Thursday, December 01, 2011

Chasing cops

London, ON, November 2011
About this photo: It's Thematic's "flash of color" week, and you can share your own flash of color by heading here. It's all perfectly legal.
Despite all the freedoms we supposedly enjoy in a country like Canada, there's always a moment of doubt when I train my lens on a police officer, cruiser, or any other subject remotely related to law enforcement. I may have all the rights in the world - as a citizen and a journalist - to record matters of public record, but that doesn't mean I can't be told to put the camera away and leave the scene.

It's happened to me, but I still can't leave well enough alone. Because regular folks deserve to know what goes on around them, even it's not always pretty or lawful.

Your turn: Do you ever get into trouble for taking pictures?


Mark said...

You asked, so here goes.

When I was a photojournalism intern at a Kansas daily newspaper, the photogs sent me to take pictures at a local elementary school. I can't remember why, but something mildly controversial. The principal saw me and demanded I hand over my film. I was very green and did it. The photogs back at the paper couldn't believe I had done that. Oops.

Another time, same job, I was the only photographer not already out on an assignment, and a reporter grabbed me and drove us to the scene of a shooting. Turns out it was accidental, but when I was aiming my camera at the victim, his father (or some very large, intimidating man) came toward me and boldly told me to stop taking pictures. I lowered my camera, but it was just the diversion another photog who had since arrived (from our paper) to get a great shot of them rolling him out the door on a gurney (very much alive).

The one shot I got did go in the paper, as it turned out to be a cop holding the weapon used in the shooting.

I asked the pros what they do in situations like that, and one replied, "I just figure that my Nikon upside his head wouldn't feel too good."

Kalei's Best Friend said...

So far, I haven't.... then again, I am more :-)

Anonymous said...

Well...this is timely. I actually just got my wrists slapped by the "tripod" police at Union Station. I was there this past Saturday all psyched to take pictures of this iconic building. I set-up, fired off about 3 brackets when I was told that I couldn't use my tripod. Now I argued a little but it didn't make much of a difference. If you want to see the shot I came away with its here.

Karen S. said...

So far not really....and these kinds of sudden flashes and sirens and screaming sounds that break into our lives, do deserve a quick goes without saying right, drop a glass and everyone's in our nature....!

Max said...

Twice that I can remember.
The first time was when I was taking pictures of the demolition of Cottonwood Mall. I was on their property (one store was still open for business, I was in their parking lot) and the mall cop told me that I wasn't allowed to take pictures on the property. He actually cited Homeland Security as the reason, like terrorists would want to bomb a demolished, uninhabited mall. So I just went off their property onto the public street and used my telephoto lens.
Just recently I was asked to stop taking pictures inside the Home Depot. I can't remember which theme it was for, but I was taking them for Thematic Photographic. Fortunately I got enough good ones before I was 'caught'.

Mark said...

Remembered another. I was shooting a grocery store's mustard display for an online "Yellow" subject challenge, and a store employee quickly swooped and asked if I needed any help. I said I was looking for the yogurt, which was true, and she walked me to it and then to the checkout aisle.