The NYPD (New York Police Department) and the MTA (Metropolitan Transport Authority) in their exuberance to protect the security of passengers have banned the act of photography underground or any where near a subway stop.
The photographers – about 100 of them – gathered to express their outrage at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed ban on taking pictures in the subway system. Meeting at Grand Central Terminal, they rode the trains for upward of an hour, shutters clicking, flashes popping, in a filmed rebuke to the idea that photography is somehow a national security threat.
Read the whole story in today’s New York Times.
This policy, set in place by the MTA, is sheer lunacy! It further provides for the “authorities” to infringe on people’s rights. Imagine something newsworthy happening down in the subway and a photojournalist not being able to do her/his job because of this crazy rule? How about a citizen’s first amendment rights of free speech and press? Photographing underground or in the subway trains in no way endangers the lives of other passengers. As Joe Anastasio says in the article, much of the subway system is already well documented. So new images will not pose any kind of threat.
Right after the September 11 disaster in NYC and Washington, DC, I was stopped by a MBTA police officer at the Davis Square T-stop, in Boston for no apparent reason other than for my brown skin and the two very large cameras and lenses slung over my slouching shoulders. The questioning lasted about 10 minutes; who was I, what was I doing there, why was I carrying cameras into the subway station?
I showed the officer my California driver’s license and enough respect to show him that I meant no harm to anyone, in anway. But I decided the man had the brains of a weasel when, struggling over my first and last names, he suggested that I change them into something easier to pronounce!
Over the din of the Red Line trains, he yelled into his walkie-talkie to his sueriors way above ground to clarify my American citizenship. Then he smirked and let me go. Did I feel like I was harassed? Yes. Would it be the last time? Nope.