For those keeping score, in recent months we’ve learned that you can’t take photos of cops in Miami, or public art in Indianapolis, or possibly with a tripod on the streets of New York. And if you discover a dead body while taking pictures in New Jersey, you might want to think twice about calling the police, and, of course, you should be careful what pictures you take of your children.
Last week, two more crimes of photography were added to the growing list: one in Little Rock, AK, and the other in Landover, MD.
USA Today photographer Eileen Blass reported last week about how her camera gear shut down the Little Rock airport for a half hour when her lighting gear was suspected to be a bomb. The next day, The Washington Post reported that college student Reza Michael Farhoodi was removed from his seat FedEx Stadium during a Washington Redskins game and questioned for taking shots of the game and his friends with his DSLR. He was told that “professional” cameras were not permitted without press credentials, even though he had made it past security with the camera several times and all of the printed rules make no distinction between a “professional” and “amateur” camera. Lucky for Farhoodi, the stadium management quickly got wind of the error and offered him special access to take photos from the field during the next game.
It’s one thing when a photographer is questioned legitimately in the name of security—Blass and the other passengers in Little Rock weren’t too annoyed with the authorities’ confusing lights and wires with bombs. But when power is abused, or misunderstood, and you can’t take pictures of your children running though the sprinkler, your friends at a baseball game, or your vacation in a major city, you start to wonder, when did it become a crime own a camera?