Street photography

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by mc2imaging, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Pentax's niche of compact, lightweight, quality cameras makes them very popular among street photographers. I know we've got
    several that frequent this forum. I've said here before that if I'm not harassed by the police a few times a year, it means I'm not out
    shooting enough.

    Street photographers: Please take a moment to watch this video and tell me what you think.

    I'm glad it's not just me, but often when I'm out shooting I feel like I have a sign on my head that says, "please harass me!" I
    understand that some people may be concerned about the activities of an unknown photographer, and I don't mind a simple check,
    but some of these guys take it too far. Most people that are up to no good will bolt at the first sign of authority (however real that
    authority is or isn't). There's no reason to keep badgering photogs like many of these situations show. Some of these guys make my
    blood boil!

    Share your thoughts, stories, & images. I've got quite a few to choose from, I'll try to narrow it down to 8 or 10 before I post....
  2. Yeah, try to photograph the worlds shortest subway in Pittsburgh. ;-)
    Also, try to shoot in PPG plaza...granted, they can tell you not to photograph IN the plaza, since it's private property...but because of my American roots of questioning authority and civil disobedience, I simply walked across the street and fired away as the security guard watched me.
    This idea that these photographs are going to be used in some destructive plot is just plain foolish, and these days, I could just carry my cell phone with video running and get everything I need anyway.
  3. Brings to mind - I don't think anybody in the family has been harassed by cops in the last 2 years.
    Matt - you're slacking!! (I KNOW I am!)
  4. Actually, while you were in STL last, I did some bridge/dam photography and I had WPD circling me. I was all excited
    to get a tick mark on my quota sheet, but they never approached me. I was kinda disappointed... All they did was
    drive around and watch. :eek:/
  5. security... haha haha haha ..!!!
  6. Nice to see the cops were pretty reasonable. I agree that the idea of terrorism recon being done with a tripod and big SLR is ridiculous. If I was was a terrorist gathering info for an attack I'd probably use those inexpensive "spy cameras" that are now so easy to get. With a camera in my glasses, a pen, or a lighter I could gather all the photos and video I wanted.
  7. I live in NYC where tourists and natives take pictures of buildings all the time. If you are on their property they can insist that you stop. I can see why security might have a problem with someone taking pictures of people entering and leaving their building. It's creepy. Not in a terrorist sense but an illicit surveillance sense.
  8. Very interesting video! A victory for the freedom of speech and documentation at public areas. The policemen did their job well, and we should thank them I think! Terrorists are skilled enough to get what they want anyway since they know how to do it in a discreet manner.
    An advice to secret activities: move to a restricted area with large walls making it impossible to look in. And keep all activities indoors to avoid being photographed from aeroplanes.
    In Sweden we had a case where two plain-clothes policemen who checked subway passenger's tickets forced a journalist to delete pictures of them with his mobile phone, or they would arrest him for suspicion of drug use. A public prosecutor now will investigate if the policemen acted against the law. Most certainly they did as I see it!
  9. Howard,
    The problem is, you are legally free to photograph people where they have no expectation of privacy. It's exactly why CCTV isn't illegal, especially the 3,000 CCTV network NYPD installed (is installing) south of canal street. Currently at 1,800 cameras. Good luck scratching your ass south of canal.
    If people at the companies who's entrances you are filming from public property want privacy, they need to hire a private car and use the underground entrance. I'm pretty sure this is exactly what Staffan is saying above.
    BTW, I replied to your message to me. I sent it to your email. If you are one of those people that doesn't actually use the email attached to you might want to check it. The internal messaging wouldn't let me reply to you directly for some reason, kept saying error.
    I think NYC did pass a law against photographing at playgrounds, though I am not 100% sure. I do know that you are not allowed in the playground area unless you are with a child. Might be wrong about the photography thing though. Don't test NYPD on the playground thing, like full stops for bikes, and no bikes on the sidewalk, they are seriously enforcing this. These are easy tickets to write and generate revenue for the $100k per year salary of the cop writing the ticket.
    I think Maryland also passed some sort of semi communist law that you couldn't record a law enforcement officer without alerting them first. In which case, I assume they'd tell you to turn it off and then beat your brains in. It's an awesome law really, pretty much guarantees police corruption.
    Florida passed a law that you can't photograph farmland or apparatus. Following the law being passed, a state lawmaker was asked if this meant tourist would be arrested. He said he felt police could use discretion. Unfortunately, lawmakers don't understand discretion stops at a certain level of crime, and as written, yes, if you are photographing a farm as a tourist, you are getting arrested. Hopefully someone sued and got this overturned by now.
    While bashing all these laws and agencies, I have to note. I've on many occasions shot at night in downtown albany around all sorts of government buildings. Never had a problem with either APD or NYSP, both of whom patrol the area around the capitol complex and surrounding area.
  10. Best story I can personally tell is when I got run off by a RENT A COP when I wanted to shoot 1 flipped over van (tornado damage).
    The one time I was ready to dig my heels in & take the shot before leaving - the people I was with freaked out & were all for jumping back in the car & running.

    Jerk was standing at my shoulder yelling at me to get out while I was trying to pack my camera - very neatly, carefully, and slowly, of course - back into it's bag before cramming into the car w/ my fellow college students.
  11. Writing an overreaching law and then assuming common-sence on the part of law enforcement is a recipie for

    Sadly, I've had more bad experiences with sworn officers than rent-a-cops, but one of the funniest was when the
    officer rolled up and inquired about our actions. After a short explanation, he paused me and got on his radio. He
    identified himself and said, "Negative, these guys aren't terrorists." We exchanged a few jokes about people who
    overreact (again, my location and subject were not even close to being decent or likely "terror targets"), and he went
    on his way.
  12. And by "our actions" Matt does NOT mean he & I. He means he & the 4 or 5 high school students we (he) was teaching a photo class for.
    They were out taking night photos on the major street next to our neighborhood, and the bunch of em were under the drive through awning at the closest bank. I think they were sheltering from rain.

    Yes, even I still get a good giggle out of it. 4 years later!!
  13. Justin - Don't confuse communism with authoritarian government, even though that's what they all seem to turn into. The creed of the communists is " From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". Unfortunately, that has been turned into the government having all the power. Fascism has all the power with the government and allowing corporations to exist for the uses of the state. Both are now authoritarian. I know the end result is the same, but it doesn't help things to have labels with no meaning. Socialism has been equated with communism in order to defeat social programs. The AMA once fought Medicare as Socialist, now they are closer to wanting a single payer system than any of the opponents of a rational health care system.
    As for the playground laws, I don't know either. I just wouldn't take any chances. Of course this is a silly law. Given the that camera phones are up to 3mp and P&S cameras are up to 10 mp with 30x zoom, what idiot pedophile would walk into a playground with a DSLR and telephoto only to have a hundred pictures taken of him or herself (equal opportunity).

    you are legally free to photograph people where they have no expectation of privacy

    I'm well aware of this, But would you not find it uncomfortable to find someone photographing you outside of the place where you work? I would wonder why they were doing that. If I were coming out of the subway or a supermarket or McDonald's, no problem.
    As for Florida, what can I say? What can anyone say?
    The 3000 cctv cameras in lower Manhattan remind me of an old drunk joke.
    One night, a man sees another man, obviously inebriated, looking very intently at the ground under a street lamp (when street lamps only provided a relatively small area of light underneath them).
    The first man asks "What are you doing?"
    The inebriated one says "I'm looking for my glasses"
    The first man says "Where did you lose them?"
    Second man "Down the street"
    First man "Why are you looking over here?
    Second man "Because this is where the light is."
    Regarding your e-mail to me, I tested sending myself an e-mail through pnet and it went through. Don't know why the system is rejecting your e-mails to me. Should I be worried? :)
  14. Howard, nice clarification comrade ;). I also hate the label of communism or socialism for any heavy handed government action.Sometimes they go together, sometimes they don't.
    But I'd be embarrassed to be photographed coming out of a McDonalds!
  15. Thanks for clarifying my blanket label.
    I'm thinking more along the lines of totalitarian regimes. Perhaps, I spent a little too much time on the McCarthy era in school. Clouding my judgment into associating communism with totalitarianism.
    However, can anyone point me to a communist government that wasn't also totalitarian? Even if not the initial intent, eventually it always seems to turn into a totalitarian government.
    Howard, I still say if you are in public you should be doing things that you don't mind Joe PD or Mary Jane Newscaster recording you doing. If you work someplace shady, time to find a new job.
    Do I like people photographing me? Hmm, probably not. Fortunately I'm not really that photographic, so it's doubtful anyone will spend much time on me. I work at hospitals, they can shoot me entering and exiting all day. I couldn't care less. Now, if I was the manager at a strip club, perhaps I don't want my neighbors seeing me on's POTW thread.
    Matt, there is a simple way to avoid this, and it's healthy to boot. DON'T EAT AT MCDONALD'S.
    Cameras and surveillance has a funny way of helping us make good decisions, one way or another!
    It's precisely why the Maryland law against video taping cops makes no sense. If he/she is doing their job correctly, the video would never be seen. So it's my opinion that this is just a clever way to keep police corruption going strong. Unchecked power is a dangerous thing, cameras help check power. It's precisely why those in power don't like them.
  16. Justin -
    However, can anyone point me to a communist government that wasn't also totalitarian? Even if not the initial intent, eventually it always seems to turn into a totalitarian government.
    That's what I said.
    Authorities always say "If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" Who decides if I'm doing something wrong? In the sixties, I marched in an anti-war march in NYC. There were loads of photographers taking pictures. Do you think I'm wrong in assuming that there's a picture of me in an FBI archive somewhere? Was I doing anything wrong? No one is going to take a picture of me for artistic purposes. I would wonder if someone took a picture of me entering or leaving my former workplace and whether or not I had need to worry. Nothing I was doing was harmful nor was the place where I worked. If someone took a picture of me walking down the street, I would not be wondering anything.
    I do not want Big Brother helping me make decisions.
  17. Right Justin, that is how I avoid those kinds of photos of me. I can't say I never eat at McD's but it is extremely rare and typically in an airport or somewhere else in my travels when there is no time or nothing else available. My body usually makes it pretty clear that this isn't optimal fuel for me as well, which is even more incentive to avoid that kind of food.
  18. I was recently visiting Washington DC with some friends. We were seperated, and my buddy (who happens to be black) was stuck at a cross walk. Another black gentleman started photographing the security guys watching a building...there was a sign up saying not to photograph them. Anyway, next thing my buddy knows is there are a bunch of guys surrounding he and the guy with the camera. (they were the only folks of color whilst standing at the cross walk) My buddy said he was on his way to his Senators's office while the other guy argued that it was a free country, etc. Finally, they let my buddy go while they continued arguing with the camera toting gentleman. Needless to say it really makes you wonder what rights we do and don't have these days. We never knew what happened to the photographer.

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