Photographers stand up for your rights in LA, June 1

Discarted sez,

One June 1, photographers throughout Los Angeles will gather at the Hollywood and Highland Metro Station to peacefully protest against the unnecessary treatment they have received from security guards (particularly the white shirts), LAPD, and LASD while photographing in public places, and on the Metro.

Make signs, T-shirts, and be sure to bring your cameras (still and video). Sign ideas as well as other ideas should be posted here. We need things that will make us stand out as a cohesive group.

Start Time: 11:00am, June 1
Location: Hollywood and Highland, 6801 Hollywood Los Angeles, CA 90028

At about 1:30pm we will board the Metro and travel to Union Station

Start Time: 2:00pm
Location: 800 N Alameda St Los Angeles, CA 90012

Link, Link to Flickr group

See also: Taking pictures on LA's Red Line violates the "9/11 Law"

(Image: Photographing the photographer, a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike photo from Naixn's Flickr stream)


  1. HOORAY, BRAVO, Yipeeee!! I’m so happy something like this is finally going to happen. I would so much like to be there (and it’s happening on my birthday too!). Of all the post 911 bullshit, the harassment & criminalization of photographers and photography is maybe the thing that upsets me the most.

    I’m 3,000 miles away in Sticksville, FL and I won’t be able to be there. But sign me up for a donation, I’ll buy the t-shirt and be there in spirit.

    I’ll be watching with glee. Go get ’em.

  2. YES!!

    I am thrilled to hear about this!

    I wish I could afford to fly in and participate.

    I simply cannot wait until the rest of the nation gets in on this and says “ENOUGH!”

    Harassing people for taking pictures is ABSOLUTELY F@CKING RIDICULOUS – Seriously, the terrorists HAVE won at this point.

    #1 – I don’t think they are making T-Shirts available for sale – I think they are advising participants to make T-Shirts for the event.

    I pledge to participate in any similar event that takes place here on the island of Maui and support, with donation of time and money, any nation-wide organization who takes up the challenge of ending this insanity.

    Go Team!

  3. That photo has a slight Hieronymus Bosch quality to it. Or it’s the live action version of Cory’s new book cover.

  4. I call for one in Dallas, too! I’ll show if one happens within sixty miles of the Metroplex in Texas.

    There in spirit. Fuck YES, guys, good luck! Here ready to kick up a FIT if anything goes wrong. Bravo, everyone who is participating in this.



  5. jeez, ya have ANY idea how long it takes to cover 37 planes of corporeal existence on this frequency alone?! Gimme a break already! Even I get busy sometimes,what with that damned blue whale with the tentacle fetish (tough to say “NO” politely sometimes, especially with the doomed)

    Hell Yes! June First is hereby BBATPA Official Camera Possession Day! All are urged everywhere to wear a camera in solidarity. Dig out the antiques to show them off, give the obsolete to those without! Make paper cameras for the kids! Wear camera T-Shirts! Bake camera cakes! Take back the Right To Make Images!!!

  6. I’ll be there.

    Maybe I’ll shoot off a friendly email to the FBI while I’m at it…

  7. don’t bother, they’re just mooks with no right to act on their own conscience because of the shilling they took. Better to write to your venal, grasping and above all cowardly politician. Threaten their chance to take bribes and afford hookers and dope and they will sit up like trained dogs.

  8. I agree. Mega-Bosch picture there.

    Going to see about creating a Facebook group for one in Fort Worth (Sundance Square, perhaps?) It may be more effective if this is multi-locale. I’d have to figure a way around my parents though. And keep my camera in front of my face at all times in case of being filmed. I doubt they’d approve. (Which is all the more reason to do it!)

    Anyone in the Metroplex willing?

  9. Very good! I hope some folks in the UK will do the same.
    If this anti-foto-action will take place in germany I will take part on some stand up action myself. I don’t think I want to fly to LA just for that event alone. ;-)

  10. no one has to fly to LA. Just do it everywhere. Freedom is a state of mind. There are some people in dungeons more free than some of the most affluent and ignorant.

  11. “Thoughts are free, who can ever guess them?
    They just flee by like nocturnal shadows.
    No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
    with powder and lead: Thoughts are free!

    I think what I want, and what makes me happy,
    but always discreetly, and as it is suitable.
    My wish and desire, no one can deny me
    and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

    And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
    all this would be futile work,
    because my thoughts tear all gates
    and walls apart. Thoughts are free!

    So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
    and never again will torture myself with some fancy ideas.
    In one’s heart, one can always laugh and joke
    and think at the same time: Thoughts are free!

    I love wine, and my girl even more,
    Only I like her best of all.
    I’m not alone with my glass of wine,
    my girl is with me: Thoughts are free!”

  12. Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
    sie fliehen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
    Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
    mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
    doch alles in der Still’, und wie es sich schicket.
    Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren kann niemand verwehren,
    es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
    das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
    Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
    und Mauern entzwei, die Gedanken sind frei!

    Drum will ich auf immer den Sorgen entsagen
    und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen.
    Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
    und denken dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

    Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allen,
    sie tut mir allein am besten gefallen.
    Ich bin nicht alleine bei meinem Glas Weine,
    mein Mädchen dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

  13. The only sad thing is that because we will have a large crowd we likely will receive no opposition from so-called security authorities at the Metro. Not that I’m demanding that this protest be confrontational, however, I expect that we will be given the “red carpet treatment,” to borrow Hollywood & Highland terminology, and that not only will we not be hassled by security, but for this one particular event, they will go out of their way to protect our First Amendment right to express ourselves in public via photography. The shame is that if you take the same train on Monday, June 2, and try to take pictures, it will be back to the same ol’ hassle routine.

    But I am fully behind this event and I will be part of it. Hopefully, we can shame the city into changing regulations that clearly violate the basic freedoms and protections that all Americans are “guaranteed” under the US Constitution. See you Sunday, June 1st!

  14. Forgive me if this idea has been floated before, but how about creating a test case concerning photography rights on public/semi-public/private property? Having the courts definitively settle this issue would be of great benefit.

    I am aware that this would not be easy, quick or cheap. It took four years to legalize same sex marriage in California with this method. I would imagine gaining the legal right to tell mall cops to stuff it would take a little less effort.

  15. Well done on organizing such an event after all the comments talking about flashmobs.

    Make sure to create a Flickr group so that we that cannot attend can share in on the fun afterwards.

  16. Never mind writing to politicians, what about journalists? Will there be local and national press there, and will they be prepped to properly convey the issues? For those reporters who haven’t been prepped, do you have your soundbites ready?

  17. I agree with the poster who suggested that the presence of large numbers of photographers would result in no opposition.

    Perhaps better would be to randomly pick one photographer as ‘bait’, covertly surrounded by other photographers (cameras hidden) aimlessly wandering/browsing, who then pounce and photograph those persons who attempt to intimidate the bait.

    Imagine their surprise!

  18. Hooray! Beatings for everyone!

    I’ve been wondering, is there some kind of ideology or top-down influence causing this war of photography?

  19. @Takuan:

    fMRI technology will continue to evolve. Your thoughts – won’t be so free anymore.

    The police state starts with cameras, ends with us under brain scanners.

  20. Wish I could be there.

    One of the keys to making this successful is bringing together different communities that have encountered this phenomenon of misinformed officials., a site for aviation enthusiasts with a strong photography community, would be a good place to start., is another bastion of geekdom with a dedicated community of photogs.

    Anyone up for a flashmob (should it be a strobemob) in Philly? There’d be something apropos about descending on Independence Mall to make a point.

  21. @0xdeadbeef:

    I’d call it self-organizing coherent madness. Everyone “just knows” that it is illegal to take pictures, because everyone “just knows” that “terrorists” need pictures to plan all those thousands of attacks that the terrorists have in the pipeline. The proof? There haven’t been any more attacks, so they are therefore correct in their “just knows”.

    Something to contribute: Hendrick Smith, the writer who wrote “The Russians”, and later “The New Russians”, pointed out that in the early 20th century in Tsarist Russia, it was a crime to take pictures of railway stations for security reasons. He pointed this out as a fabulous example of their paranoia, both pre-Communist and after. Really, what threat would present itself if someone had a picture of the station? Ha ha, it is to laugh. Silly Russians.

    Conclusion I’ve come to: people is monkeys. If you let them have their head, they will collectively pull you down and kill you because the voices tell them to, even if the voices are the ones they hear on the cable channels. A small number of rationalists since the dawn of the Enlightenment have made the world a somewhat saner and safer place to live. The rationalists are not in ascendancy now, and with population pressures driving violence, they will have a hard time gaining traction again.

  22. We totally need to go national on this, agreed. I’m in if it comes to Atlanta (or anywhere fairly nearby). We need a good flickrtag, too! Both for individual protests, and the general act of taking back our public places.

  23. Fnarf (#34)

    I am familiar with the law that the links you gave explain. The problem is that a property owner has the right to kick you off his property for any reason. If you refuse you are trespassing and that is illegal.

    What I am looking for is some kind of right/exemption enshrined in case law that states that a property owner cannot bar me simply for taking photographs.

    Now I don’t want the right to walk into a private home and start snapping. I am talking about spaces where I would normally be warmly invited like malls, subways and the like.

  24. The problem is that a property owner has the right to kick you off his property for any reason.

    That is absolutely untrue. A property owner has the right to kick you off his property for any reason except an illegal reason. For instance, race, gender, disability, etc. Opening private property to the public carries with it a substantial set of legal obligations and relinquishing of property rights. The photography issue will not be resolved until it makes it to the US Supreme Court.

  25. Antinous (#38):

    You are of course correct. However I could point out that my “any reason” is not “absolutely untrue” but rather “partially incorrect”, but I would like to keep this thread on track.

    I could also point out that while a landlord cannot post a “No Irish” sign by the entrance, they do have the right to “refuse service” to any individual. A few years ago a large shopping mall in my town started aggressively banning transients, the homeless, teenagers and anybody else they felt would “offend it’s customers”. The press and city government raised a fuss but in the end the law was clearly on the mall’s side. They got away with it because mall’s profiling did not target any of the protected groups you mentioned.

    I am of course seeking to have photography added to that list of existing exceptions.

  26. Just so you guys know, Union Station is technically private property, even though it’s home to all the PUBLIC transportation lines. Weird. So they can restrict your camera-takin’ abilities while you’re there.

    I’m bummed it’s on June 1, as I’m starting the AIDS LifeCycle ride from San Francisco that day. I’d love to partipate, but I’ll be making a statement in my own way hundreds of miles away.

    I’m so excited! Good luck!!!

  27. However I could point out that my “any reason” is not “absolutely untrue” but rather “partially incorrect”

    You want me to speak in nuances? That’ll cost you extra. I’ll be really interested to see how the law eventually views this. The closest metaphor that I can come up with is that you lose your right to privacy (as in conversation) when you’re in a public space. I’m hoping that The Mall has lost its right to privacy (of images) by opening up to the public. Realistically, it will depend on who’s on the court more than on the underlying ethics.

  28. Antinous (#41):

    I like that metaphor. I will leave it to the litigators among us to opine if it would sway a judge. Ironically cameras are banned in almost all lower courts in Canada. Some upper appellate courts allow them so long as all parties consent.

  29. The right to photograph in private places is not protected. A property owner can’t make you stop photographing, but he can ask you to leave if he wants (and, as Antinous says, his reason isn’t illegal). Trespassing is against the law. Photography isn’t. This isn’t that hard to figure out. You take pictures until you’re asked to leave, then you leave.

    On public property you can photograph at will forever.

  30. Private property and public property are overlapping concepts. For instance, your municipality can force you to repair the sidewalk in front of your house even though you don’t actually own it. Private property that is widely open to the public (e.g. the common space of a mall) could be considered, for some legal purposes, to be de facto public property.

  31. Fnarf (#43):

    Right you are but if I wake up one day and decide to photograph every urinal cake in Grand Central Station, that should be nobody’s business but me and my many therapists.

  32. pruneyard shopping center vs. robins

    the court decided in favor of the kids taking photographs in the mall, which is private property — constitutional rights still applied

    the metro in los angeles is operated by approximately 70% taxes and federal and state grants(the budget is on their site). so is union station 70% public property???

    we will see what happens in 2 weeks.


  33. Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins from Wikipedia.

    under the California Constitution, individuals may peacefully exercise their right to free speech in parts of private shopping centers regularly held open to the public, subject to reasonable regulations adopted by the shopping centers

  34. Thanks for the link Antinous (#48).

    This is from PRUNEYARD SHOPPING CENTER v. ROBINS, 447 U.S. 74 (1980)

    Soon after appellees had begun soliciting in appellant privately owned shopping center’s central courtyard for signatures from passersby for petitions in opposition to a United Nations resolution, a security guard informed appellees that they would have to leave because their activity violated shopping center regulations prohibiting any visitor or tenant from engaging in any publicly expressive activity that is not directly related to the center’s commercial purposes.

    So: While photography does not seem to be involved in 447 U.S. 74, does any case law exist to connect photography and “publicly expressive activity”?

    P.S. If after all this I end up with the right to photograph in a mall but also the “right” to be nagged by a bunch of United Nations petitioners when all I want to do is buy tube socks, I am going to regret this.

  35. My guess is that, ultimately, the common space in malls will be ruled as effectively public. Here in California, the supermarkets must allow supplicants (petitioners, Salvation Army, JWs, etc.) to canvas outside the stores, even though the sidewalk and parking lot are part of the private property. They stand or sit in the entry loggia with tables, cauldrons, whatever. I can’t see why photography should be less entitled.

  36. Here’s the flickr photo pool from June 1, National Photographer’s Rights Day. Discarted did an amazing job of putting this together in a matter of weeks.

    Lots of photos there already, with only a few of us posting so far. There was a good turnout, so I imagine many more will come in over the next few days.

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