A Boston photographer said he was shooting reflections off a window of an unidentifiable building when a voice through a loud speaker ordered him to leave or be shot.
“Leave now or we will shoot you!”
The photo he was taking was a distorted reflection of Boston’s Zakim Bridge.
Daniel Brim told the Bostonist that although he didn’t realize it at the time, the building apparently houses the Massachusetts State Police. However, he also said there were no visible markings or signs on the building.
And even if there was, would it be against the law to photograph it?
According to The Photographer’s Rights, a document frequently updated by Oregon attorney Bert P. Krages II, we are allowed to photograph just about anything that is visible from a public space. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, which are listed below.
There are some exceptions to the general rule. A significant one is that commanders of military installations can prohibit photographs of specific areas when they deem it necessary to protect national security. The U.S.Department of Energy can also prohibit photography of designated nuclear facilities although the publicly visible areas of nuclear facilities are usually not designated as such.
Brim, who describes himself as a 19-year-old Mechanical Engineering student, had a similar experience last year in California, which he described on his blog.
And in another incident in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials ordered Kevin Church from taking photos inside South Station.
Church, who describes himself as a “33-year-old comics writer and commentator as well as a fair-to-middling photographer,” described the incident on his blog.
I’ve already run afoul of Zee Law, who informed me that taking pictures in Boston’s South Station is illegal. I’m fairly sure this is a nudging of my rights, but since I never bothered to read up on these things, I’m just going to nod and smile and thank god the government is looking out for fat guys with wide-angle lenses.
However, the The Universal Hub, a Boston blog, did bother to look it up and learned that MBTA officials were acting in contradiction to its own policy.
And last month in Massachusetts, Harvard undercover police arrested a protester who photographed them as they were photographing the demonstration.
If it is this bad for photographers in Massachusetts, considered one of the most liberal states in the country, I hate to see what it’s like for photographers in Utah.