jeffq 11:05pm, 4 October 2006
ponto 12 years ago
And one should avoid photographing blimps, too.
mdmarkus66 12 years ago
I'll do the Obligatory Posting of the Photographer's Right's Sheet, but highlight his advice that "most confrontations can be defused by being courteous and respectful. Not quite sure what "detained" means. I had a ride in a state police car over this shot, but it just ended up being a ride back to my car. I'm hoping the police were as reasonable here. Who are DGS police?
ponto 12 years ago
It's the Maryland Department of General Services, mdmarkus.
jeffq 12 years ago
Detained usually means you're in police custody but not under arrest. As in he was detained for questioning and then released when they found out he was an author.
Coal and Ice 12 years ago
"...he fit description of a man who had been seen in the past taking pictures of other state capitals across the United States. A lookout had been put out with his description by the Joint Terrorism Task Force."

GREAT! Never in a million years would I even
DREAM that a tourist might want to take pictures
of state capital buildings on a cross country trip!
Cowtools 12 years ago
A couple years ago, a whole family was detained after taking videos of their crossing of Chesapeake Bay Bridge. At the time, charges were being considered. They showed the footage on the TV news, and I saw nothing suspicious about it. I took very similar shots of the Golden Gate Bridge earlier that same year. I never did hear how that was resolved.
SkooterVA 12 years ago
Somebody PLEASE help me understand this:

I can spend all day taking pictures of the US Capitol and The White House, but once I tread with my camera into downtown Annapolis, I'd better have an attorney in tow?

And is there a database of people who have been "seen in the past taking pictures of other state capitals across the United States"? (Their words -- not mine)

What, pray tell, can we do with our cameras that Google Earth hasn't already done with satellite imagery?

This "news" story actually raises more questions than it answers.
mdmarkus66 12 years ago
scooter: Looking at your profile, i believe "pasty white" has more to do with why you aren't viewed as a problem than what you shoot. Not that this makes sense, but people are scared and do unreasonable things when they're scared. I'm still puzzling over "detained"; is it arrested? taken to the station? talked to? I agree, more questions than answers.
Lolita Martini 12 years ago
I agree with mdmarkus66, i think this was stemmed from racial and ethnical sterotypes in post 9-11 America. Stupid? yes.

I have taken pictures of the state capital so many times i can't count on one hand, and i've never got in any trouble. but then again, i'm white so i couldn't possibly be dangerous *rolls eyes*
miscelena PRO 12 years ago
As I've said elsewhere, all authorities in charge of keeping Americans safe are in a no-win position: they're damned (here and elsewhere) if they question innocents, and they'll certainly be damned if they don't, and someone who *isn't* so innocent causes further loss of American life.

Detaining suspects until identity can be verified is what police do. Certainly some conduct their investigations with more respect and ethics than others, but it's a task they're expected to do.

Racial and ethnic profiling is necessary if any reasonable 'suspect' profile is ever to be established. Certainly it would be better to seek criminals based on descriptions taken *after* a crime has occurred, but in a 21st century world where dying-in-the-act may be part of the point of the crime, prevention is the goal.

The truly unjust part of the entire story here is that former terrorists took photographs. No, they didn't need to - of course anything they wanted to capture could have be readily discovered and/or recorded in other ways. But they did. And so they generated a small portion of the perceived profile of someone planning a terrorist attack: photographing targets.

And so to prove 'due diligence' in preventing further attacks, the authorities feel they have to address photography as a threat.

Which we all know it isn't.

But if that article read differently - if it read "Authorities detained an Iranian national with ties to terrorist cells believed to be operating in the DC area after observing him photographing the State Capital in Maryland", two things would likely be true: a) we wouldn't be complaining, and b) harassment of photographers would get worse.

The more innocents they question based on photography, the more it becomes an innocent act again - perhaps we should consider it reclaiming photography from the terrorists?
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