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Law Photography

Photography bans, and their inconsistent enforcement suck

At this point, I would call myself a “semi-pro” photographer. I have photos hanging in an art gallery. I have sold a few pieces. I have done work under contract. I’ve had a waitress at a popular establishment that serves hot wings ask me to take photos of her for their company’s calendar. (Though I sadly lost her contact info.) So all of that is to say that my camera gets a good workout.

I have a degree in journalism, and took photojournalism-specific and media law classes in pursuit of that degree. I’ve worked as a professional editor. All of that is to say that, though I am not a lawyer, I should probably know a thing or two about when and where you can and cannot take a photo. (And even so, I have consulted an attorney about that very subject, as well.)

So it really irks me to see things like this happening more and more often:
Photographers harassed by security at Union Station … even while interviewing Amtrak’s chief spokesman.

It has happened to me more than a couple of times.

Not to go off on a rant here (I know … too late), but selective and arbitrary bans on photography are an incredibly unfortunate, shortsighted and quite frankly ignorant abuse of authority. They are not only bad for art, they are bad for journalism. They are bad for democracy and for America. The UK, too.

UPDATE: Alleluia and an Amen from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Good on her!

3 replies on “Photography bans, and their inconsistent enforcement suck”

When I read about stuff like this it just makes my blood boil. I have yet to be stopped or questioned, but I’ve been expecting it.

About your comment on these bans being bad for democracy, has this administration ever seemed to care about democracy?

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