“American Power” and Harassment

Raymond City, West Virginia  Photo by Mitch Epstein

The New York Times recently profiled photographer Mitch Epstein, who, as part of a six-year-long project documenting American power plants, was continually harassed by law enforcement and government officials. An FBI agent actually told him, “If you were Muslim, you’d be cuffed and taken in for questioning.” He says it got to the point where he’d almost have a panic attack before taking photos.

It’s really a shame this is the culture now, but it’s also not surprising in the least, as anyone who follows the photographers’ rights issue knows.

A well-respected photographer, Epstein’s work is in the Getty and the Met. But no matter; people saw a man with equipment and that was enough to assume terrorism – someone reported him to police for having a rocket launcher when he was carrying his tripod.

Epstein says he tried to capture the “beauty and terror of early 21st century America.” Which is a nice way to put it. His pictures are quite amazing and the article is worth a read. The book, American Power, will come out this month.

Article via New York Times

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