Thursday, July 18, 2013
Nat Geo Photographer Arrested
Here's an interesting legal case to keep your eye on, because I think it could have some far-reaching ramifications when all is said and done. National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz was recently arrested for taking photos of a Kansas feedlot. Steinmetz was able to photograph this private property because he did so from the air. You see, Steinmetz's typical approach to assignments is to shoot from a motorized paraglider that he assembles himself. He was even featured on NBC's Today show earlier this year (linked in the article below) for his new book full of desert aerials. It's typically assumed to be fairly safe to photograph public things you can see from public property. It would make sense that that translates to public airspace as well. But because Kansas has an "ag gag" law, known officially as the Farm Animal and Field Crop Research Facilities Protection Act, it's therefore illegal to photograph any animal facility not open to the public. I'll be interested to see how this plays out. I might have to rethink my policy of "If I can see it from a public space, I'm safe to photograph it."