“Officer I am allowed to take this picture”

Times are touchy for Photographers!  Ever since 9/11 and the resulting mushrooming of information gathering by local law enforcement on the lookout for “suspicious characters”;  walking  around with a camera shooting pictures has become a dicey past- time.  Particularly so in urban areas.  In many cities and I would guess even small towns,  Police Departments have received beaucoup “Federal Dollars” to purchase a myriad of security devices.  Hardware, Software, Gadgets etc….All aimed at keeping tabs on suspcious activity.  Example. Many cities and probably even small town police departments have cameras mounted on their cruisers aimed at license plates.  Every car they pass has its license plate scanned,  the information is beamed to Homeland Security Data Banks and readout information is displayed on a screen in front of the officer in a nano second.  And that’s just people driving around.   Try walking around shooting pictures of your local courthouse, city hall or any other government building and you are likely to be approached by someone in a uniform barking a whole lot of questions.  That’s when you reach in your camera bag (ask permission first. The cops know everyone packs heat now) and pull out the “Federal Information Bulletin concerning the Photographing of Federal Facilities.”  This handy document alerts Security Officers to the Public’s right to photograph the exterior of Federal Facilities.  You’ll find a copy suitable for printing on the New York Times Lens Blog which is listed in my blog roll on the right.  Click on “Officer I can too take a picture of this building” .  Print it and stick a copy in your bag.  You never know when you might find it quite handy.  You might also want to become a regular reader of the Times Photography Blog.   See you soon on most of this same blog.

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One thought on ““Officer I am allowed to take this picture”

  1. I appreciate the Federal Buildings info that you shared, and will keep a copy of the permission in my camera bag as you suggested!
    We live in a different world now….Thank you for the information.

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