Photography under threat: The shooting party’s over

BillN

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John - you are right to do what you do - we all have similar feelings these days about many issues ......... there now seems to be new one a week coming into our view ........... and it is difficult to understand why certain things are allowed to happen

It's good to "take a breath" now and again, before moving forward, otherwise it can get you down a little, (I can see that you feel passionately about this issue), - that's what I have to do anyway ...............

Good luck with your articles and representations
 

Djarum

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Please don't take me wrong; I do like to counter balance my own arguements, if only go give them more creedence and greater strength. I certainly do not wish to play down the importance of this issue - indeed, I seem to have adopted it as something of a personal crusade. Apart from banging on about it endlessly on various forums I've also had an article published in Amateur Photographer magazine with another awaiting publication. I've written to our Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner rgarding this issue on several occasions. I've attended a street protest for the first time in my life and am becomming impatient for more, to the extent that I'm considering what active protest I might make as an individual. I'm not frightened of imprisonment if it ultimately comes to that because, as a pensioner, my income (to support my family) is guaranteed whether I'm at liberty or not. Whatever action I take it will be peaceful because I abhor violence. However, I hope the overused phase "over my dead body" does not prove to be predictive.....but if that's what it takes. :mad:

I love my country, our heritage, freedoms and traditions and I will not stand idly by as they are trampled roughshod by cynical politicians manipulating a wave of public fear and suspicion to further their Orwellian ambitions.

I never did.
 

goldenlight

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bbrovold

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Wow! A lot of discussion on democratic freedoms which are diminishing throughout the globe on the pretense of the "war on terrorism". Yes, I have been stopped by the police in the past 12 months for photographing a public building. The police asked me "why do you photograph this place (MN state fair grounds) and the answer was because it is interesting. Then they said that their job was to ask questions to which I replied "well, if you are finished with your job, let me get back to mine". When they drove away I (you guessed it) took their picture.
The younger generation has been conditioned not to question and that is part of the problem today. People don't realize or appreciate history and events that transpired to allow things to happen such as WW2. Circumvention of freedoms in exchange for security or financial gain has been a large part of rogue governments of the past and still continues today.
I am just getting into the Winogrand mode of shooting and I fear the day when I have a confrontation with authority because I have an attitude and "don't play well with others" when my freedoms are questioned.
 

cosinaphile

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the ratio of cops to citizens is frightening in nyc ....so your cameras are safe even if you are not safe from the cops ,
a case in point:
my young 2ND cousin from Rome spent a month in NYC experiencing america and buyng a nice digital camera too about 5 years ago.... on the day before he was to go home he happened upon a house fire which was being bravely being fought by new yorks finest........
[ for those of you who hale from other locales that would be the FIRE DEPARTMENT...FDNY not NYPD ]

he was trying out his new machine with a bit of "photojournalism" recording the extinguishing of the fire , the cops on the scene told him to stop taking pictures but he moved some feet away and took more shots ,

3 sadistic ny police officers cornered him between some parked cars, took out their nightsticks ands beat him senseless, arrested him, and he spent his last 10 hours as a 'photo tourist" in a holding cell in a queens station house

my wife and i took went to a queens courthouse at 1 am the next morning, and at the advice of a court appointed lawyer who told us charges would be dropped , held our tongues ,and saw the judge dismiss the case [after waiting some hours] in about 30 seconds.

The contusions, blackened eyes and face ,legs, chest ,arms gave MY young cousin the appearance of someone who had been in an automobile accident .
we took him to the hospital for xrays and treatment and he went home to rome soon thereafter .

Come to new new york and enjoy the day visit, i greatly look foward to the bresson show at moma,
Your cameras are very safe here..[ but be attentive obviously].but you are unfortunately unsafe to use them as you please.

america is the new police state. and canada is a bit worse still , welcome to orwells nightmare of the future

your mileage may vary
 

BBW

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Cosinaphile, I'm very distressed to hear about your relative who was treated so terribly.

I do want to point out, however, that many people walk through the city during the day and night and are not accosted in anyway by the police.

So if people are thinking about visiting to attend, please do as countless other people do daily with their cameras in tow.
 

cosinaphile

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their ferocity varies like the wind , i would say the police do a good job of protecting property, but at a tremendous cost to your freedom to take a picture in public.

Its likely that none of the people from this forum will experience anything like the horrific day i described, but if you think you can take a pic of the cops at work or of a location they have decided is off limits, then unpleasantness may result

i hope the dismal tale i told will not deter anyone from visiting the moma show ,
it will be an important show , and it should not be missed . im going and im taking my camera , i walk and shoot in ny almost everyday, but im mindful....
and im not joking about the behavior of the police, sometimes, regarding photographers ....it is not pretty ... and at times borders on criminally insane .
 

LisaO

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Yikes, I've never heard of something like that and I doubt it's a common occurrence, though it sounds like an awful thing to go through. I don't understand what they were charging your cousin with, let alone why they would beat him up for taking photos. So sorry it happened.

I felt more pressure from Gendarmes in Paris than I have ever felt in New York City.
 

cosinaphile

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as i said lisa, your mileage may vary ,for me , the police are a scary bunch of thugs here in nyc. for instance ,they routinely harass a group of bicyclists who ride as a group , they hate anything organized , a peaceful political rally freaks them out, and thousands of people have been harassed, falsely arrested , beaten, or worse in the past decade due to their contempt for the avg citizen and american freedoms of speech and assembly .

it saddens me deeply to tell you this... as an american who loves his country, if not the criminals who administer it , i have seen much change for the worse in my lifetime .

listen.... everyone who want to should come to ny and enjoy all it has to offer....
the cartier bresson show ......and tons of other great stuff should !!
you will be quite safe , just bear in mind what i said regarding amateur photojournalism,so your trip will be a pleasant memory full of great photos and not something else

its not just the usa and nyc
the UK suffers deeply in this regard too where it pertains photographic freedoms and warrentless surveillance ....canada as well,.... i believe there was a thread posted here about a newspaper article from the uk about this

im not on a crusade here , 10 years ago the police were not nearly violent or intolerant
as today .i only hope the pendulum swing toward freedom and openess soon . its been on a bad course way too long
 

LisaO

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I was taking photos of a building that had many French flags on it from about 20-30 meters away with a wide angle lens. There was a line of people outside. I just liked the building. Three people came over to me and started yelling at me in French and tried to drag me into the building for illegally taking their picture. I didn't really understand what they were saying but they were pissed. I apologized in my pigeon French "je suis desole" and though one had them had grabbed my arm I got away. I think it was a Police building.

I was on my way that morning to my first day of a 10 day Paris street photography workshop.


Later that week gendarmes at the eiffel tower of all places (I think it's mandatory to have a camera there) made me delete some photos from my card that they thought they were in.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

This is the photo
 

BartonFlyer

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Jan 21, 2010
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Bolton, UK
Why on earth do our politicians and law enforcers have such an hysterical reaction to private citizens taking photographs when Google Earth and Google Street View provide all the location and content information that any would be terrorist could need?
 

pete

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Feb 26, 2010
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Phoenix, Az
I must admit when Bill first started this thread I had my hole in the ground not realizing the extent or seriousness of this problem. Cosinaphile, thanks for your story and comments. Although nothing like this has happened to me I do feel everyone's pain and am deeply upset by this.

I have always felt our rights are slowly being taken away from us, in one form or another. Slowly but surely. And Im not sure how I would react if I was accosted for shooting in public. I would not go down quietly, I do know that.

Take care everyone and be safe. Just don't quite know what else to say here....

Pete
 

mauve

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I was taking photos of a building that had many French flags on it from about 20-30 meters away with a wide angle lens. There was a line of people outside. I just liked the building. Three people came over to me and started yelling at me in French and tried to drag me into the building for illegally taking their picture. I didn't really understand what they were saying but they were pissed. I apologized in my pigeon French "je suis desole" and though one had them had grabbed my arm I got away. I think it was a Police building.
There's one thing you've absolutely got to know about France : you are simply not allowed to take pictures of people in the street. This is the law. It's called "privacy protection". You may expose yourself to hefty damages if you get in troubles. While there is a certain level of tolerance for tourism sake, this is by no mean a permit to shoot at will.

The line you pictured looks to me like a waiting line for foreigners willing to get working permits or "green cards" ; I don't recognise the place exactly, but details make me think they're not there for fun only nor for tourism. This is a contentious social subject. You got away fine because you weren't french, but this could have been pretty serious.

In France, either get implicit get-go (but even this isn't fool proof against a*holes) or avoid picturing faces in a recognisable fashion. Otherwise, tuck your camera away, deep in your pocket.

And never, ever, picture a cop, nor any other kind of civil servant at work.
 

lggomez

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Apr 2, 2010
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Bogota, DC - Colombia
In Colombia things are different, which is rare due to the radical attitude of the Armed Forces that think they can get away with anything that has to do with your liberties or Human Rights. In the museums it's fine to take pics as long you do not use flash. In the streets it's mostly permitted as long is not a Military post or building but around the home of the President or the sorroundings buildings like the Palace of Justice (?...), the Congress, etc. you can take whatever photos you want. A paradigm!
 

Iansky

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The British bureaucracy have gone completely overboard (as usual) and the CPSO's (Community Police Support Officers) are the biggest offenders with Private Security firms running a close second - I guess it proves the point that power corrupts and "want to be" enforcement officers get off on this.
There is no law in the UK that prevents photography in public places and this has been stated by the Commissioner of Police and endorsed by the Home Office.
Unfortunately, in this day and age of Police statistics these "Stop & Search" tactics using the Anti terrorism regulations (or very ambiguous variations of them) all count toward the overall daily statistics required to justify the head count - silly me, I thought it was detecting/preventing and solving crime rather than what is now an errossion of civil liberties.
Sorry - you got me started.............and like many in this country, I am fed up with the misinterpretation of rules by these power crazy amateurs!!!
 

Brian S

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I've never had a problem, and take pictures in DC and Old Town Alexandria quite a bit. Use the camera on the Metro. Tourism is big business here. I can imagine the financial impact if people were told "No Photography" in DC.

I've turned down travel to England, business trip so all expenses paid. No interest after all of this nonsense. I'll add new York and most of Europe to the list.

Are tourists told to leave their cameras home when traveling to Europe these days?
 
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