Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Photography Is Not A Crime
I've been reading a lot lately about the increasing criminalization of photography. It seems that more and more photographers are stopped by police officers all over the country for doing nothing more than photographing on public property. And many photographers, it seems, do not understand their rights: we have the right to photograph things that happen in public if we are on public property. That doesn't mean we can obstruct traffic or prevent police from doing their jobs, but public property is public whether you're a guy walking his dog or a guy taking a picture—no matter whether that picture is a personal snapshot or a professional assignment. If you're feeling at all unsure about your rights to photograph in public, I recommend you check out the story "Criminalizing Photography," by James Estrin of the New York Times. He interviews the chief General Counsel for the National Press Photographers' Association, Mickey H. Osterreicher, who explains just how much photography has come under attack in recent years. And then, if you've got the stomach for it, take a look at Carlos Miller's Photography Is Not A Crime blog, which showcases daily incidents of photographers being detained, harassed and just plain criminalized for doing nothing more than exercising their first amendment rights. Thanks to Mike Johnston, the Online Photographer, for inspiring me to speak out about this issue. His brief editorial does a wonderful job of succinctly explaining the issue facing photographers—and all members of our society—when it comes to protecting our freedoms.