Attractive Nuisance


photo from DonnaGrayson

I’ve blogged plenty of times before about photographers getting hassled on private property about taking pictures. I noticed in the Los Angeles pool on Flickr that there was a photo posted (above) but Donna Grayson where she mentioned that not only was she told by a security guard that she was not allowed to photograph the public art, but also:

He [security guard] said “I think you will find that most buildings in Los Angeles will not allow you to take pictures of their property.”

Sure enough, as I walked down the street, his security guard pal in the next building was waiting for me at the end of their property. I guess he gave his buddy a phone call that I was on my way.

I know people talk about it being an issue of public safety, but I know that security guards have been shooing photographers for longer than we’ve had concerns about domestic terrorism (my first experience was in 1991 in Pittsburgh).

How is it that if I have a swimming pool I’m obligated to put up a big tall fence because otherwise I’m just asking for people to come swim in it, but putting up art in a place open to the public means that you can still restrict photography?

4 Replies to “Attractive Nuisance”

  1. This common in most major cities. I got tackled (in the literal sense of the word) in Dallas. I was taking a picture of the skyline and just so happened to be across the way from a Federal building. Busting a tooth and my camera. Their apology was getting detained for most of the afternoon.

  2. That bust card link is really good. The summation of it all really is that if someone or something is visible from a public area, then you can shoot it. Simple as that. If someone(with the exception of police) attacks you or tries to detain you or take your property in any way they are liable for criminal charges. Same is if a random person off the street did the same thing:

    http://hexod.us/a/2005/05/illegal_photogr.html

  3. Thanks Oliver – that one looks far more succint than the other one that I used to carry, the Photographers Rights thingy that Hexod linked to in his post there.

    Beopenguin – I don’t think it’s even limited to cities anymore (just anyplace they have security guards). I’m sorry to hear about your incident – let us know if there’s any follow up, are you going to raise a fuss?

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