Be Careful What You Photograph at Santa Monica Pier

Photo by Anthony Citrano

Today, LA Weekly’s LA Daily blog has the account of Anthony Citrano, a Venice photographer who learned over the weekend that taking photos of the Pacific Park within the Santa Monica Pier, one of LA’s most popular and recognizable attractions, was not allowed.

The story is ridiculous and typical – employees try to enforce their company’s nebulous “policy” with various rules and excuses, ultimately giving up when they’re challenged and realize they don’t have a leg to stand on.

First, Citrano was told by Pacific Park staff that photos of families are okay, just not “random images.” Then people were okay, but not “things.” Then he was told the park was private property, even though it’s on public land and there are no signs posted to that effect. Then it was that he couldn’t commercially profit from the photos. And finally, an employee told him that that his equipment was so professional looking that it was understandable he was stopped.

All of which, it goes without saying, aren’t valid reasons for prohibiting a photographer. The odd thing is, these park employees never claimed it was a security issue, so that wasn’t even their concern. Their issue, it seems, is with  general photography.

But it’s a huge tourist destination, packed with thousands of people every day, nearly all of them wielding cameras. It seems futile, not to mention outrageous and, lastly, bad business, to start enforcing a no photography policy among certain photographers. Can you imagine the work that will take to identify and reprimand photographers they think are shooting just “random things”? What does the employee manual look like for that rule?

As Citrano told the LA Daily: “The first guy was used to not being challenged on the issue and was confused by my questions about policy. Look, These guys are two steps from wearing Batman underwear.”

Citrano has approached the City of Santa Monica for more information on this policy.

Article via LA Daily/LA Weekly

To see more of Anthony Citrano’s work, go here or here.

2 Responses to “Be Careful What You Photograph at Santa Monica Pier”

  1. 1 keith January 20, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Things must have changed. I was out there in May of 2007 with a bunch of professional euipment including those white Canon L lenses. At that time nobody paied any attention.

    This guy looked at me a few times but did not do anything. I did not take any photos inside the privately owned businesses on the pier.

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