You have it perfectly...now spread 'em!
Originally Posted by arigram
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.
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! ).
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!
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.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
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.
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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
Originally Posted by arigram
... maybe they were giving me the business because i wasn't shooting film
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.
Originally Posted by jnanian
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.
Originally Posted by TPPhotog
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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 ...
Last edited by jnanian; 04-27-2005 at 01:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Yep been there, eat the pie and took the carving knife out of my back
Originally Posted by jnanian
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...