…. If I Shoot There Will Be Trouble, If I Don’t It Will Be Double.
If you are a photographer – novice, amateur, professional staffer or freelancer, photographing on the subways can a dicey affair.
Alicia Wagner Calzada, president of the National Press Photographers Association, shares this video clip showing an altercation between a staff photographer and a New York City policeman who clearly does not know whether photographing in the subway system is permissible or not.
According to Calzada, “It illustrates a struggle that we are having with the right to take pictures in public places. As a bit of background, the NPPA (joined by several other groups) fought hard to block a proposal to ban photography on public transit in NY. It was defeated. But it appears they decided to enforce it anyway.”
If you are stopped by transit authorities or the police for photographing in the subway or train systems in and around New York City know that the law is on your side but it hasn’t yet trickled down to those who enforce it.
If you are a photojournalist, are you to surrender to their directives to stop photographing? Or, are you prepared to challenge the officers and possibly get arrested ? As the photographer in the clip correctly states, most people will cease and desist rather than get arrested because no one wants to traverse the court system.
Ever wonder what the cost is for not telling the story? What kind of trouble will we be if all we are blanketed with is a sterile form of journalism – cleansed and approved by the authorities?
With profound apologies to The Clash for the title of this post.[Link sent in by John Laxmi]
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