This Kansas City district is fighting back against photographers

Nov 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nov 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The historic West Bottoms district of Kansas City is fighting back against photographers. They’ve been battling what seems to only be describable as a “swam” of photographers taking over the area for photo shoots. It’s a beautiful place, photographically speaking, so the draw for photographers is obvious. But these local business owners have had enough.

They’ve had photographers coming up to use their buildings as photographic backdrops to the point of not only hindering the operation of their business but also blocking entire streets. The business owners have even gotten to the point of putting up “No Trespassing” signs with the words “No Photography” written on them.

Sure, as a photographer, you have a job to do. But so do the people whose businesses these photographers are interfering with. These are people actually paying rent to run a business at these properties. People whose livelihood depends on being able to actually run their business, that these photographers are regularly preventing.

I’d be particularly upset if I was a legitimate photographer in the area getting a bad reputation purely because of idiots with cameras that have no consideration for other people – as is the case with one person interviewed in the report above.

How anybody can think it’s ok to just rock up on somebody else’s private property, especially while they’re trying to run a business and do a photo shoot is absolutely beyond me.

[via FStoppers]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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15 responses to “This Kansas City district is fighting back against photographers”

  1. Grant Nelson Avatar
    Grant Nelson

    The West Bottoms is a GREAT playground for photographers but there’s no excuse for this behavior. Respect private property, photogs!

  2. David Lorenzo Avatar
    David Lorenzo

    I agree ask first.

  3. Dustin Avatar
    Dustin

    There’s a problem with this article, and I’m not sure how relevant it would be, BUT, if you’re on public property, say a street, and you use a building as a backdrop, there’s nothing they can do about it at all. Correct?

    1. dracphelan Avatar
      dracphelan

      It depends. Are you moving the street, sidewalk, or access to the building? If the answer is yes, they can do something about it.
      What would you do if someone was blocking access to your home or business so that they could do a photo shoot?

      1. Frank Nazario Avatar
        Frank Nazario

        oh brother you don’t want to go there in a situation like that here… they will run you over….people here are NON tolerant to unprofessional behaviors or rude photographers.

    2. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      That is correct, but that is not a problem with the article, because that’s not what the issue is. People are going onto private property to do this. :)

      1. Frank Nazario Avatar
        Frank Nazario

        In Orlando FL the Lake Eola park is a public access place but IT IS IN PRIVATE PROPERTY… so you need a permit to shoot there… or use it for commercial purpose… same goes with the grounds around the theme parks and parking spaces… International drive completely covered in private property. and practically ALL properties are branded and registered… there is even an modern bus stop that is On public space that IS registered… do your homework call city hall and get your name in there… it will work wonders!

        1. Kaouthia Avatar
          Kaouthia

          What does that have to do with what I said? Whoever said anything about “public access”? We were talking about public (as in not private) property.

        2. Kaouthia Avatar
          Kaouthia

          Hence my use of the term “largely”. Perhaps that’s a new one for you. But it’s similar to “mostly”, meaning “not all the time”.

          And who said anything about public access on private property?

          Thanks for playing. :)

          1. Frank Nazario Avatar
            Frank Nazario

            I dont know why the sarcasm but its ok… :) sometime we walk from a sidewalk to a “landing space”in front of the property and it looks public but its not… that is why i brought that up.
            the sidewalks around Universal Studios are “public” but they are really in private property so technically they are not.

          2. Kaouthia Avatar
            Kaouthia

            It was brought up because I only ever see you attempting to troll people and dispute arguments that were never made (like you’re doing now).

            Nobody mentioned places that looked public but weren’t. The comment I was responding to was specifically about public property. Not private property that looks public. :)

          3. Frank Nazario Avatar
            Frank Nazario

            I dont troll… i give my opinion of something… if it makes sense to me i say so and agree upon if it does not i still give my opinion… the fact that i follow all you write should give you a hint that I DO LIKE YOUR ARTICLES A LOT and that I FOLLOW you.

  • Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    nope… not correct …..
    if the owner of the building goes to city hall and registers the unique architecture of the building as part of the brand of the products or services he sells like for example the uniqueness of the exteriors to their tenants … guess what you are infringing copyright if you did not ask permission to use that building as a backdrop PRIOR to you taking the photo.

  • Jerry Fisher Avatar
    Jerry Fisher

    This barely touches on the article but I just have to share this…

    A couple of months ago I was approached then harassed by a security officer for photographing a water tower at the local VA hospital. I understood the concern. We are living in a different world post-9/11 but when I tried to calmly explain why I was doing it, showed him the photos I’d taken and even let him copy my ID, he still persisted in demanding that I surrender my memory card *AND* camera. I refused.

    I’m not a professional. I photograph for strictly my own entertainment. I’ll never have the talent or magic touch that I admire in photographers, but it doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy using a camera (in this case a very used Sony Nex-6 with a Jupiter-8 lens).

    I’ve read enough here and elsewhere to know to be on the public right of way (sidewalks usually) and I actually go out of my way to seem less scary, such as dressing a little more nicely and having my radio in my pocket playing something I enjoy that can be heard a short distance away. In that instance it was NPR since I wanted to listen to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!”

    Prior to all this I actually took the time to print out a small sheaf of copies of the “Photographer’s Rights” to keep in my car just in case I needed to give a copy to anyone who’s concerned or wanted to talk about what is legal. http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

    I figure being prepared is always a good idea.

    I kept my camera and memory card, but only after he made me erase it. He wasn’t interested in taking a copy of the sheet. I considered visiting later to see if I could find someone that would visit with me and hopefully take a copy.

    I shared my story with my therapist. I then found out she was a former employee of the local VA hospital. She told me that the supervisors have a very ugly opinion of photography as it had caused problems for them in the past with whistleblowers, so I didn’t go.

    In anyone’s opinion, is there a better way I could have handled this?

    1. bob cooley Avatar
      bob cooley

      Jerry, you handled it pretty well – especially for an enthusiast, someone who doesn’t have to deal with this for a living. Remaining calm and polite is the most important thing, as is sticking to your rights.

      The things you you could have done differently:

      You should NOT have erased your images. No one, not even law enforcement can force you erase your images.

      You should have not let them copy your ID. Private security guards are NOT law enforcement (even though some may be retired, or off-duty police). They can ask, but you have the right to refuse.

      What you could have done additionally is (calmly, politely) asked for the security guard for his name, and ask them to feel free to call the local police.
      Tell him you are happy to wait for the police to arrive, since this is a matter of your constitutional rights while standing on a public sidewalk.

      If the security guard refuses, but still keeps you detained; feel free to call the police yourself, and tell them you are being improperly detained.

      The local police are (often) more well-versed on your rights in public spaces, and if you know your rights (Bert Krages’ guide is an excellent one), they are going to hear you out.

      Another good resource to check out of info: https://www.aclupa.org/issues/policepractices/your-right-record-and-observe-police/taking-photos-video-and-audio

      I’m not a lawyer, but have been in the photography business for 3 decades, half of that as a photojournalist. So take this not as legal advice, but knowledge from someone who still had to know the laws to do his job.

      Hope some of this helps!