Posts Tagged 'photographing power plants'

“In This Day and Age” Cops Stop Photographers

Photo by Jason C. Romero

This is a familiar story. Maybe you’ve heard it? A guy appreciates some artistically interesting yet vaguely industrial part of the landscape. Usually the light is really good. He gets out to take some photos. A cop shows up and starts asking questions. He makes allusions to terrorism while he harasses him for conducting a perfectly legal activity in public using that old bromide “in this day and age.”

Only this time, the Champaign, Illinois, photographer, Jason Romero, made the mistake of putting his hands in his pocket too many times and got frisked. They didn’t like his iPhone that was set to record audio. They told him that was illegal. And then the cop went through the things in his pockets, including notes and notebooks. A couple more cops showed up and they gave their own requisite “in this day and age” speech. 

Not: “In this day and age, police officers like to stop innocent photographers because we’re confused and scared about terrorism but don’t really know the law or how to address it in our town.”

No, not that one.

Article via Jason C. Romero Blog

“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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