I came across an article that I can’t help but reposting and commenting on.
In the past not only been threatened by people in public because I’ve taken a photo in their general direction, but I’ve been nervous about photographing “police events”, fearing being harassed, or worse yet arrested, by those same police.
It bothers me that we are not free to photograph public events and/or city streets without needing to justify ourselves. It’s absurd that we are lead to believe that it’s ‘against the law’ and that we are having our right to see and record events and places quietly taken away.
One of my past students was harassed by police officers while taking photos of a bridge at night. Two separate squad cars in less than 20 minutes questioned him about his intentions.
“Why are you out here so late?”
“Why are you photographing this bridge?”
“You have an accent and don’t appear to be from around here… We think you should pack up and leave.”
This has also happened here in Vancouver to me while shooting on a bridge that was Port of Vancouver property… even though I was photographing the city skyline, 180 degrees opposite of the actual port. Forced to leave due to security issues.
911 really F’d things up for photographers. It seems we can no longer do street photography without people feeling threatened by our cameras. We can’t photograph bridges at night or obscure areas of our cities without the police siting some “homeland security” crap.
A recent article in the Toronto Star makes some great points and deserves a full read.
The following is an excerpt from “Freedom to Photograph”
The situation in Canada has reached the point where it needs to be said loudly and clearly: there is no law against public photography in Canada; no one here can ever be arrested for the simple act of making a picture or film, unless other laws are being broken in the process; and police officers who are in uniform and executing their duties in public have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Don’t let our rights be smothered by those in charge. Fight for your right to take photos and make statements about the world we live in. If we don’t, we may fall into the same trap as the England has.
See “I’m a Photographer not a Terrorist“, it should scare you enough.
photo by: Lewishamdreamer (Flickr)
UPDATE: after posting this story, I’ve had people return with some great links… I’ll keep this post up to date with those links shared.
Pencanada.ca – “Public photography is no crime”
Mike Farkas vs Niagara regional Police << this is a crazy story!