Photographing buildings. Against the law?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Maexus, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Maexus

    Maexus TPF Noob!

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    I'm a huge fan of abstract architecture shots or just architecture shots in general. I was talking some shots, from across the street of this beatiful building. Got some amazing photos, I'll post later. Anyways this guy comes up to me and says "Security would like to know what you are doing" I was not on their property. Do I have to anwser them or stop shooting? Can I be arrested. I felt angry and harrassed. Any advice in this situation? Am I in the wrong?
     
  2. deb

    deb TPF Noob!

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    Probably the best thing to do is apologize and explain that you were just taking photographs because photography is a hobby.

    I don't know which buildings your were shooting, but they've really increased security in public building, bridges, dams, etc.

    I guess I'm the typical arrogant American, I'm assuming that you are in the U.S.
     
  3. Maexus

    Maexus TPF Noob!

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    Yes. haha. I have found out that I can shoot 99% of buildings as long as you can see them from a public place and shoot from that public place. They can not take your film or detain you. I'm going back to take more.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It really depends where you are. I don't think there are any laws preventing you from taking photos in public in either Canada or the USA...but there may be local bylaws in your area.

    Generally, from hearing similar stories, there are no laws preventing you from taking photos while on public property. However, this doesn't stop security or even police from harassing you because they are on a 'national security' power trip. You can try to reason with them or ask them to quote the law they think you are breaking...but that will usually mean more hassle for you. Unless you have the time & money to sue the pants off of them...it's usually better to keep your mouth shut and walk away.

    I'm not a lawyer so don't take my advice as such. Your best be would be to contact your local authorities, lawyers or even local papers. Get something in writing so that if you get bothered again...you can show it to the rent-a-cop.
     
  5. Ant

    Ant TPF Noob!

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  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    << Trying really hard... must not rant.... >>

    Hearing things like this absolutely breaks my heart... especially in a country that prides itself in personal freedoms.....

    Wither away our freedoms little by little... thats the greatest loss since that terrible day.

    And this is exactly why.....:::

    "Unless you have the time & money to sue the pants off of them...it's usually better to keep your mouth shut and walk away."


    As far as I know, the same laws that apply prior to 9/11 are the same laws that apply post 9/11. Don't be foolish, aggressive, combative... just be professional... question the security officers of their actions. Know your boundaries and security officer's boundaries ( usually only on private property). At the very least write about your experience to your local representatives. If nothing comes of it, you have the peace of mind that you did something.

    I have gone as far as make professional looking "photographer" business cards to help ease the situation.
     
  7. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    Well, mine is not exactly your case, but has something to do.
    A couple of weeks ago I decided to go out and photograph some of the houses and streets around. I must say that I live in a little town -I believe this has something to do with what it happened. And what happened was that not only once but twice, in just a few minutes lapse, these persons came to me asking me about why I was taking those pictures, etc One even suspected that I was from the inssurance company. Me! Ha ha! After the second time, I was felt so frustrated and uncomfortable that I decided to put the camera in the bag and forget about the "session".

    I found this very weird. It was like a feeling of constant suspicion in the air. I am currently living in the US, but I'm not american; I mean, maybe this kind of reaction is normal here, but for me was a real surprise and really strange.

    Well, after all, I guess that I was lucky. At least I was only asked about what I was doing, not asked to leave! -for me, this is even much more strange than my case!!
     
  8. MotorPsycho

    MotorPsycho TPF Noob!

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    taking pictures of private property from public property is perfectly legal... thats why you always see all those paparazzi standing on the sidewalk in front of stars houses... there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.

    so as much as you may be harassed by security guards, as long as your not on "their" property... click away.

    taking pictures from roads is basically the same thing, but be careful, you could be run over or fined / arrested for jaywalking.
     
  9. friendlyphoto

    friendlyphoto TPF Noob!

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    If it is not a government building there is nothing they can do to stop you from shooting a picture of their building as long as you are not in their property.

    If it happens to me, I would just smile and tell them I am a tourist and just taking a picture of this nice building, and then ask them if I am breaking any laws since I am in a public area. If they say no, then I can ask them if I can take more pictures. If they say yes, then I will ask them which law. And see what they say. Not to be a pain, but sometimes they will walk away if they dont konw what law you are breaking.

    Hehheee. But theres always others that thinks they know it all!!
     
  10. BadRotation

    BadRotation TPF Noob!

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    http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf


    Print it and carry it with you.

    It has actually came in handy a couple times when security guards questioned me. (it has actually shut a couple of them up very quickly, when they found out that I new some of my rights)

    And yes, if you are shotting from public property 99% of the time they cannot do anything.
     

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