes the rules regarding photography in public places. One thing it doesn’t mention is that while you have the right to photograph, you may not have the right to use the photo. It all depends on the use. Art? OK. Editorial? Probably OK. Commercial? You need a release to publish.

But the most important thing to remember is the Hassle Factor. You are within your rights, but some security guy comes out and starts giving you a bunch of guff. (This has happened to me, I was on an assignment photographing a hospital exterior in the evening, I was across the street from the hospital on a sidewalk, with the camera on a tripod, and security people came across the street to harass me.) Now, you can argue you have the right to photograph there (in my situation, the hospital was aware of the assignment!), but when they threaten to call the cops, you have to ask yourself: do I want to spend the evening down at the station? Even if I get the photo, even if I’m within my rights, do I want to tick off everyone in the world and spend an hour or two discussing my rights with the police?

The blunt fact is: it doesn’t matter. If you have the time and inclination to support your rights, you can, but it doesn’t matter how much you complain, no one is going to get reprimanded for taking a call from a concerned citizen and escorting you downtown. The authorities unfortunately have every right to hinder you in your job, as long as they don’t threaten to arrest you or take your gear. They can question you until you call your lawyer.

Since 9/11 there’s been all kinds of paranoia about photography in public places, and you can drive by power plants with big signs that say “no photography.” Who enforces that? I mean, terrorists can’t get what they need from Google Earth? Do these people really have a clue who they need to be afraid of?

Something from a few months back:

Professor detained for taking pictures sues

"The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own." - Susan Sontag, On Photography
View Michael Keller's profile on LinkedIn
Follow The Reality Tourist on

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Twitter