I must be invisible (or lucky) because I photograph at Capitol and Supreme Court (exterior) and other sites on the Mall with no hassle at all. At Capitol the armed security is quite visible but they seemed to make an effort to "disappear" behind the columns when I was shooting. I know they were aware of me because they acknowledged my presence with what one might say was a friendly non-verbal greeting. At Supreme Court I never saw security even though I'm quite sure they were there.
In NoVA things can be different. Even standing near some nondescript buildings will result in a "scram" request from a scary-looking heavily-armed security guard with no identifying uniform. They've never been impolite but the message is clear, just keep moving along.
One of these days I'll have to use a camera at an airport and see if my life is charmed or if I've just been dang lucky so far.
This gives me an idea...
We have a major Air Force base near by. It might be interesting to find a vantage point (on private property, of course) near by, and set up there with a monster zoom lens on a tripod-mounted camera, just to see if there is any response, what form it takes, and how they act. Have someone on hand to video the whole operation. Sort of a performance art kind of thing.
I'll see if I can get internet access at Leavenworth to let you know how it turned out.
I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here
) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here
) when I want to.
Naturally, it all depends on what type of photography you do, but in my experience when taking photographs for non-commercial use, it's best to always ask a security person if photography is allowed before pressing down on the shutter in a public/private-owned-open to public space. Now, bear in mind if you intend on selling or making a profit from your work, you, at least here in the US, must get the required permits and obtain release forms of your subject(s) in order to avoid any issues during the time of your shoot and afterwards.
"The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin
First, my personal policy is that if anyone objects to being photographed, I will delete/destroy/surrender the exposure.
Originally Posted by drgoose
Second, I don't photograph sensitive locations or situations just for personal use.
It makes people uncomfortable, and I have plenty of other things to photograph.
Many airports have sections where photography is explicitly prohibited.
Even if it isn't we should avoid taking photographs that would make passengers and crew uncomfortable, or get you into trouble with security.
If you work on an assignment to document airports then obviously, it's best to obtain the express permission to work there and set the work parameters.
Last edited by Jaf-Photo; 05-09-2014 at 10:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Gee I take photographs in airports all the time. All over the world. I have never been talked to, by anyone. I have several self imposed rules however. I never take photographs of kids that aren't mine, and I do not take photographs of people that would show them in a negative light (unless of course they are WalMartians).
It would seem some participants in this thread would like to see the likes of Winogrand etc. packed up and thrown in jail.
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Security theatre, plain and simple. If a Bad Guy wants to photograph a target, the small point & shoot cameras are so small that you probably wouldn't even notice them doing it. Harassment of people who make no secret of what they're doing is just that. An attempt to keep evryone "in line" and to demonstrate that stepping out of line in any way will meet with unpleasant consequences...as will knowing your rights and attempting to assert them.
Yeah, I'm sad that the "live and let live" America that I grew up in is now the "post 9/11" America, where the excuse for over-enthusiastic policing is "9/11 changed that". What they don't understand, but there may still be hope, is that the best (and perhaps only) way to fight terrorism is to refuse to be terrorised, and continue doing things as you always have, and treating everyone with the respect you would like to be treated with.
I agree with this 100%. Well said.
Originally Posted by Peter Simpson
I forgot to mention one more personal rule.
If I am taking photographs in a public space which is guarded or attended, I start by presenting myself and explaining why I will be taking photographs. I've never been told no, but if I was, I would respect it.
I live in a country, Sweden, with very few legal restrictions on photography, but to me it is more about common sense than law.
If you look at the work of the great masters, very few images required them to break any laws or decorum.
I'm at one of those public viewing areas at a major metroplolitan airport. When I arrived the area was locked so I stood near the "no loitering" sign for about 20 minutes before cops appeared. They asked 2 questions: are you waiting for someone? And where is your car (its in a local shop at the moment). Their response was to apologize for not opening the gate on time an to wissh me a happy day. No hassle at all. Interestingly, inside the viewing area are the same "no loitering" signs.