New York City Police Statement About Photography

Started May 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 26,400
One of the disadvantages of digital photography

I have always felt that digital photography makes us, photographers, MORE vulnerable to harassment, censorship etc.

With analog film, there is no way of asking an individual to give immediate access to what he was photographing. What was an inquisitive person going to do ? Grab or seize the camera and have the film developed just to check?

Now, with digital that is possible, and a photographer who refuses to show somebody the pictures that are on his card, makes himself look suspect.

Same with deleting.

You make a picture of someone in a public place (just an innocent street picture, nothing special, perverse or whatever), he notices you, comes up to you, demands to see the picture and demands you to erase it. People think they have this right. Many photographers comply, if only to avoid hassle.

This would not have happened with film : who wanted to take the risk to force a photographer to take out his film and destroy the whole roll of images? That was a pretty large gamble, possibly resulting in liability.

So in that sense, I think it is VERY good that police departments (and other authorities, but also individuals) should be reminded of the fact that it should be far from obvious to go up to a photographer and ask to see, much less delete, his pictures when taken in a public place and without committing a crime or probable cause of having committed a crime.

So I applaud this.

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images:

my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara:

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