If you are a photographer reading this blog, I strongly urge you to evaluate your response to the recent move by the city of New York to restrict public photography. The full text of the regulation is here (PDF file). There’s a group called Picture New York who has their response to the new regulation here, and have provided an e-petition to sign if you’re so inclined.
This is the second time this week that a story has floated to the top of my newsreader concerning photographers being either harassed (Arlington VA) or muzzled by regulations and insurance requirements (New York). To my view, the right of a municipality to regulate when and where I can use my camera in public spaces — especially in places where there is a reasonable expectation of a desire to photograph and document landmarks, architecture and events, based on their uniqueness, newsworthiness, or popularity — is absolutely not permissible.
I know that in the post 9/11 world, anyone who isn’t doing exactly what someone expects them to do is automatically considered one of the bad guys. This has unfortunately allowed a land-grab of so many opportunities taken for granted before that date. However, turning this great country — that I served during the tail end of the Cold War in the 80s — into a police state is doing nothing more than letting the bad guys win… by eroding the very freedoms so many government agencies at various levels say we are protecting by inhibiting the reasonable exchange of free speech, in this case, photography.
When they finally outlaw photography, only outlaws will practice photography. Don’t let this happen. I strongly urge you to be active, and sign the petition. If you happen to be a voter in a place that’s either passed or encouraging the passage of similar legislation, vote with your camera, and make changes at the ballot box that will once again help make this country free and restore this particular freedom of speech for its citizens and visitors.