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Author Topic: Photographers seen as a threat  (Read 6739 times)
DiaAzul
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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2005, 09:44:51 PM »
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This happened to me in Paris, in a major tourist district. I was taking pictures towards dusk in La Marias when someone peeled off from a group and demanded to see my identity card. After a bit of too-ing and fro-ing it turned out they thought I was a terrorist picking a target. Eventually (as per most french) they backed down once I demanded to see their official papers and suggested to them that I would call the Gendarmerie. Other than that I have had several druggies and wino's decide that they wanted to intervene to stop me taking pictures, but usually with them it is a case of moving to another location and avoiding the hassel - polite reasoning in this situtation has no impact.

Although there has been a heavy security presence on the streets since 9/11 with both army and police very visibile I have never seen them stop anyone taking pictures.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
russell a
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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2005, 04:37:55 PM »
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Probably anyone who takes numerous photographs "in the street" has had various encounters with people questioning the intent.  I certainly run into this somewhat often.  My advice is to be clear on your rights (I recommend the publication Legal Handbook for Photographers by Bert P. Krages, Esq.), develop confident body language, and diffuse concern with smiles and friendly conversation.  I find that Police are not the problem.  They are almost always responding to the complaint/concern of some well-meaning citizen. Confidently and calmly telling them the truth about what you are doing ends the issue.  In several cases I have returned to a site where the owner had been concerned and given them a print with the intent of spreading goodwill for serious photographers in general.  Always (read the book above) get permission to venture onto private property, I have almost never been turned down.
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2005, 02:50:08 PM »
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I was chased away by the RCMP the first time I tried to photograph this bridge at night:

http://www.digiteyesed.com/portfolio/image...05/01/00301.php
http://www.digiteyesed.com/portfolio/image...05/01/00300.php

The officer asked for my film and when he was told that I didn't use film, demanded I delete the images from my camera instead. I refused to, but was told to leave the scene anyway or face arrest. I filed a complaint and was told the officer acted a bit too aggressively, but that the bridge is a problem location for them with local teens.

The fact that I had press identification didn't help, and only made the officer more hostile.
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Neutral Hills Stills
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2005, 04:22:35 PM »
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I know the law says I'm not obliged to provide ID or answer questions, but since I wasn't doing anything wrong, what's the point of putting up a fuss. It'll only make it take longer, and make them get nastier (they were actually quite polite through all of it).

I don't believe in making a fuss either. Politeness and consideration, in both directions, oils the wheels. Let's hope it was enhanced paranoia due to the state visit, which doesn't bother me all that much.

Nice shot of the bridge, btw, and kudos for spelling it right. I see it often spelled "Alexandria".
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John Camp
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2005, 11:41:46 AM »
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All kinds of organizations, either from malice or stupidity, have taken advantage of 9/11 to further their own ends. The police have been the worst. Photographers and cops used to get along pretty well, but since the Rodney King beating in LA, I think cops have more and more viewed photographers as threats to their jobs, and have taken advantage of 9/11 security concerns to attack photographers' rights. Although the situation in Canada and the UK is somewhat different, in the US we have a positive right to take photographs in public places. And guess what -- in the US, if you can see the building from a public place, like a sidewalk, you can take a picture of it and if you call it art, you can sell the picture; any supposed copyright of a building is worthless. (You can be restricted from taking photos on private property, just as you can be restricted from even entering private property.)

There's also a curious kind of provincialism at work. The county seat where I live is in Stillwater, Mn. The county courthouse closed one set of entrances to the public because of "security concerns." Is the county courthouse at Stillwater, Mn., going to be attacked by international terrorists? One would hesitate to think so...but for the people in that courthouse, it makes perfect sense. What courthouse (to them) could possibly be more important? Though there may have been other issues, as well...when they closed the entrances to the public, they left them open to employees. Now the most convenient parking lot and entrances are employee-only. As though an international terrorist, intent on reducing the courthouse to ashes, would be deterred from parking there...

Much of what is happening is an expansion of police and government authority because they want to expand their authority and will take any oppoortunity to do so. It has nothing to do with security.

Sorry for the rant, but I take this kind of thing personally.

JC
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mikealex
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2005, 11:42:44 AM »
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I do find it interesting that there has been trouble equally in Canada and the US. I had believed that Canada was much more tolerant and less paranoid when it came to this kind of stuff. I guess it isn't safe anywhere anymore.
I don't think it's been equal. I've certainly heard a lot more stories coming out of the US than I have in Canada. In fact, the only incidents I've heard of photographers being hassled in Canada, both involve the US embassy in Ottawa. I'm sure there have been other incidents, just not that I've heard.

My understanding is, there have been a lot more restrictions put in place in the US about what you can and can't photograph. For instance, bridges, waterways, subways, train stations etc (please correct me if I'm wrong, just what I've been reading, and we all know how reliable information on the internet is  . :: )
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gwarrellow
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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2005, 10:33:32 AM »
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Last year a group of british plane spotters (*) were arrested near a greek (or turkish?) airport for photographing planes taking off and landing. It took a lot of diplomatic wrangling to get them released.
That's right David.  This is the tale of the saga:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1953654.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2397667.stm
These guys had to fight pretty hard over a period of 1 year to clear themselves of being spies!  If I was a spy the last thing I would do is hang around with 13 other guys/gals
Graham
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2005, 05:40:31 PM »
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Quite right to point that out. I was using "Chrysler" since that's how I had always seen it referred. Apologies to them. OTOH, maybe we just gave them free publicity. And we spelled it right too.

It would not bother me that I was restricted in my ability to copy the design of their building when designing my own building. But I don't understand why I should be restricted in my freedom to take and sell a picture that happened to contain the building in it. I can understand that FORD would be upset if I started to sell a different brand of car that sported a bluish oval on its front. But why can't I sell a street scene photo that happens to have a Taurus in it, which is what recently happened to me. And why does it make alright to photoshop out the logo.

Sometimes I just wonder if these kinds of restrictions on our freedom are the things we should really be concerned about and that the occasional obsessive security squad vs photographer wrangle, as annoying as they can be, are a diversion from what is a greater danger in the long run. Eventually, the current security hypersensitivity will fade away but how do we get our sight angles back once they've been taken away?
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