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  1. #11

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    mike -

    the same thing happened to me when i wanted to photograph the ri supreme court, but it was courthouse police who told me it was illegal. it was a good thing i was taking a portrait of the chief justice ....

  2. #12
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    It is funny that a thousand people a day could surreptitiously take pictures of every detail of these buildings from every angle with their cell phones without drawing a glance and yet when some guy openly sets up a film camera on a tripod a half a block away in plain sight in the middle of the day to take the same picture that you can buy on a postcard in any dime store on Main Street and it's time to call out the home guard.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  3. #13
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flotsam
    It is funny that a thousand people a day could surreptitiously take pictures of every detail of these buildings from every angle with their cell phones without drawing a glance and yet when some guy openly sets up a film camera on a tripod a half a block away in plain sight in the middle of the day to take the same picture that you can buy on a postcard in any dime store on Main Street and it's time to call out the home guard.

    Last week, I wandered into a number of art galleries on Cape Cod that has posted signs on their doors stating "No food, drink, pets or cell phones".

    I suspect that is a recognition that traditional photograph is an obvious activity, and if it is inappropriate, can be discretely managed. But cell phones can be used so surrepticiously that no one would ever know what is happening.

    Seems to me that those who are concerned about security should be far more worried about guys wandering around appearing to talk on cell phones while trying to merge into the woodwork than they are about photographers with big cameras on tripods.

  4. #14
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Had a similar experience in the railway station in Brighton, England last summer. I was leading a workshop on street photography that I have done for the past 7 years and always started it in Brighton railway station. I was approached by the Transport Police and told that photographs where not allowed because we may have been taking them for use by terrorists. When I pointed out that we were 17 strong and had at least £50,000 of highly visible camera equipment hung about our bodies and unlikely to be terrorists the sergeant was less that understanding.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  5. #15

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    Surely one of the things that makes all these rules completely stupid is that in most cases you can go down to a public library and get photographs of all public buildings from their archives? Also lets face it a terrorist is going to use a point and shoot digital if they want to target anything or even buy a postcard. Maybe the power crazed officials are still thinking with the cold war mentality, in which case may ye gods protect us

  6. #16

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    Thanks for the comments, and related tales - at least it helps to know we are a special bunch! Reply for the USPS is already in, boy that was quick - they just suggested that I contact the local Postmaster and see what THEIR policy is on photographing the building. Leads me to believe that 1. there is no law that prohibits taking photos of government buildings 2. the local postmaster is allowed to make the call..which again means it not law (unless they can get the local city/county/state to pass an something).

    Appreciate the input, sure hate to see this..it just means that the terrorist have managed to not disrupt normal activities (like photography), but have managed to make some folks way to paranoid. Sigh!!
    Mike C

    Rambles

  7. #17
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    When my in-laws were growing up, it was illegal to photograph government buildings of any kind, trains, planes, and even parades. They grew up in Nazi occupied Holland.
    —Eric

  8. #18
    Andy K's Avatar
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    So if I was to visit the US on holiday (vacation) and photographed the Whitehouse (or any other 'tourist-interesting' building) I would/could be arrested?

    It puzzles me how little you can photograph in the US these days, I also seem to remember a thread, not long ago, about people not being permitted to photograph Monument Valley due to something to do with Native American rights, is this true?


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  9. #19

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    Not sure about the Whitehouse, but probably..if you used at tripod. Doen not make sense to me you can handhold a camera, in plain site or hidden and photograph just about anything...pull out a tripod and boom...no one wants you to take a picture then.

    About the Indian Lands..some do allow photography, others do not, always best to check with the locals...Monument Valley...pretty sure you can photograph, just can't get off the road (in other words you need a guide - check out Mark's artilce in the Artilces section, it's pretty good)
    Mike C

    Rambles

  10. #20

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    A lot of this has to do with CYA. Police, security gaurds and building officials probably do not know the specific rights of the public with regards to photography. Better to stop the photographer and not get into trouble and lose your job if they think it is illeagal to photograph the building. I don't think it is illeagal to photograph anything from a public right of way. On the specific site is a different matter.

    Pre-9/11 I was with a friend on a county road just off the property of Offutt Air Force Base in Bellvue, NE. We were photographing the comings and going of aircraft during an airshow. A vehicle showed up with two base security officers. They asked to look at our cameras and in our vehicles. We complied and after deciding we were pretty harmless, told us to have fun and left. I assume the outcome would be different today so I have not been back.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

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