Photography Is Not a Crime


I always love shooting at carnivals. The beautiful lights and the colors allow me to come up with amazing shots. However, I recently had an unfortunate experience I got kicked out of the carnival because of taking pictures.

The carnival was back! Oh, how I love shooting carnivals. The lights, the colors, the fun! On a Friday evening I decided that I was going to shoot at a small roaming carnival that had set up nearby. I was shooting solo, which is always interesting. I arrived at dusk, just in time to get some good sunset shots. Soon enough, it was dark, people poured in, the lights were twinkling, and I was in heaven. I took a preliminary walk around the carnival getting a feel for angles and opportunities. Of course people stare when you have a camera in your hands, but that didn’t bother me. A few kids asked me about my camera and I asked if they wanted their picture taken. They started posing and acting silly…It was great! I then made it back to my car where I set up my tripod for some long exposures. I just LOVE the light trails made by spinning rides. About 45 minutes had passed when I got a uneasy feeling but I still kept shooting.

Enter the d*uche-bag on a Segway. From my left, a rolling j*ck*ss came into view, telling me that I had to leave. B*llsh*t! I was in a parking lot…public property. He argued with me saying I was infringing on copyrights and blah blah blah. I stood my ground of course, trying to explain MY rights, no dice. He threatened to call the police. F*ck it! I was alone, had all my gear in my car and didn’t want any trouble. I started breaking down my gear and got in my car. I sat there for a bit steaming with anger. Then drove away realizing how f*cked up our society is.

The moral of this story is that, as photographers, we will all run into problems like this. Be it angry parents, security guards or some old lady; you will be harassed. However, you must develop immunity to it or you will miss out on some great shots. Be kind, polite and civil, even if they aren’t. Don’t let the man keep you down. Bring a copy of photographer’s rights with you all the time to keep them off of your back. Most importantly, don’t get defeated! There is always next time.

written by medusapadlock on 2011-11-29 in #lifestyle #photography #laws #rights #carnival-lights #camera #cops


  1. hairil
    hairil ·

    Unfortunate experience for you, but nevertheless, the photos turned out great! Don't give up shooting! = )

  2. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    Bugs me.

  3. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    Infringing on copyrights? Say what?! There are no copyrights involved. Sounds like either a paranoid security guard or an organization with something to hide from the police.

  4. welland
    welland ·

    Power to the people, viva la revolution

  5. robot_average
    robot_average ·

    It's sad, but I think people nowadays are a lot more suspicious of people with cameras. Are people more vain nowadays? I don't know, they just don't seem that keen on being in pictures. Cameras aren't a novelty anymore, they're an everyday thing - which you'd think would make people more used to them. But with the rise of the internet has come a general paranoia - especially from people who didn't grow up around the internet and still aren't quite convinced it's not full of perverts.
    Like the time my friend was shooting with his Diana Mini in a pub. Some passive aggressive idiot approached him and - even though my friend had only been taking pictures of his group - told him in no uncertain terms to make sure he wasn't taking pictures of other people in the pub. The guy wasn't pub staff, was just another drinker who saw my friend had an - by today's standards - unusual looking camera, and decided to stick his big dumb nose in. Had my friend been shooting on an iPhone, I'm convinced he wouldn't have been approached.
    One (heavy) night I was chatting to some drunk guy while taking pictures of a touch juggler in Camden. When the guy saw my Diana doesn't have a little digital screen in the back to view the pictures, he became hostile, said it was a fake camera, that I was taking the piss, and it took a lot of negotiation for him to leave me alone. I mean, has he literally never heard of film?
    I think there's an unwillingness these days to let people have your image for nothing, which I think stems from this current brand and image oriented culture. The hostility which arises when people just don't know what you're taking pictures for is unpleasant, and it can make you feel persecuted, like you stand out like a sore thumb. Obviously you shouldn't let it put you off taking a shot, but conversely you shouldn't have to feel like you're threatened or in danger in any way.

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