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c6h6o3
04-26-2005, 10:56 AM
So, let me get this straight:
As long as you are polite, smile a lot and look like a harmless european tourist you are ok, but if you carry a big camera, wear "suspicious" clothing, are grumpy and look middle eastern or muslim you are in trouble?

You have it perfectly...now spread 'em!

MattCarey
04-26-2005, 11:03 AM
One of my old professors liked to tell the story of a visit to (then) communist Poland. His wife was translating as they went through the exit interview. The border guard asked what they were taking pictures of, and he answered (in English) "the usual, Bridges, military installations, etc." The border guard quickly replied, also in English, "Bridges and Military installations?".

The professor thought to himslef, "Tell me that I just learned to understand Polish!"

After much harrassment, they were allowed to go. Of course, the film in his camera was removed.

A bit off topic, but I thought I would add this.

Matt

chuck94022
04-26-2005, 11:40 AM
As Jim Chinn pointed out, understanding the US and it's current context is key. There has been endless conversation within this country after 9-11 requesting that ordinary citizens "be vigilent" and to report suspicious activity. While it may be reasonable to question the wisdom of this, consider that the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 did so from among us. In the parlance of the intelligence community, they hid in plain sight.

We are a very independent people by culture. Generally, it is not our government imposing restrictions (there are some new impositions, but let's not carry this discussion in that direction please), it is ordinary citizens trying to "do their part" for homeland security. It is certainly the case that many will go beyond what they have a right to do, and will infringe on the rights of others.

If you are visiting from a foreign country, I think it is prudent to be sensitive to the cumulative impacts of the 1993 WTC bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9-11, and the nearly-successful Millineum Attack (a foiled attempt to attack LAX). Add to that current news that bin Laden is directing Zarqawi to attack the US directly, and constant reports regarding the porosity of our southern border, and you might understand why ordinary people are more wary than they used to be.

Our government, rather than taking the unacceptable step of locking down public places (for the most part), has asked its citizenry to "be vigilant". Unfortunately, sometimes these citizens decide to "be vigilantes".

I'm not defending behavior that infringes on your rights or my rights. I do believe it is prudent not to be grumpy, confrontational or defensive in those circumstances. I think it is quite reasonable to smile, offer the person a copy of that nice document linked to above regarding your rights as a photographer, and be otherwise civil. (And after the fact, if you are so inclined, sue the bastard! :D ).

Our current culture (one of a new vigilance), customs, and laws may be more restricted than those of your home country. That doesn't make the US bad, just different. Be sensitive to that, and be prudent.

I think it is just as prudent for US citizens going abroad to be just as sensitive to the local laws, customs and culture. Many (not all, or even most, but some) are more restrictive than that to which we are accustomed. Some are less restrictive. In those cases, I say enjoy, within reason!

Andy K
04-26-2005, 11:58 AM
As you say, it may be a cultural thing, but, from an outside point of view the US has gone 'way over the top' in it's 'vigilance'. Personally I think it's because you are not used to being attacked on your home soil.
We suffered over thirty years of terror attacks in Britain. We survived it, and combatted it, without even half the restrictions now being enforced on you guys across the pond.

Lee Shively
04-26-2005, 04:01 PM
Andy, I don't know where you get the figures but there really are not very many restrictions on what we do in this country. I certainly have never felt limited in what I do or where I go.

The only new restriction I've faced was having a security guard hold my fingernail clippers when I entered a Federal building.

Bureaucracy is everywhere. Always has been.

jnanian
04-26-2005, 04:28 PM
So, let me get this straight:
As long as you are polite, smile a lot and look like a harmless european tourist you are ok, but if you carry a big camera, wear "suspicious" clothing, are grumpy and look middle eastern or muslim you are in trouble?

doesn't matter what size camera ... i was regularly bothered by the police when on assignment for a weekly paper (dslr). the even sadder thing was that besides security+police "doing their job" the paper i worked for refused to give me any sort of 'official id ' that said who i was and who i was working for

... maybe they were giving me the business because i wasn't shooting film :confused:

TPPhotog
04-26-2005, 04:43 PM
doesn't matter what size camera ... i was regularly bothered by the police when on assignment for a weekly paper (dslr). the even sadder thing was that besides security+police "doing their job" the paper i worked for refused to give me any sort of 'official id ' that said who i was and who i was working for

... maybe they were giving me the business because i wasn't shooting film :confused:

Do you have the equivalent of the National Union of Journalists over there? In the UK you can get membership by proving your getting paid publications in the press or a provisional membership whilst you get the work under your belt.

jnanian
04-26-2005, 05:17 PM
Do you have the equivalent of the National Union of Journalists over there? In the UK you can get membership by proving your getting paid publications in the press or a provisional membership whilst you get the work under your belt.

i think the asmp ( american society of media professionals ) would be a similar sort of thing. it is an orgainzation, not a union ... and it costs $$ to join with references by folks that are already members &C ... probably not the same sort of thing now that i read what you wrote.

|| || || || || ||

what i usually do these days is if i am going to be photographing "in-public" and i am guessing it will be a sketchy-situation ( problems from the fuzz or wacko-s) i usually call the cops to let them know who i am &C so if a nutcase sees " some terrorist looking guy with a camera" the police will at least have a clue when they are called. kind of pathetic it has come to this, i know, but it has seemed to work so far.

oh - i don't work for the paper anymore - friends like that who needs enemies ...

TPPhotog
04-26-2005, 05:29 PM
oh - i don't work for the paper anymore - friends like that who needs enemies ...

Yep been there, eat the pie and took the carving knife out of my back ;)

haris
04-27-2005, 04:07 PM
Happened in Sarajevo: I once was standing on the bridge with camera in my hands. I didn't take photographs at that time. Two police officers approached to me and very polite said that they were called form security of USAID, which was in one near building. They also said that I can photograph if I want, but they must take informations about me. There was no sign that photography is prohibited, and there was also no sign that USAID is in that building...

Second example: Only sign that photography is prohibited in Sarajevo is in front of USA embassy. No other buildings, embassies, etc, have that sign (as far as I know), only USA embassy... Well, you can't blame someone for being coward...

Rlibersky
04-27-2005, 05:04 PM
As you say, it may be a cultural thing, but, from an outside point of view the US has gone 'way over the top' in it's 'vigilance'. Personally I think it's because you are not used to being attacked on your home soil.
We suffered over thirty years of terror attacks in Britain. We surcombatted it, without even half the restrictions now being enforced on you guys across the pond.

I agree with Lee. You need to let us know what restriction you are talking about. I have photographed refineries, electrical plants, government buildings, and others.(since the 9/11 attack). No official has told me I can't. Some of the police that show up, although not often, are apologetic about someone calling in.

Could be Minnesota nice. I guess.

Andy K
04-27-2005, 05:23 PM
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/loss/assessing/assessingnewnormal.htm

chuck94022
04-27-2005, 05:40 PM
As you say, it may be a cultural thing, but, from an outside point of view the US has gone 'way over the top' in it's 'vigilance'. Personally I think it's because you are not used to being attacked on your home soil.
We suffered over thirty years of terror attacks in Britain. We survived it, and combatted it, without even half the restrictions now being enforced on you guys across the pond.

Andy, have you personally experienced any of this "way over the top" in the US or are you just parroting what you read from the web and see on TV?

I actually traveled to the UK during your country's troubles with the IRA. When I went to the airport (Heathrow) on my departure there was a tank - a goddamned TANK! - sitting on the roadway just inside the airport, menacingly facing the traffic.

While I was waiting for my flight, I was accosted by a plainclothes cop of some kind and interrogated about who I was, why I was there, where I was going, where I had been, etc., etc. He didn't throw me up against a wall or anything, but it was very clear that if I even thought about walking away that is what would happen next. This wasn't at a security checkpoint. I was just in the waiting area, minding my own business.

Now I was a normal looking businessman at the time. I was dressed well, and had nothing with me but my carry-on luggage.

You call that normal? That's never happened to me in the US.

chuck94022
04-27-2005, 05:52 PM
For more information on Britain's own internal security branch, MI5, follow this link to their homepage:

http://www.trousers.co.uk/mi5/

Definitely worth reading for anyone living in or travelling to the UK...

Andy K
04-27-2005, 05:58 PM
Chuck, until this year I was a regular visitor to the US. I've been to New York, Miami, Orlando etc on the usual tourist trek.
This year I will not be visiting. I refuse to be fingerprinted like some kind of criminal at customs.

Andy K
04-27-2005, 06:04 PM
For more information on Britain's own internal security branch, MI5, follow this link to their homepage:

http://www.trousers.co.uk/mi5/

Definitely worth reading for anyone living in or travelling to the UK...

I was going to reply with a sarcastic link to a CIA or FBI spoof, but there are too many to choose from...

chuck94022
04-27-2005, 06:08 PM
I refuse to be fingerprinted like some kind of criminal at customs.

Personally, I think that beats getting accosted by the police while minding my own business like they can do in the UK, but, hey, to each his own. Post some nice shots from where ever you decide to go!

chuck94022
04-27-2005, 06:09 PM
I was going to reply with a sarcastic link to a CIA or FBI spoof, but there are too many to choose from...

Ya gotta admit that one's pretty funny...

BradS
04-27-2005, 06:13 PM
I refuse to be fingerprinted like some kind of criminal at customs.

Hmmm...why pass up a chance to give 'em the finger(s)?

Andy K
04-27-2005, 06:23 PM
Personally, I think that beats getting accosted by the police while minding my own business like they can do in the UK, but, hey, to each his own. Post some nice shots from where ever you decide to go!

You're kidding right? In Miami I got accosted by a neanderthal in police uniform just for crossing the road! Another time I was stopped for not wearing a shirt, when it was 90 degrees. Another time for drinking beer from a can.
Don't they have real criminals to hassle?