Discussions (368)

New Anti-Photographer Translink Ads

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cabbit says:

Criminalizing Photographers?

I am not impressed, Translink.
6:37PM, 18 March 2009 PDT (permalink)

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(1 to 100 of 134 replies)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

Just wonderful. I suspect we will see a lot more of this as they start gearing up for the Olympics. I wonder if Translink would allow a group of photographers to put up an ad showing the flawed logic (correlation is not causation) inherent in a sign like this?

[EDIT: That was a rhetorical question]
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Datreebear_del edited this topic 62 months ago.

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danshugar says:

Same sort of thing happened in England. I think I even remember a photographer getting arrested for taking a picture of some railroad tracks. The ironic thing was that he was taking the photos to enter in a railway photography contest!
62 months ago (permalink)

SlowmanLuis [deleted] says:

aaargh...
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

WHAT???

By the way I'm about one of the most visible photographers you'll see on a bus and Skytrain. I guess the Skytrain police are going to be pretty familiar with me coming up to 2010.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Airchinapilot edited this topic 62 months ago.

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camera_bug says:

Maybe our next meet should be one of the skytrain platform...mmm the waterfront, granville, or stadium station???
62 months ago (permalink)

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Sushistand says:

Though I am now living in Nagoya, Japan; I was always proud to call Vancouver "home" - now not so much.

This is a shame. Photography is not a crime.

I'm emailing the Vancouver Police Department and filing a report.

I suggest everyone do the same.

vancouver.ca/police/911/policecontact.htm
Email vpd@vpd.ca

Rise up people, do not just complain here on flickr - get your act together and tell them that youare not pleased with a police state.

By the way, to the original poster, Cabbit, I hope you don't mind but I am linking your flickr image in my complaint email to the VPD.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Sushistand says:

Fired up this email to the VPD just a few seconds ago. Don't let me be alone with this one. Get your voices heard. Photography is not a crime in Vancouver.

Sent: 3/19/2009
To: vpd@vpd.ca

This email is directed to management at VPD,

I'd like to formally file a complaint regarding the new Translink Anti-photography ads.

The following links below goes to flickr.com, and in particular, shows the ads that law abiding citizens, myself included, are not happy with.

www.flickr.com/groups/511073@N24/discuss/72157615505511301/
www.flickr.com/photos/cabbit/3366186067/

Photography is NOT a crime. These types of ads (which fail at being humorous, by the way) discriminates against photographers both professional and amateur alike. The ad depicts a man, apparently a photographer, with an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) as being suspicious and criminal.

I'd like to point out two obvious points that we photographers know, and you, the VPD, have failed to understand.

1) There would be very little difference (if any) in quality between a photograph of a surveillance camera taken with an SLR and a point and shoot. Besides, if a terrorist wanted to take a photo to plan an attack, why would they use something as conspicuous as a big SLR? Point and shoot compact cameras these days have about the same resolving capability and just about the same low light capability as cheaper but much bigger SLRS.

2) PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME! We photographers are artists! Last I checked ART was not a crime. Why should we photographers be discriminated against for doing something that is not a crime and not suspicious? We are now living in the information age and with just a push of a couple of buttons we can get satellite photos from google earth which would easier and would be MUCH more useful for terrorists to plan something.

Get on with the times VPD! We understand that this is post 9/11 and you are trying (although failing in this aspect) to protect us but trying to outlaw something like photography leads us to a police state. This is CANADA we are talking about not North Korea.

Please stop this nonsense.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

Sushstand, transit police is actually separate from the VPD. Right after I read this I was looking for contacts and I think it should be Translink and it should be the transit police. Then to spice it up, the local media outlets.
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

Is it time to break out the "I am a photographer, not a criminal!" t-shirts and stickers?
62 months ago (permalink)

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Sushistand says:

Airchinapilot,

Yeah, I just got an email from VPD and this was their response:

"Thank you for your email. We will forward your email and concerns to the Transit Police as it is their agency that created and posted the ads. The ads are not a Vancouver Police Department initiative."

So apparently my email got forwarded. Very prompt reply by the way.

Anyone got any contact information for the Transit Police? Lets have them hear what we think about these ads.

-

Datreebear,

You break em' out and I'll pass em around!
62 months ago (permalink)

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gspence21 says:

I'm confused.

I realize photographers are often stopped, even harassed by enforcement authorities but the sign says "Report the suspicious, not the strange". I agree with that part. The fact that the person in the image is holding a camera, taking a photo, I don't find offensive. I would have walked right by. I don't see anywhere on the ad saying 'photography is a crime'. I don't see anywhere on the ad suggesting photographers are criminals or are being discriminated against. I see no mention of terrorsists.

If you see someone taking photos and it looks strange to you, leave them alone (they may be making art and you don't get it). If someone looks suspicious, report it and let the authorities ask the questions.

I have friends who are VPD members who I've been out with them while on their patrol. I know if they saw someone like Airchinapilot taking photos in public and for some reason wanted to know what he was upto, they'd listen and then thank him and move on.

In fact jumping to conclusions about the intent of the ad and following up with a ranting e-mail is much less valuable than an e-mail asking for an explanation and the intent.

I work in an enfocement role and a few times a week I get similar letters and e-mails, written with unprofessional language, loaded with misinformation and often sent to the wrong organization.

I have been stopped by Police before. Never had any problem what so ever. I'm honest and polite and they are the same back to me.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Chris Murray Photo says:

Define suspicious. Little old ladies may find Airchinapilot suspicious and call the police, wasting tax dollars, and harrasing him for no reason.

I do not belive that this campaign will make us any safer. If a terrorist really wanted a picture of skytrain infrastructure, they'd use a camera phone.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

gspence21, there's no need to rant. But this might be an opportunity for some education of the media, the public and of transit officials.

On the face of it, there are some obvious questions about the efficacy of the ad.

Is it not easy enough to memorize the locations of security cameras? I know the location of several in my head and I didn't need to photograph them to remember where they are and what they might be pointing at.

Would terrorists be so obvious as to use an SLR or big camera when any phone camera or pocket camera would be less noticeable and take the same picture?

In the other ad in the campaign that I saw, it was to report parcels left behind which one might assume could be bombs. I have no problem with that (though one would then have to ask how they would intend to stop suicide bombers who wouldn't leave behind anything but just carry it with them.) If you weigh both ads with the same value, then what it does is compare photographers with people leaving behind bombs.

What happens during 2010 itself when Vancouver is expected to be inundated by camera-toting tourists and press?

If it isn't a worthwhile example of something suspicious, it will only overburden police with useless tips.

Photographers are actually more vigilant and observant than most people on transit who have their head down in books, games and iPods. Instead of targeting photographers as suspicious, they should encourage contacts with us. I would definitely report anything truly suspicious that I saw.

I have so far had good contacts with transit officials. Occasionally I'm asked what I'm doing and I am friendly and polite with them. No one has told me to stop what I'm doing and I am totally fine with explaining what I'm doing. I've never gotten the impression that they are leaning on me or harassing me. I'm sure they have much better things to do than to police someone's hobby. That said, they are not the people who make policies and we are all aware that dumb policies can be put in place from above.

There's already a misconception among some members of the public that street photography is illegal or against privacy when there are no laws against that and in fact no laws or bylaws against photography on transit. This ad muddies the waters even more. I would rather photography be out in the open.

I've met street photographers from other countries who come up to me and one of the things I've heard is that they think Vancouverrites are not very open to being photographed in public compared to their experience in other countries. I don't think it's because Vancouverrites are afraid for their souls so maybe it is because of a certain reticence and different civic character. Perhaps it's also because the traditions of street photography haven't been lauded so much (even though there are long traditions of it). I hope this campaign doesn't harm that a tradition that is coming out into the open.

What I don't want to happen is the banning of photography on our transit systems which has happened in other cities. I was in Boston last year and was stopped by an official while taking pictures of the oldest subway in the U.S. There was a sign that said so and one would think that sign was there for tourists. But, no photography allowed of that sign. Weird. No photography in the subway I was told.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Airchinapilot edited this topic 62 months ago.

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

Well said @airchinapilot.

To me this ad is nothing more than fear mongering. Something placed in the public view to give the false impression that something is being done about "security". (Okay, a lot may in fact be going on to ensure security but this ad does nothing in that regard.)

What this ad does is place a negative association between photography and terrorism in the reader's mind. In essence, this distills down to "Be suspicious of photographers". This does nothing to improve security. It simply singles out a segment of the population and is no more valid than stating "be suspicious of people of different skin colour or who wear long beards" etc.

As @airchinapilot mentioned anyone who wanted to map out the security details of a transit system could do so without attracting attention to themselves. They are not likely to be pulling out large dSLR cameras to do so.
62 months ago (permalink)

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ph-pictures says:

Thoroughly P155ED 0FF with this!

I'm originally from the UK and grew up during the height of the terrorism troubles in the 70's and 80's. I approve and fully support campaigns that heighten awareness of suspicious activity.

However,this approach is...
- naive
- incorrectly targeted (look for unattended bags/packages!!)

All the Vancouver based photo groups on Flickr/Meetup/Yahoo/Facebook must be contacted and a FlashMob/Critical Mass type event co-ordinated.

SUNDAY 29th ANYONE?
SKYTRAIN 'PHOTO-OP' RIDE
GRANVILLE STN TO METROTOWN AND BACK

Don't email complaints to the authorities! Phone them, or better still try direct contact gets attention - I know, I work for a municipality and a personal visit to our front desk will get a speedier response.

BTW: Who's the ad agency and photographer that created this?
62 months ago (permalink)

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Sushistand says:

I'm not too sure about the flash mob idea, but contacting them by phone or a direct visit definitely sounds like a good idea.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

ph-pictures - incorrectly targeted (look for unattended bags/packages!!)

There is actually an ad in this campaign that targets that. I saw it on my bus ride this morning.

I actually think a Skytrain photo tour is appropriate. I was thinking of one even before this business.
62 months ago (permalink)

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roland says:

does this mean my 1700 skytrain blurry photos from my cameraphone are somehow not kosher! now that's wrong!

www.flickr.com/photos/roland/tags/skyte
62 months ago (permalink)

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ph-pictures says:

Roland - You're OK, there aren't any CCTV's in the pictures taken
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

@ph-pictures: Wouldn't any strobist meet qualify as a "flash mob"? (Okay, bad joke, sorry, I will stop now.)

I am up for a Skytrain tour.
62 months ago (permalink)

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roland says:

Ah ok, I obviously am missing something. @ph-pictures it's not clear to me from the photo that only pictures of surveillance equipment like CCTVs are "dodgy".
62 months ago (permalink)

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noah adams says:

Sorry folks, my fault:


Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
noah adams edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

YOU!
62 months ago (permalink)

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ph-pictures says:

hold him down and use 10 SB-800's on him @ 1/1...that's as much strobist info as we need
62 months ago (permalink)

SlowmanLuis [deleted] says:

@Phil.....what kind of idea is that. That's just going to make him warm...and man it is so cold I could even use it. Better yet...let him carry Keith's and my gear up and down the stairways on the Skytrain stations.
62 months ago (permalink)

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buzzerblog says:

Hi everyone,

I'm Jhenifer from the Buzzer blog at TransLink.

I want to say first that this is a great discussion and we're very glad to hear your perspectives on the ad campaign. Also, I just wanted to offer TransLink's perspective on the ads and hopefully provide some useful information on this issue.

First, I do really want to make it clear that we don't hate photographers, we are not banning photography on the system, and we are definitely not criminalizing photography on the transit system or indicating that photographers are criminals. Artistic photographs of transit are fine by us!

Second, I wanted to explain a little more about the intent of the campaign. It does not specifically target photographers and photography -- it is a larger ad campaign called Transit Secure, done in partnership with Transport Canada, and it's intended to encourage riders to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity to the Transit Police.

There are actually three ads out on the system as part of this campaign -- besides the one you've captured above, there is also one about seeing suspicious packages, and another about someone breaking into a transit-related room. Here they are in my Flickr account:

ad2 by buzzerblog


ad3 by buzzerblog


The campaign is launching as the Olympics are soon coming, and we want to be mindful of suspicious activity and avert any major incidents on the transit system.

It is also aligned with the Transit Police's security strategy, which is looking to engage our customers more and getting them to participate in improving security on the system.

And obviously this campaign is similar to ones on major transit systems elsewhere, encouraging passengers to keep their eyes and ears open as they could well be key to averting a major security incident. It also makes passengers more aware of how to contact Transit Police if they see things that worry them. (Dial 604-515-8300!)

(Here's some of the other ad campaigns as well -- one from the London Underground, and one from the New York system.)

Anyway, back to the image of the photographer. Specifically, the image of the photographer is not intended to say photography and photographers are bad. It's intended to say that a person who is intently making records of specific transit security elements like cameras should raise a flag as suspicious activity.

The challenge for our marketing staff was coming up with an image for the ad to convey this message to the public. An obvious camera pointed at an obvious security element was their interpretation of that challenge---and no intention of criminalizing photography was intended.

So again, we aren't aiming at getting photographers taken off the system, and we are NOT banning photographs of transit.

For photographers like yourselves, the message is really just to be prepared to be asked what you're doing. If you're only taking the artistic photos that you want to take, you shouldn't have any problems. As gspence21 and airchinapilot suggest, the transit officials/police you might encounter are generally quite polite about talking to you about your photography.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

danshugar I believe that story was regarding the fellow who was arrested while participating in an Amtrak sponsored contest. Coincidentally, the Onlinephotographer has a post today in which Amtrak posted new guidelines for photographing on its property in the wake of the reaction to that case.
62 months ago (permalink)

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gspence21 says:

Thanks buzzerblog for both the clarrification and the timely response.
Cheers
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

Jhenifer, I thank you for giving us Translink's position. I think -- for me at least -- my main fear is of the perception it creates in the public not that it signals a change in the attitudes of Translink and police staff.

I realize the intention of the ad, but while you can say that there is no change in policy toward photographing in general on Translink, to the public there is no message there saying that it is okay, just be aware of the suspicious activity and start ringing the bell.

Photographing the cameras -- okay, that is weird and obvious. But the innocuous activity in the previous frame could have been a photographer taking a picture of his girfriend or a gaudy tourist posed in front of a bus. Hence showing that photography is okay as compared to the suspicious activity. I know the current invisible photogrpaher frame is supposed to be funny (and I'm not) so the marketers would have to work on that.

As for being prepared to be questioned. Well I'm used to that and as long as Translink / police are trained adequately about what is allowed then that is status quo and I'm fine with that. If you read the link I posted just now about Amtrak, you can see that Amtrak had to reinforce their guidelines and make them extra clear because some of their security were not adequately aware of the law themselves.

I also want to make it clear that it is in all our interest that we do keep vigilant and I'm not naive enough to think that Vancouver will not be a target of terrorism because of the Olympics. I'm sure we will all 'lend our eyes' to the effort.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Airchinapilot edited this topic 62 months ago.

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buzzerblog says:

airchinapilot:

Actually, I think the discussion that you guys have generated around this topic is already driving a strong clarification about "Photographers = Good"! I can hear our media relations people taking some calls about this issue and I am told staff is going to be briefed about this too -- so you have already started to bring this awareness to a wider audience.

I will also pass your note on to the marketing department re: the invisible photographer. Vilifying photography was definitely not the intention of the ad and we don't want it interpreted this way. Thanks for the clear explanation of what strikes you as problematic.

I also just want to mention that I know this is part of a larger series of security ads, and this current series will be coming down at the end of April.
62 months ago (permalink)

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ph-pictures says:

Excellent - and very timely - response from Translink/Buzzerblog.

As I mentioned above; being from the UK gives me a slightly different perspective on these matters. The campaigns there tend to be more obvious and blatent.

Clearly a lot of research was undertaken by the promoters and their ad agency. It doesn't overtly scare the public but succeeds in it's aim to heighten awareness.

The only issue I have is that by singling out photographers, it adds to reinforce an attitude in the minds of security staff (NOT just translink police) that 'hmmm there's a photographer - lets see what they're upto' which can result in...
...a confrontational situation (at best) to...
...a break in the creative flow of a shoot (at the very worst)
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

Jhenifer, thank you for the response and the clarification. After hearing horror stories about how things have happened for photographers in other cities I guess I was a bit worried about what might be happening here. Your response has certainly helped ease that fear. I also think @airchinapilot's comment about the invisible photographer picture is accurate and I am glad to hear that Translink is aware of the issues this raises.
62 months ago (permalink)

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steveluscher says:

Hey Jhen,

Awesome response! Translink is lucky to have someone as culturally literate as you on staff.

No matter how tough the challenge of developing a photo-illustration to represent "the cataloging of security apparatus," I feel very strongly that the chosen execution was a mistake.

Marketing should have known how culturally sensitive the issues of surveillance and photographers' rights are, especially in light of the abuses suffered by UK photographer-citizens at the hands of the British police.

If the point absolutely had to be made, this was probably the least optimal way to communicate it. Look at how it's been misunderstood and subsequently raged against!

EDIT: Airchinapilot's suggestion is great. That would have lowered the noise floor significantly.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
steveluscher edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Alan Bailward says:

I think an interesting (hypothetical of course) exercise would be to do the opposite of what noahadams (who took the set of pics of all the cameras) did and see if it's noticed if you do the terrorist-like surveillance. IE: point and shoot / camera phones, wide angle / fisheye lenses to allow you to photograph what you're not looking like you're photographing, and so on. I wonder if that activity would get noticed at all?

Obviously doing so would be a Bad Idea(tm), but it's an interesting thought to see what if someone doing what the "bad guys" would do would be noticed, vs the innocent photog having fun taking obvious pictures of cameras.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Chris Murray Photo says:

@buzzerblog: thanks for the clarification. I got my back up because I'd hate to see Vancouver turn into a police state where law abiding citizens were being punished at the expense of preventing a crime that may or may not happen.

We all want Vancouver to have a safe and enjoyable Olympic games in 2010, I just don't want to give up any of my rights in order to do it.

btw, I posted about this on my blog last night, and got a comment on it from Ken Hardie of Translink. (which appears legit based on the IP info).
www.apeman.org/2009/03/18/228/
62 months ago (permalink)

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buzzerblog says:

Steve, Datreebear, thanks for that. Really, the marketing department just had no idea that this ad would provoke this response -- and knowing this now will help us better design our ads for the future. The next time we do something like this, we will definitely have you guys in mind!

Thanks again — we really do welcome this discussion and we're glad you brought it up.
62 months ago (permalink)

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pauluminous says:

Wow, nice to see Translink actually got involved in this matter. I'm very impressed! ;)
As to the ad campaign, it seems to follow what's going on in the world, hence the links and responses above which clearly indicate a rapid decline in the freedom of photographers. And caused in general a frowned upon eye towards photographers. Street photography that is, in most cases.
Compared to the other 2 ads run by Translink, photography is shown in context with criminality and terrorism. The handbag should be associated with a bomb and the guy trying to break in speaks for itself. How does photography fit in here? Something I've wondered about ever since ads like this are being run worldwide.

I have no idea,.... how to say this nice..... which clueless person started this ad to begin with, no one who wants to do any serious harm to a transit system would photograph there or do anything other than walking and looking. He/she isn't gonna take pics, draw maps on the spot, place an X mark where the bomb should be placed etc etc.
But the fact that Translink and their (no doubt highly expensive) ad agency just blatantly copied an ad which already run half way across the globe (no creative juice left I guess) and one that does not make any sense what so ever, that leaves me kinda clueless.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Richard Macdonald says:

@buzzerblog: it's good to see a real presence of someone with a direct link to translink on an online forum. Great first step. I'm curious to know if these ads are going to be pulled and/or if there will be any attempt at public awareness?

As you probably know by now, there are huge perception problems with regards to photography, especially in the UK and US right now. It's a huge concern that these perception issues will become more and more apparent in Vancouver during the lead up to the olympics.

It's not translink or translink staff that are the biggest concern, but the public as a whole, and private security personal who may not be well informed about the laws and choose to cause issues based on perception/hearsay.
62 months ago (permalink)

Jim Poulos [deleted] says:

I am quite impressed that Vancouver Transit has actually responded to this discussion in a rather comprehensive manner. However, I do understand the concern many photographers have and since Jhenifer compares Transitlink's ad campaign to the one in New York I can certainly share the experience New York photographers have had.

The New York "See something, Say Something" campaign does not mention photography. In spite of this photographers are constantly harassed and even arrested . Photography on the New York Subway is specifically permitted by state law (21 NYCRR 1050.9(c)) - imagine if it wasn't.

So I certainly understand the concern - ad campaigns like this which implant in the public's mind that photography is suspicious ergo criminal will only lead to the type of harassment that has been experienced by New York photographers and I am sure that Vancouver does not want to go that route.
62 months ago (permalink)

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buzzerblog says:

Just got word of this and thought you might be interested: Doug Kelsey, SkyTrain's CEO, will be on BC Almanac at 12:30pm today (basically in 15 minutes). It's a CBC radio program, 690 AM Vancouver. He'll be talking about the Transit Secure program and the issues you guys have raised.

(Just in case you don't know, SkyTrain is an operating company owned by TransLink -- so TransLink and SkyTrain each have their own CEOs.)
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
buzzerblog edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

whoops. checked too late. hopefully CBC puts this on their website.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Richard Macdonald says:

I'm kind of disapointed no one has picked this up, at least all the searches I've put into google news have come up dry.

I didn't hear about the radio broadcast till just now, would love to know what was said.
62 months ago (permalink)

The Blackbird [deleted] says:

I saw this ad while riding a bus yesterday.

What do you folks think of doing a walkabout with our cameras, en masse, through the Skytrain system? We could all meet up at, say, the entrance to the Granville Street station and walk in, batteries fully charged and memory cards emptied, for an afternoon of artistic shooting.

I think we could get some wonderfully artistic shots of Skytrain police and security guards, employees, security cameras, and anything else that stands out as a beautiful, artistic subject.

Anyone with me?

GET RID OF THE AD, TRANSLINK, AND LEAVE US ALONE.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
The Blackbird edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Richard Macdonald says:

I'm up for a walk through, if someone is up for organizing a time and place.

Also, CBC has an article up in relation

www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/03/20/bc-su...
62 months ago (permalink)

The Blackbird [deleted] says:

How about if we start a Facebook group? I'll get on that and come back when it's up and running.

I know a few photojournalists who would come along and document our walk through for the local press.

The only way to avoid this, Translink, is to REMOVE THE ADS pronto.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

Please remember that this group still is about off-camera lighting and if you do want to organize any kind of walk, there are other groups for this.

This discussion evolved out of Andrew's initial post and it was important but it is actually OT and shouldn't involve this particular group's identity.
62 months ago (permalink)

The Blackbird [deleted] says:

Kluck kluck. That's okay. I just sent the photo and this discussion to David Eby, Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

He'll look into it before we go for a walk. Have fun, strobists.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
The Blackbird edited this topic 62 months ago.

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camera_bug says:

should i report myself??

IMG_0142Web

Guess I was mighty suspicious when I took this shot.

BTW I titled this photo as "Big Brother is watching!!!"
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
camera_bug edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Steve Cherrier is a group moderator Steve Cherrier says:

Agree with Airchinapilot on this one. If you want to start a Facebook group or organize a rally or something, please do it on your own and do not associate it with Vancouver Strobist. As Keith pointed out, we're all about off-camera lighting here.

Thanks!
62 months ago (permalink)

The Blackbird [deleted] says:

No problem. I happened across a link to the thread on the Beyond Robson website and followed it here. But just to be clear, a strobist started this discussion so perhaps you and Airchinapilot should direct your advice toward him. Still, your unwelcoming attitude and unwillingness to make room for a conversation on an issue relevant to all photographers is enough for me to know that even if I were a strobist, I wouldn't be part of your group.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Richard Macdonald says:

Almost all of the other flickr groups have been re-directing to here because this was the first conversation related to the issue.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Steve Cherrier is a group moderator Steve Cherrier says:

@ The Blackbird - Please don't confuse my message as an apparent unwillingness to make room for the discussion. If I felt the discussion was not relevant, I would have closed it. Please note that the discussion is still open. ;)

I merely stated that organizing a rally of photographers is more than within your prerogative, but please don't label it as a "Vancouver Strobist Rally." That's all I asked.

Discuss away! :)
62 months ago (permalink)

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camera_bug says:

Steve, Keith

Distinction well made. Agreed. If there is to be a rally, it will be done by all photographers not just strobists...and it shouldn't be labeled as a strobist rally.
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

But .. but .. I already had the banner printed! ;)
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

The Blackbird, if you read this thread earlier on you would see my point of view clearly written earlier on as someone who is concerned with the ad campaign. If I had wanted this discussion to not continue well.. I wouldn't have participated in it! As for the Strobist identity and any action, you should probably read the front page of this group to see what we are about before so making a noisy exit.
62 months ago (permalink)

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filmgoerjuan says:

Early mock-ups for the ad campaign:

Call Us 2

Call Us 1
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
filmgoerjuan edited this topic 62 months ago.

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pauluminous says:

Nicely done, but now Translink is gonna sue your ass for copyright infringement.
62 months ago (permalink)

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camera_bug says:

Maybe it would be more appropriate to move this discussion over to the Vancouver Photographer Group.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Craig Volpe says:

I understand how this is a sensitive issue to photographers, especially after the recent Amtrak debacle, but personally I think some people here are overreacting and/or taking the ad a little too literally.

I don't think the ad is literally saying you should specifically report people with big cameras taking photos of security cameras. Most of us can agree that wouldn't even make sense in the first place. I think the ad was simply trying to illustrate the idea that if you see suspicious looking activity than you should report it. If the ad had featured someone pointing their cell phone in the direction of the security camera, or drawing a schematic of the building, it would have been confusing what exactly they were doing. It might be a little insensitive towards photographers, but I also think the ad agency did a good job of portraying the message simply and succinctly.

Perhaps the ad will make the public more suspicious of photographers than they already are. Maybe people will call security reporting our activity more. But what's wrong with that? Maybe people will be more likely to approach us about what we are doing. It might be annoying, but isn't that the best opportunity to truly inform them about our rights as photographers? I carry a little folded printout in my wallet and camera bag called "The Photographer's Right" for just such occasions. Most suspicious people are well meaning and just aren't aware of the law when it comes to photography. I think by talking to those people and showing them we are people just like them would be infinitely more effective in changing perceptions than say an ad campaign saying something to the effect of "photography is not a crime".

Most of this thread I just see people rather seriously complain about the ad and what the ad did wrong, how stupid the art director was, making jokes about it, and what can be done to either stop it or bring attention to how unjust it is. But wouldn't it be more constructive to suggest changes they could make to the ad to not only get their message across more effectively, but also didn't risk further lowering the public's perception of street photography? I don't feel like rereading all the posts, but the only constructive comments I remember were a couple by airchinapilot, and I don't even remember him going into much detail on alternative ideas for the ad while still effectively sending the message "report the suspicious, not the strange." If someone can come up with an even better idea for the ad I think Translink will be more likely to change it instead of simply saying what we don't like about it.

I'd honestly like to hear some alternative ideas for the ad that wouldn't be offensive to photographers yet still get the message across simply and effectively. Any ideas?
62 months ago (permalink)

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pauluminous says:

I don't think it's a matter of us taking this ad too literally, it's the fear of the general public taking this ad too literally. And they will!
The ad imprints a vision into the general public that photography is a suspicious activity that should be reported.
Although you don't seem to be bothered by this and by the fact that you might be reported, questioned and/or even arrested, I do, and from what I've seen in this and other threads so do many others.
What you call well meaning by suspicious people i rather see as paranoia. Ads like this do nothing but enforce fear and a false feeling that the public should be scared and in this case feel threatened by people taking photos of random stuff.
With this said I do not feel that there would be anything that would improve this particular ad, and with only this said, that leaves open a world of how to do it differently so I don't really see the need to spill them out. I personally feel the ad agency did a horrible job creative wise as well as in execution. In this particular ad I should add, cause the other 2 are closer to reality as to what actually might be a thread to safety and are actually kinda funny.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
pauluminous edited this topic 62 months ago.

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filmgoerjuan says:

I don't think the ad is literally saying you should specifically report people with big cameras taking photos of security cameras. Most of us can agree that wouldn't even make sense in the first place. I think the ad was simply trying to illustrate the idea that if you see suspicious looking activity than you should report it.

Given that the other two ads in the series *are* literal (report unattended bags, report people trying to break into secure doors), I find it hard to believe that many people aren't going to take the third one literally as well.

But wouldn't it be more constructive to suggest changes they could make to the ad to not only get their message across more effectively, but also didn't risk further lowering the public's perception of street photography?

If one disagrees with the entire premise of the ad, it's hard to give criticism more constructive than "don't do this".
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
filmgoerjuan edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Richard Macdonald says:

@Craig Volpe: It's not a matter of literal interpretation, it's the fact that it's shifting public perception.

Anyone seeing these ads gets an impression, not concrete laws and policies, and a few weeks later when they see you taking photos in the station, someone who feels like confronting you now feels empowered, they've been told by translink police that they should report suspicious behavior, and they've taken that message and filtered it through their own perceptions and ideas of what 'suspicious behavior' entails.

You may know the laws and your rights, but they don't necessarily, and there's a pretty good chance that you can't now convince them... they saw an ad with a translink police endorsement saying that you're wrong... even if it didn't, that can be their perception.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Richard Macdonald edited this topic 62 months ago.

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John Goldsmith says:

Thanks for sharing Cabbit. The advertisement disgusts me. As a frequent customer of Translink and promoter of mass transit, I'm saddened to see this.

This story also just made the CBC.

www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/03/20/bc-su...
62 months ago (permalink)

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Great Beyond says:

From that article:

"They're taking pictures of wiring, pipes, electrical panels. Well, I'm sorry, not many people go around doing that," Hardie said.

What the hell? Why is this hack judging what *I* see as artistic? Going by what he thinks, this:

Day 073/365 - Under the Bridge

This:
Train

and this:
Paris has some mighty sewers

. . . are not valid forms of artistic expression. Sorry that your scope of what is "art" is so limited, that you think that only people would take snapshots of kids and their dog. What a clueless moron. . . .

For photographers like yourselves, the message is really just to be prepared to be asked what you're doing. If you're only taking the artistic photos that you want to take, you shouldn't have any problems.

Because if you go up to a terrorist and ask them what they're taking pictures of, they'll tell you that they're planning to blow up the station and send the infidels straight to hell.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Great Beyond edited this topic 62 months ago.

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

@Great Beyond:
Because if you go up to a terrorist and ask them what they're taking pictures of, they'll tell you that they're planning to blow up the station and send the infidels straight to hell.

Precisely. So that means the transit police will be left to their own judgement to determine how "suspicious" you are. What happens if they don't like your answers when they question you? Are you then faced with possible arrest and/or tazer or worse? For doing something that isn't even against the law in the first place?

The lack of logic by people like Ken Hardie and the others driving this campaign is astounding. All it's going to take is a cop having a bad day and a nervous or smart mouthed photographer and there will be an incident. Vancouver will join the ranks of the other places in the world where we have seen such abuses of authority. What a wonderful example to be setting as the eyes of the world focus on our city in 2010. Translink should be ashamed.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Sushistand says:

Great Beyond says:

"They're taking pictures of wiring, pipes, electrical panels. Well, I'm sorry, not many people go around doing that," Hardie said.

Great Beyond,

I found this just for you. Why don't you ring him up?

TransLink:
Ken Hardie
Phone: (604) 453-4606
Email: ken_hardie@translink.bc.ca
62 months ago (permalink)

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Great Beyond says:

Perhaps I'll do just that - take a bit, compose my thoughts and give him a piece of my mind. If I do, I'll be sure to post any response if I hear back from him.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Richard Macdonald says:

For anyone else interested:

Forum on Olympic policing and security

The VPD, the RCMP and the City of Vancouver will speak at a public information session on how Olympic security measures will affect the Downtown Eastside hosted by Pivot Legal Society, this Thursday.

The free forum, at the Strathcona Community Centre, will include a question/answer period where residents can ask questions and voice concerns.

Where: Strathcona Community Centre – 601 Keefer Street

When: Thursday March 26, 2009 Start: 7:00 p.m.
62 months ago (permalink)

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smith says:

I appreciate Jhenifer coming on board to reply and I can understand the challenges the media company had. Nevertheless, there are still serious concerns about these kinds of campaigns, period.

1) if it is a part of a series of ads, why not some ads that promote community and civility and not suspicion? A fearful suspicious ridership is WAY more dangerous (to itself and to translink) than a ridership that thinks of itself as a community.

2) although you might say you are not targeting photographers, in fact the ad does exactly that, despite the (limp) "paranormal" humour. Cameras (CCTV cameras, that is) are a public issue and if we can't take pictures of them then how are we to engage in a discussion and a debate about the issue? This is a democracy and we have the right to engage in debate. Even about CCTV.

I am a surveillance researcher. I have been taking pictures of CCTV cameras (and other surveillance equipment) and will continue to do so. I think it is important to have the evidence of this thing in our midst so that we might discuss it. We might still consider surveillance necessary but for goodness sake we have to be able to talk about it.
62 months ago (permalink)

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smith says:

Dear photographers,

I am SO glad you are coming together on this issue. My brother is a photographer (in Winnipeg) and I have been talking to him about this sort of thing and how regrettable it is.

My photos are (mostly) pretty crappy but I take LOTS of pictures of surveillance cameras. It is part of my research and my teaching. I don't have an artistic reason but rather an academic one. But I think our interests are aligned in this area.

If the everyday activities of a group of people are vilified - as is happening to photographers in the UK, US, and now here - it makes their lives miserable, it interferes with their freedom of expression, and it makes our democracy a little less effective.

No doubt terrorists on trains is a serious problem. But a crippled democracy is a far greater problem. Campaigns like this strike a small (and indirect) blow to terrorism but they strike a large and direct blow to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is how a democracy works.

Even more troubling, they erode (Cory Doctorow called the recent UK campaign "corrosive of civil society") our sense of community - the very basis of our kind of political system. Sense of community and trust is how a democracy comes to exist.

I would argue that the campaign risks way too much. In fact, I am suspicious of this campaign. And Translink is clearly suspicious of us. I think we should report them.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Plan B -- Trans-Canada 2009 is a group administrator Plan B -- Trans-Canada 2009 says:

This is an interesting discussion. Before I saw the advert I heard the Hardie interview on the radio and I must say neither the campaign nor Hardie are very impressive.
While I fully understand that there is tremendous pressure to make sure that all occupants of the Skytrain are safe -- especially with the upcoming attention our city is garnering on the international scene -- I really fail to see how grouping together an image of a photographer with an image of a man breaking into a room and an abandoned bag could possibly be positive in any way. At best it is naive and at worst it is inflammatory and counter-productive.

I've had 2 interactions with the police regarding photography in the last year and in both cases the police were very wrong and in one case someone alerted the police to my "suspicious" activity.

Last year I rented some profoto 7b gear and I wanted to test it out before a job so I took it across the street to our neighbourhood park, set up a couple of heads and took pictures of two of my sons on a swing set. As I was changing settings on the unit I noticed a very large man running at me -- it seemed very odd and i looked over my shoulder and saw another man coming from the opposite direction - also very large and running. They were plain clothes policemen and had arrived at the park in separate unmarked cruisers and they both felt the situation was urgent enough to run at me.

Someone -- they of course would not tell me who -- had called the police to say that a "suspicious" man was taking pictures of children in the park. I was no more than 100 feet from my front door, with my two young sons and about 7k in lighting gear as well as all my camera gear. My kids look like clones of me too.
After I told them what I was doing, presented ID and showed them my pictures one of the policemen called off "backup." Yeah, two 6'4" 225 pound policemen fully armed called off "backup". I'd like to add that I was in the open here, it's not a wooded park.

The policemen asked me to be sympathetic to their situation -- they said they had to respond in the way they did given the call. I hate to even re-tell this story, it was a sad and angry day for me. I wasn't suspected of being a terrorist by the anonymous caller -- I was suspected of something else and it was a horrible feeling for me. My kids knew the score too and they wanted to tease me a bit about it later but really being questioned by the police under suspicion of "that" in front of your own kids was a personal liberty lowpoint for me.

The good news? The cops didn't taz me. My kids, on the other hand, thought the police were idiots -- not an ideal impression.

Is this what Translink wants? Are they serious about soliciting calls from silly people about people they think are suspicious? Virtually everyone has a cell phone and almost all phones have cameras. Does this make everyone suspicious?

The Digital Revolution has given birth to a new new era of photography. Almost everyone is a photographer now. Go anywhere and the new way people spectate or enjoy the world is with a camera held out in front of them in a sort of salute to the experiences of life.

Nowhere is this new digital lifestyle more apparent than in our beautiful city -- I see people all over the city taking pictures all day long. It's ironic that as a community we are sold on the idea of hosting the Olympics as a form of promoting our city to a global audience, as a way of inviting the world to come visit us here. Guess what these visitors want to do while they are here? They want to take pictures to capture memories of their time in what is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world.

So what happens when visitors come here and ride the Canada Line from the airport? What a great place to take pictures.

What happens when those same visitors dress differently, speak a different language and have a different idea about what makes a great photograph and are asked to explain themselves because -- gasp -- they took a picture and someone called the police.

The ad campaign is misguided and wrong. Craig Volpe challenged us here in this thread to come up with a solution. I have one. Cancel the "Suspicious Campaign." Pull down the posters, fire your ad agency and spend the money on policing.

When I was finished talking to the large policemen that questioned me in the park I told them that I could see the very spot where we were standing from my dining room window (I'm looking at the park right now) and that maybe I should alert the police every time I see a person taking pictures in the park.

Maybe we should all call the transit police every time we see a camera on the Skytrain. Every time. Isn't that what we're being asked to do? I think so.
I'm very suspicious of that Airchinapilot dude -- he often has a strange camera around his neck, I think it's a spycam. And slowmanlouis? I'm very suspicious about how good his photos are getting -- what's up with that? I'm calling the authorities.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Chris Murray Photo says:

Joe, your story makes my skin crawl. I'd have a hard time keeping my composure in the same situation.

Its a sad world that we live in, everybody seems to jump to the worst possible conclusion. I wonder if the cops would come rushing into the park if it was a woman who was "taking pictures of kids"?

I wish the police would spend their time going after the bad guys.
62 months ago (permalink)

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rodbotic says:

wow Joe, I am speechless.

suspicious with lighting gear?
I would call suspicious being is a big telephoto shot from a car.

plain clothes officers running at you. thats insane.

I am curious what would have been RCMP's approach to the same situation.
62 months ago (permalink)

Specs1 [deleted] says:

Joe: Unf...ing-believable. Except, of course, that it's not. On the other hand, it's incredibly frightening.
62 months ago (permalink)

Specs1 [deleted] says:

And, in response to Craig Volpe's idea of carrying around a nifty little bit of folded paper explaining his rights - um, is this supposed to be something "terrorists" couldn't obtain? The cop, or paranoid citizen contemplating reporting you will see it and say to themselves, "Oh! Silly me! This guy's obviously a legitimate photographer."? You've obviously got a lot of faith. In exactly what, I'm not sure, but...
62 months ago (permalink)

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John Goldsmith says:

I am curious what would have been RCMP's approach to the same situation.

Taser....
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
John Goldsmith edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Canuck Gtrplyr says:

I wish the police would spend their time going after the bad guys.

The police responded to a call about suspicious behaviour involving small children.

You don't want the police to do that?

... really?

You have no idea what the caller said to the 911 call taker. I've worked emergency services for 12 years. Sure when hearing Joe's story it seems like an easy case of a misguided caller, or an overreaction by police.

For all you know, however, the caller said someone was stalking children and taking inappropriate photos of them alone in the park. Joe mentioned how innocent it was as he was right outside of his front door, and the children looked just like him. Could the caller see that from where they were? Did he tell the 911 call taker that? Joe mentioned he was out in the open. I could fill this thread with stories of child abductions that occurred out in the open. Michael Dunahee was abducted just after noon, on a bright sunny day, meters from his parents, near a softball tournament.

We (I'm not a cop, I work for another service) go to false alarm 911 calls all the time. You know what though? I'd rather go to 1000 false alarm calls and get there to find out the caller was way off base than to not rush to the call which was a real child at risk.

We are dispatched to calls based on incredibly limited information obtained during a short phone call. When we get to the scene we have more time to sort things out. When you look back on the call, as we are sort of doing here with Joe's story, it is even easier to see the big picture. All we can do is prioritize our response, then adjust things as new information comes along in the call.

An analogy from my world would be a call for an unconscious collapse, possible cardiac arrest, on the sidewalk of a street. 2 ambulances and a firetruck with 3 or 4 firefighters will be dispatched to that call here in the city usually.

Now, if we get there and find out it is indeed a cardiac arrest we need all 4 paramedics to do our job properly. The assistance and manpower we get from the fire departments is of immense value also. But often times we get there and it turns out to be a drunk, or a fainting, or a person who just felt dizzy and laid down. We'll often clear the fire crew, let one of the ambulances go back in service, and continue on with the call.

Joe said the good news was that he wasn't tazed. I think the good news is that a citizen was concerned enough about the welfare of children to call 911, and the police responded quickly to that call. Even better news was no child was actually at risk at any time. Yes, Joe was put through an incredibly difficult ordeal because of it, but would you instead not want people to call when they are concerned about children?

"plain clothes officers running at you. thats insane."

I don't mean any disrespect by saying this Rod, but spend some time around the families who have lost children, or are looking desperately for their children. Spend some time around small children who have been injured or killed. You might not think it is that insane at all. Again, does anyone know what exactly the caller said when making the call? This is what triggers the initial response. The cops usually don't get all the other information until they get there.

Cheers,

Ian
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Canuck Gtrplyr edited this topic 62 months ago.

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rodbotic says:

no offense taken,

I agree to going to every call when children involved.
but you think the Police could have approached differently when they got on scene.

I have been to Joe's house, that park isn't very big.

the insane part i was referring to was the initial thought/panic when noticing 2 big guys running directly at Joe. (this can't be good).
62 months ago (permalink)

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Canuck Gtrplyr says:

...but you think the Police could have approached differently when they got on scene.

You would think, but again we don't know what they were told. Did the caller mention imminent danger? That they thought they saw a weapon and that's why they called?

We get these kinds of things all the time. The code 3 call for chest pains with a cardiac history, sweaty skin, etc. Go flying out there only to find out that the guy has chest pain because a board kicked out of a saw and broke a rib (not his heart), his cardiac history is a heart murmur he was born with, and he is sweaty because it is August and he's working hard. Our call takers try hard to get complete and full information, but it isn't always possible for a plethora of reasons.

And yup, I wouldn't want two big guys running at me either. :)
62 months ago (permalink)

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Canuck Gtrplyr says:

This isn't aimed at anyone in specific...

I should add that every occupation has idiots working for it, and policing is no different. Overall though they are great men and women, and I stand by the fact that until you walk a few hundred miles in their shoes, see the things they see, and make the decisions they have to make that you have no clue what policing is about. You can't understand it from the media.
62 months ago (permalink)

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filmgoerjuan says:

I'd rather go to 1000 false alarm calls and get there to find out the caller was way off base than to not rush to the call which was a real child at risk.

I'd rather the police went to 1000 false alarm calls *based on a genuine suspicion of something being wrong* too; unfortunately, I think that the paranoia and scaremongering the kind of ads we're discussing here will result in them going to more false alarms that are based on oversimplified equations such as "camera + kids in park == pervert!" or "camera + skytrain == terrorist!". At what point will a "boy who cried wolf" sense of jadedness kick in, possibly resulting in someone's legitimate concern being handled with less urgency?
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

@Canuck Gtryplyr: All good and valid points. It is easy for us civilians to view the cops as the bad guys in these cases as we only see it in the isolated incident and in hindsight it seems like "over reaction". If the children in Joe's scenario had actually been at risk (say that photographer was not Joe but some stranger with his kids and photography was not his goal) and the cops rushed in and caught the guy, we would have been hailing them as heroes. Though I am sure that for Joe and his children this was still an unsettling experience.

Joe Sale's story does serve to illustrate one of the key problems with the translink plan however. Most civilians (myself included) are not trained to assess a situation objectively to determine if an individual is just minding their own business or acting suspicious. Some people will have a "hero" complex and will call with the hopes that they helped catch the bad guy. Others may have prejudices or past experiences with people who dress/look a certain way and will be automatically suspicious of them.

With the ad campaign, simply having a camera with you (and *gasp* using it) will be enough to make some people suspicious of you. For the officers this will just increase their workload and frustration. For the photographers that fall under the cross hairs of their fellow citizen's fears, it will feel a lot like harassment.

[Edit: I see @filmgoerjuan said something similar while I was writing this. ]
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Datreebear_del edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Mista Fitz says:

You've got it.

The problem is not the police responding to the calls - OF COURSE they have to respond*, and that must be frustrating!

The problem is the people who make those calls - and how they were influenced to do so. (perhaps a translink ad?) ;-)


*and running across the park/calling in backup is just part of the show, because, can you imagine the other side of this story: "so I called in the police, and they showed up half an hour later and sauntered across the park, no sense of urgency for this Joe Pervert!"(kidding joe!)
62 months ago (permalink)

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Canuck Gtrplyr says:

I totally agree Jamie and datreebear.

edit: missed Mista Fitz's post. This pretty much hits it bang on:

"The problem is the people who make those calls - and how they were influenced to do so. (perhaps a translink ad?) ;-)"

They probably wouldn't have been calling in backup as they arrived. If the manpower was available it most likely would have been dispatched initially. I think Joe said they cancelled it when they realized what was going on. Again, triage big based on the caller's information, adjust as you gather more info.
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
Canuck Gtrplyr edited this topic 62 months ago.

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Chris Murray Photo says:

@Canuck Gtrplyr:

I should have phrased my statement better, I do not fault the police services for Joe's incident, I think the problem is this paranoid nanny state in which we now live. Police are having to spend their precious time (and our tax $$) dealing with nonsense calls.

And I totally agree with you that we don't know what the 911 dispatcher was told by the "concerned citizen". I just find it odd that they thought some pervert would take the time to setup off camera lighting gear!

We live in a country where the government mandates that our culture should be protected in the media. This causes networks such as Global to air 8 hours a day of news in order to meet their 32% Canadian content requirements, and unfortunately, in order to keep ratings up, and ad revenues high, they must sensationalize every single story.

I'm a new parent, and I live across the street from a park, I want to be able to take pictures of my daughter playing there when she's old enough, but now I might think twice about it, I don't want to be hassled/tazered by the police because some lonely old lady called the RCMP because she assumed the worst.

Again, I do not fault law enforcement for this, I just think that they are going to make things worse with ad's such as the translink one. I know a Transit police officer, and they are always swamped with calls already, do we really want them being taken away from legitimate calls in order to harass tourists because some little old lady thought they looked suspicious?
62 months ago (permalink)

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Canuck Gtrplyr says:

I completely agree.
62 months ago (permalink)

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

apeman.org, besides strangers, it is too easy for someone with a beef against you to cause trouble as an anonymous tipster. When I was dating a single mother for quite a while there was an anonymous tip to child services that she was allowing strange men to come and go and take her children everywhere with obvious implications. Trouble was, her children were white and I am not. I got stares everywhere from strangers. So while she trusted me and her daycare people trusted me, I had to answer questions and suspicions that were really outrageous including allegations on things no one could possibly observe even if they had been true -- i.e. made up. I don't blame the authorities for following up on tips, but whoever it was who made those things up wasn't just making my life more complicated, they were wasting resources.

A couple years ago there was a case where an Arab-American journalist (who worked for a major media outlet) was pulled from a train and questioned. He had been in a conversation with a fellow passenger and it hadn't even been about anything political but the white guy decided he would make this guy's day hell and asserted that the journalist had made a threat. The day ended without any charges and in fact the authorities couldn't do anything about the fellow who had reported him. They couldn't disprove or prove anything, only that they had investigated the journalist and couldn't find any reason to support the allegations.

In Vancouver, there was a human rights case won by an Arab man who had the bad luck of being on vacation in the eastern States at the same time as 9/11. One of his fellow workers had given CSIS a tip that he had been travelling at the time. He had told everyone where he was going ahead of time -- some terrorist! He was interviewed and cleared by CSIS. But in the office some employees started a whisper campaign about him, maligned him in the lunch room and to his boss, and in the end he lost his job.
62 months ago (permalink)

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pauluminous says:

Besides showing some crazy kick ass street photography DH's blog post today also touches this subject. Is this where we are going? Especially with the olympics coming up? I hope not, but fear the worst.
But reading the recent posts in this thread we're pretty much there anyways.

I'm more than happy to give up some rights and some freedom to make this society a saver place for every one. But when fathers and boyfriends become more afraid of being accused/suspected of child molestation when they play, walk, take photo's with their own or their girlfriend's children then that they are afraid those children might actually become a victim of child molestation, I think that's a really sad thing to happen in this society.
The changes of someone with a camera on the skytrain being a terrorist is what ???
1:1.000.000?
The changes of me being questioned because of some "concerned" citizen/skytrain police officer becomes what?
1:2 after this ad runs for a while?
Maybe we should take over Starbucks and toss some anti paranoia pills in everyone's coffee. :D
Originally posted 62 months ago. (permalink)
pauluminous edited this topic 62 months ago.

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rodbotic says:



photoshoped british anti-terrorism posters
62 months ago (permalink)

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John Goldsmith says:

pauluminous.

Who is DH? Am I missing a link to his blog? I'm curious about that kick-ass street photography. Thanks!
62 months ago (permalink)

Datreebear_del [deleted] says:

@WAXY: 'DH' is David Hobby. He's the author of the Strobist blog and started the main flickr Strobist group (of which we are a localised subset).
62 months ago (permalink)

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John Goldsmith says:

Ohhh... thanks Datreebear. I saw that Nick Turpin piece but didn't know that was the reference.

I like the Street Photography photoshoot, I just wish he could have used other people to make it seem more candid. Of course, that would require getting other people to sign waivers or paying for models. Not so easy to do as some of you have said.

OK.. back to the topic at hand....
62 months ago (permalink)

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John Goldsmith says:

I came across Ken Hardie on Twitter just a few minutes ago. Given the above subject, I found this quote pretty humourous:

"How do you avoid looking guilty? I always play it straight, but always look guilty as hell when I get to the customs person."
62 months ago (permalink)

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HarryJayphotos says:

Translink?? How about the VPD?
Who hasn't seen the front page of the Province today :(

Anyway, I am going to send a link to the front page to a few groups worldwide....just because.......
61 months ago (permalink)

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Mista Fitz says:

Here's a link:
www.theprovince.com/News/Vancouver+cops+under+fire+camera...
61 months ago (permalink)

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pauluminous says:

Obviously it's wrong of the VPD, but also understandable.
Imagine you just shot someone out of self defense and are trying to deal with the emotional stress when some idiot comes up putting his big ass camera in your face. Not to mention that as a officer you're holding back all those freakin "accident tourists" instead of securing evidence and trying to work a case.
After all the bs the police gets thrown in their face for trying to their job it's not surprising they're less and less cooperative with the media.
It's still wrong of the VPD and if I was the photographer I wouldn't have given up my camera, just because they threaten to arrest me. I think that's also kinda lame from the photographer.

*edit* It could be worse: msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/9421126/Report:-Gunfire-erupt...
Originally posted 61 months ago. (permalink)
pauluminous edited this topic 61 months ago.

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Airchinapilot is a group moderator Airchinapilot says:

I'm wondering why the Province editor wasn't quoted in the article. Surely the editor has an interest in backup up their photographer.
61 months ago (permalink)

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Mista Fitz says:

He did comment [quite well] in the CBC article here:

www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/04/06/bc-sh...
61 months ago (permalink)

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Chris Murray Photo says:

The VPD need to realize that the citizens that they are here to protect have rights, including the rights to have a camera and take photos. What really stands out in my mind is that this person was a press photographer, and not some random crime scene tourist. He was well within his right to be there, as long as he was not interfering with the crime scene.

I know that it is a stressful situation for the police, and the last thing they want is the press following them around, but we need transparency when it comes to officer involved shootings, and this is a reality of the career that these people have chosen. If they need to use their firearm, then they better expect to answer some questions.
61 months ago (permalink)

Specs1 [deleted] says:

The police are, indeed, under a lot of stress. This doesn't excuse their behaviour. They have absolutely no right to take anyone's camera, working press photographer or not, unless they're arresting that person.

As others have pointed out, if the police are doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about from photographers. If they are doing something wrong, then it's us that need to worry.
61 months ago (permalink)

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