This isn’t the kind of crime you’ll find in The Wire, but it’s pretty big for the photography community. The City of Baltimore has just agreed to pay a fine of $250,000 in a settlement over the “unlawful seizure and destruction” of videos from a citizen’s cell phone. The videos contained footage of Baltimore Police allegedly arresting and beating another person.
Last november, at the scene of a deadly collision, a photographer on the scene got into it with an on-duty officer who approached him about his camera. He recorded the chat they had under the officer’s nose, and then uploaded it to the internet. The video gained a good amount of attention, showing the officer acting aggressively, and now the police department he’s from has decided to uphold the complaint put against him.
We’ve done reports over stories that we hear of how people have been treated by police when practicing photography in public. Most of the time they’re journalists, bystanders, or someone trying to expose police in acts they probably shouldn’t be committing in the first place. And we’ve always treated the subject with importance because photography isn’t a crime. A state isn’t truly free if it isn’t a state that builds on a right to a freedom of speech, and photography is one method of that freedom of speech. But what about when photography itself is used in an abusive manner? Like the case just a few weeks back involving the subway guy from Massachusetts? Photographers should never be punished for taking pictures in public, but that statement itself comes with responsibilities on the photographers themselves. I want to focus a bit on something that really blurs the line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t: paparazzi photography.
This post comes after recent news of Kanye West settling a case involving an incident last July in where he assaulted a photographer as he was trying to leave the LAX airport. Before you pick up your pitchforks at me bringing him up, understand why I decided to bring him up. Out of any of the many celebrities that are mobbed today by paparazzi, Kanye West is arguably the most controversial through how may times his impulsive actions have become headlines for paparazzi on TMZ. [Read more...]
On Wednesday, Harlem’s community suffered tremendously when a gas leak explosion brought down two apartment buildings, killing 8 people and leaving over 70 injured. The NYPD was again faced with the task of digging through rubble to find any signs of survivors in a demolished area, bringing back memories to many people of what happened back on 9/11. A bizarre incident, however, did manage to make an appearance in the midst of everything when one photographer, Brian Wilson, caught some attention for his camera’s setup; it was on a flying drone.
The flying drone, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, managed to take a (pretty well done, might I add) aerial shot of the debris from the explosion that morning, and the photo was posted to the photographer’s Instagram account. It wasn’t, however, until the drone caught the attention of the NYPD that things got slightly controversial. I take that back; it already started turning heads of other people before it got noticed by the police, and even the people themselves got worried.
With cameras becoming more accessible and easier to use, we have more of an incentive to film anything interesting that’s happening within our view. It’s not just CCTV or a security camera that’s catching crimes happening on the street, and it’s not just LiveLeak that’s giving us videos of people acting out of line. And for every good cop out there, there’s a cop that feels threatened by the fact that his actions are more likely to be put on record.
Right now, it’s more important than ever that people know their rights when photographing anything; NPPA Attorney (National Press Photographer’s Association) Mickey H. Osterreicher recently sat down with PDN Pulse last thursday to give a few tips on the matter.
Back in July, 2013 we reported an incident where Seattle’s The Stranger news editor – Dominic Holden – was threatened to be arrested for photographing a person on the street along with the cops around him.
Usually those incidents get some media buzz. Sometime a police spokesman will issue a statement, and this is it. But this story, after going viral has a more conclusive ending.
It is not uncommon for police to harass citizens for taking pictures. In fact, if you head over to photography is not a crime you’ll find some stories that will make you pretty sad on the inside. Sometimes those stories hit the news, sometimes they don’t.
But you can be pretty sure that when a news editor gets harassed for snapping an iPhone pictures, it will be on the news.
According to his news story, Holden was snapping an iPhone picture of some police officers huddling around a young black guy, when he was threatened to leave the scene or get arrested. According to Holden, no other pedestrians were asked to leave. [Read more...]
Apparently taking a sequence of images for a time lapse is no reason enough, and you need to be able to tell what “they are for” or prepare to get busted.
That was the sad experience of Pennsylvania based photographer Jason Macchioni.