Editorial: On Camera Policies in Privately Owned Public Spaces

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“and would you like the beef or the chicken chow mein… oh my god, he has a camera… quick someone go get the manager.”

As the popularity of photoblogs and amateur photography grows, the issue of camera policies in privately owned public spaces is becoming a significant issue. Earlier this year the New York Times published an article entitled Subway Officials Seek Ban on Picture-Taking that focused on New York City’s Transit Agency proposing a ban on unauthorized photography on City Subways.

The brilliant talent by new photographers and artists combined with free or inexpensive blog hosting is where many new artists are finding their voice and their audience. One of the fastest growing and exciting segments of the blogosphere is the rise of photoblogs. Much of this work, which is highlighted on sites like photoblogs.org, is breathtaking.

At the same time many corporations, museums, theaters, concert halls, clubs, stadiums, artists and bands are finding themselves at odds with their patrons, guests and fans. While some are taking progressive and accommodating steps to include these individuals, others are sticking with the inflexible no or limited camera policies of the past.

In the past month I personally have twice been asked not to take pictures in privately owned public spaces — once at a Starbucks on Market Street and once at PF Changs in Emeryville. I was equally disappointed upon recently arriving at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to discover that I would not be allowed to use my camera inside of their galleries.

Last year in a nice piece on Boing Boing it was suggested that we all protest by taking pictures inside Starbucks.

The purpose of this editorial is not to whine about my being asked not to photograph in these establishments as some critics will be quick to allege. I understand the right of any owner, myself in my own home included, to adopt a policy for whatever reason, as random or insignificant as it may be. No, the purpose of this editorial is for me to assert my free speech right and to a further extent my economic right not to support these establishments in the future and to make a point.

My own view is that corporate interference with photography in privately owned public space is counterproductive. Alienating customers is never a good thing. A company like Starbucks needs to understand this. I believe that their, and PF Changs’ policies are merely the result of some overzealous marketing executive feeling a need to “protect” a brand. Yes this is their right, and yes I do and will respect that, but it is bad business and I personally will not reward them with my money in the future. Likewise I will share my dislike for these companies with others – again another right of mine.

My view on public museums is a little different. I feel that not only is it bad business for them to prohibit or impede photography but that it is morally wrong. The whole point of a museum is to open up the arts and sciences to as broad an audience as possible. The San Francisco MOMA should be as interested in sharing it’s collection with someone in a village in China who will never make it to San Francisco in their lifetime as they are to the patrons that pay the cover charge at the door. They should be enouraging, not discouraging, the widest possible public viewing and distribution of their content and collection.

Instead, by adopting a restrictive no camera policy (or only by approval), the MOMA seeks for it’s own reasons to assert a tight grip of control on it’s collection and only make it available to those who will provide economic benefit in exchange by way of paying a charge, buying a book in their bookstore, etc. Although certainly nowhere near as extreme and in a significantly more limited way, this is no different than a private collector, who because he or she has earned or was born with wealth, seeks to horde away art from the rest of the world. This is contrary to what a public museum should be about.

The criticism will be made that it is the artist’s themselves who exert these militant policies upon the museums of the world – to this I say nonesense. If this were the case then it would be simple to open up the permanent collection of art to photographers while disallowing photography in private exhibits. This is what is done for instance at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco but not at the MOMA.

The criticism also will be made that flash is disruptive and in some cases even damaging. Fine I say — disallow flash — but not non-flash photography.

My concept is to begin a resource for photoblogers, in San Francisco initially, but more broadly later, to point out the camera policies of various public spaces in privately owned venues. I will continue to update this document as I continue to research this important issue in the Bay Area and abroad. I welcome comments on the project and feedback on the idea.

Please note: If you feel that I have misrepresented your camera policy or that it is different than stated feel free to contact me and I will be happy to amend this living document. Also, if you change your policy please let me know and I will make the appropriate adjustment. If your venue is not listed and you would like to be listed feel free to drop me a line.

These Folks are Great

San Francisco Giants (SBC Park): The home of the San Francisco Giants has one of the most accommodating policies regarding camera usage around: “All cameras still and video are permitted into SBC Park for Giants games. Tripods are permitted, but may only be set up in areas where they do not obstruct walkways or other guests’ view of the game action.” According to Rick Mears, Vice President, Guest Services, “if there isn’t a very good and demonstrable reason (guest safety, or for the greater good of all guests’ ballpark experience) for having a restrictive policy on our guests we won’t have the restrictive policy. We want our fans to feel like honored guests when they visit SBC Park because that is precisely what they are.”

Golden State Warriors (Oakland Coliseum): “Cameras are permitted, but the use of a flash is not allowed. All types of video and audio equipment are not permitted in The Arena.”

Oakland Raiders (Oakland Coliseum): “Appropriately sized still cameras are permitted inside the stadium. Video cameras are not permitted.”

San Jose Sharks (HP Pavilion): “The Sharks also deserve another round of Kudos for changing the camera policy at the HP Pavilion. Instead of each usher determining whether a camera was professional or not, a sign on the front door last night said all cameras with lenses under 6 inches are allowed. This is a great policy in gadget crazy Silicon Valley.”

12 Galaxies (Club at 2565 Mission St.): “We do allow photography at the venue unless the artist performing strictly forbids it.” According to Robert Levy of 12 Galaxies, they have never had an artist that forbade it, however, if an artist did they would comply.

Slims (Club at 333 11th St.) : “The use of cameras in our venue is primarily dictated by the various artists that perform here. If they allow photography then we generally do as well. The only time we step in is if they are setting up large amounts of equipment which would take up too much space. If the bands ar
e cool with it, so are we. Tripods and large “professional-type” shoots are discouraged unless pre-arranged with the band’s and club’s management. We just don’t want the photographers interfering with the other patron’s good time” johnATgnomarDOTcom adds, “Slim’s should be in the good category…every time i’ve been there it’s been a good experience. i was even allowed to sit on the side of the stage when i was there on crutches. (I hopped up there, a staff member started walking over to tell me to get off, saw the crutches and changed his mind. i sat up there the whole show, shooting pics to my heart’s content.)

Bottom of the Hill (Club at 1233 17th Street): According to one of their owners Lynn Schwarz, “Our camera policy is this: feel free to take pictures so long as it’s OK with the band(which it is 99.9% of the time) and so long as your picture taking doesn’t interfere with other patrons’ enjoyment of the show. I cannot think of any good reason why we would limit picture-taking otherwise.

Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin Street): Still photography of objects in the permanent collection, taken in existing light with a hand-held camera, is permitted for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of tripods, flashes, and video cameras is prohibited. Photography is not permitted in galleries containing special exhibitions. Photographs taken in the museum may not be sold, reproduced or distributed without written permission from the Museum.

Shen Hua (2914 College Ave., Berkeley): I frequently photograph in this fantastic East Bay Chinese spot when dining there and have never had a problem.

Azure Ray (Band): According to Orenda from Azure Ray they allow photographers at their shows as long as the photographer is not on stage as an on stage photographer detracts from the show. They have never asked anyone to stop taking pictures at their shows and feels that photographers and bands can co-exist peacefully during a show as long as they respect each other’s work.

Tom Tom Club (Band): We’ve posted here before that we are only bound by club policies or those of promoters with whom we’ve contracted. If it’s OK with them, it’s OK with us. Rules are generally posted at the club door. When in doubt, check via phone. Camera flash doesn’t bother any artist who is already standing in the glare of harsh lights and spotlights. For the sake of good photos we try to convince in-house lighting techs to leave the lights bright, white and constant, so fast film with no flash should work, too. We want people to be able to see everyone on stage at all times, so to please be considerate is what we ask.

These Folks are to be Determined

San Francisco Muni: Some are reporting that recently the police have been clamping down on photography in the Muni system. Personally I have never had a problem but these reports are certainly discouraging.

Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus: “Ringling Bros. policy is that no video cameras of any kind are allowed in the arena; however still cameras are permitted providing they are non-professional type cameras, and the photos are intended for personal use only. Since the definition of non-professional cameras and the use of digital cameras varies from arena to arena; please contact your local arena to verify their policy.”

I don’t like the fact that they use the vague “non-professional” term. I own a Cannon EOS 10D and some might consider this professional. They should clarify this. I was able, however, to sneak this in while holding my daughter without trouble on Saturday. I also noticed a lot of people did not have trouble with Cannon Rebels. I posted some of my pictures of the circus on my photoblog.

IN-N-OUT Burger: They recently have been accused of not allowing photography in their restaurants. I have emailed the company seeking a clarification and will report when I hear back.

These are the Bad Guys

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): Does not allow photography in their galleries.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: They do not allow cameras in their gallery for “security” purposes according to Adriane Lee, “in addition to respecting artist copyright laws.” It seems to me that they should allow photography for cleared items at least. The security argument is very weak.

Great American Music Hall: No cameras allowed.

Fillmore and Warfield: NO cameras or recording equipment.

PF Changs: Was asked not to photograph at their Emeryville location.

Starbucks: Was asked not to photograph at one of their Market Street locations.

Dashboard Confessional (Band): Disposable cameras are the only kind of cameras allowed in da club.

Bjork (Artist): Observe that there usually is a NO camera policy at these concerts.

Pearl Jam (Artist): “Q: How about small cameras and using a flash? Are those ok this year? A: This year it will be the small disposable cameras only, no flash.”

Wal-Mart: Per Dan Gillmor, Wal-Mart’s policy that all photos taken on its property must be approved in advance includes breaking news coverage, company spokeswoman Christi Gallagher said. The company requires the media – or anyone else – to get approval before taking pictures in Wal-Mart stores or on Wal-Mart property, she said. Asked if journalists photographing unexpected news, such as a fire, need the same permission, Gallagher said they do. After hours, a journalist should call the company’s 24-hour corporate hotline before taking pictures, she said.

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37 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I had an usher threaten to confiscacte my Canon D-30 at a Golden State Warriors game in 2002-2003. I told him that I’d checked the camera policy on their web site that stated cameras were allowed and he showed me a folded up piece of paper that had ‘No professional cameras’ written on it. He started to get nasty so I made myself scarce before he “took my film”. 🙂

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    I will look into this and see if I can get clarification on the Warriors. We may need to move them to a different category if this is the case.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A sad addition to the “bad guys” category. The Washington Area Metro Authority (WAMA) also known as “Metro” in Washington DC. No consistant policy. One day a train or station will be filled with picture snapping tourists happily photographing everything. The next day anyone with a camera is asked to stop or even to leave the station. To make matters worse it even varies from stop to stop!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, it should have been Washington Area Metro Transit Authority (WAMTA). My bad.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Try again fellow Anonymous, it’s the WMATA, the
    Washingtion Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. And I second that the lack of a consistent and open camera policy stinks!

  6. Anonymous says:

    A friend visiting from a far-away state was awestruck by In-N-Out Burger, so we had to go in and eat there. In the process, he wanted to take some digital pictures, and they had the manager of the store come out and tell him not to take any more and that it’s their store policy that no photographs are permitted.

  7. Anonymous says:

    According to a followup on BoingBoing (http://www.boingboing.net/2003/05/27/were_allowed_to_take.html) there is no official photo policy applicable to the general public for Starbucks.

    I haven’t called myself but it seems easy enough to double check with their Public Affairs dept. Since all the stores are corporate owned there should be no good reason for a manager to prevent you from taking a picture.

    Of course your milage may vary depending on how little your local manager understands their own corporate policy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree, in general, I would like to have a liberal, pro-camera policy, as I’m a shutterbug. However, I’m somewhat sympathetic to museums being uncomfortable with photographers taking pictures of artists’ work. Aside from the flash damage issue, if we publish our photos of what’s at SF MoMA (and, interestingly, I’ve never had this problem at there, NY MoMA, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I’m usually dragging a monstrosity of a camera bag around), don’t we run the risk of eliminating some of the impetus people may have for going to SF MoMA (the alternative, I suppose, to this is that it encourages other photographers to try and take good shots at that location)?

    I would imagine that taking a collaborative approach with these venues, and trying to work with them to establish a good photography policy would be a sound way to go with this. Finding that balance between giving the artists/museums what they want and what the audience/photographers want seems more productive than the open war that is going on between record labels and music fans.

    TPB, Esq.
    http://unbillablehours.typepad.com
    tpb3jd at att.net

  9. Anonymous says:

    Addition to the “Bad Guys” list – we were yelled at in the Camper store in downtown San Francisco. You gotta love a store for a cool/hip brand that has their cool/hip employees act like 3rd grade teachers…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Being a photographer, I am obviously opposed to draconian camera policies.

    On the other hand, I often find myself annoyed at concerts (especially the quiet ones) by impolite shutterbugs, with beeping blinking flashing digicams, shooting pictures the whole freaking time and generally attracting attention to themselves.

    If (certain) photographers could learn some etiquette and be a lot more subtle, there would be much less of a problem, and it would be that much easier to convince the ‘hard-noses’ to lighten up.

    Personally, I rarely have a problem photographing anywhere I want, mainly because I keep a low profile by:

    – not using a flash

    – turning all beeping sounds off (and not using a reflex camera in quiet situations)

    – shielding the LCD screen with my hand, or turning it off entirely in dark situations

    – not prancing around in front of everybody

    – keeping the camera in my pocket when not in use, and close to my body when shooting

    – only photographing people with their permission (where applicable and feasible), and asking further permission to publish the image if I think it might be an issue.

    – etc. Generally, if they don’t know you’re there, and don’t know you’re taking a picture, you’re not going to have a problem…

    adrienatboringdotch

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit that I’m not at all comfortable with having my picture taken – and tend to find the constant clicking of the touristy photographer vastly annoying. In an art gallery, where I’m hoping to spend quiet time contemplating the exhibit, constant -click-buzz-rewind-click- is profoundly annoying.

    For somewhere like SF-MOMA, I’m not opposed to their having a clearly stated “no camera” policy. On the other hand, I’d like to see virtual exhibits made highly available, and quality photos be readily (and cheaply) procureable.

    IMHO there’s a vast difference between the competent and respectful amateur or professional photographer, and the general public. Unfortunately the masses tend to be as smart as their lowest common denominator – which isn’t very. That group can’t figure out how to turn off their flash, never mind not being able to use an auto-focusing camera successfully.

    Contradicting myself, in public places like transit stations, malls and the like, it seems counter-productive to try to enforce a ban on photography, especially since it doesn’t seem likely to cause any harm to the surroundings. I -do- think that it’s good manners to ask people before taking their photo, especially if they’re clearly identifiable in the photo, and you plan to distribute the photo in question.

  12. Anonymous says:

    slim’s should be in the good category…every time i’ve been there it’s been a good experience. i was even allowed to sit on the side of the stage when i was there on crutches. (i hopped up there, a staff member started walking over to tell me to get off, saw the crutches and changed his mind. i sat up there the whole show, shooting pics to my heart’s content.)

    7-11 could be added to the bad list…i’ve been told that there’s a “company policy” against picture taking inside the store. i’ve only had a problem one time, but that was the only time the clerk actually saw me taking photos. i asked if it was his rule, and he said that the head office was responsible for that policy, so it should be the same in every 7-11. i’d be interested to hear if anybody else has had the same experience…(my bad experience was at the 7-11 on the corner of benton and alameda in santa clara, ca)

    -johnATgnomarDOTcom

  13. blackdaisies says:

    I don’t know if the rules are the same there but I was kicked out of Ikea and they have a strict ‘no camera’ rule at the store here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Most of the clubs and bars also have no camera policies and I can’t shoot unless I know and have permission from the band. Its very frustrating! Especially when I recently noticed that a police monitoring camera had been put up in the street on a certain populated whyte avenue – guess no-one call yell at me for photographing on that particular avenue though 😉

  14. Carl Parkes says:

    The SFMOMA has a website at http://www.sfmoma.org where you will find digital images of nearly their entire art collection. No need to haul your camera into the museum if you only want a copy of some of their art. I think that if you are on some special assignment, you can clear this with the museum in advance with no problems. They just can’t be bothered with dozens of photographers taking photos without adequate advance explanation. So this doesn’t seem unfair to me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if you’re willing to expand this list across the pond, but the London Underground (aka the Tube) has a strange policy of not allowing any flash photography anywhere within it’s system. I assume non-flash photography is ok, but never saw that explicitly stated. Those funny English.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You may want to reclassify the Asian Art Museum. It’s “Photographs taken in the museum may not be sold, reproduced or distributed without written permission from the Museum.” rule would directly contradict your stated desire that these photographs be made available online in photoblogs. If you have to write for permission to be allowed to post to your photoblog, your photogblog isn’t really yours.

  17. Paul says:

    Fillmore doesn’t allow cameras. They made me coat check my D70. They said “non-professional” cameras were allowed, but made by friend coat check her pocket-sized digicam as well.

    Warfield: they’ve allowed my Canon PowerShot G2 in a couple times. Haven’t tried with my new D70.

    HP Pavilion (SJ arena) made me coat check my G2 for the Sarah McLachlan show. I had my ticket checked by five ushers with it around my shoulder in plain site; I wasn’t stopped until I got to the last usher at my seat. (Of course, some folks still managed to sneak cameras in … and use flash. Yuck.)

    Also allowing cameras:
    Cafe du Nord
    Red Devil Lounge
    thee parkside
    Hotel Utah
    Great American Music Hall
    Sweetwater (Mill Valley)
    Starry Plough (Berkeley)
    Cafecito (San Jose)

  18. Paul says:

    Allowing cameras:
    The Independent
    The Canvas Cafe & Gallery
    Hotel Cafe (LA)
    Twiggs (SD)
    Casbah (SD)
    Belly Up (SD)
    Stanford Coffee House (Palo Alto)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Quit whining! ‘Oh, pity poor me, I can’t annoy people and take away their privacy with my obssession to DOCUMENT EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF MY INSIGNIFICANT LIFE!!’ Get over it….

  20. Jon says:

    I bring my camera everywhere; I’m told to put it away several times a day. There are a few places that go beyond that–not only can you not take pictures, but they’ll throw you out if you have a camera!

    THE APPLE STORE is the worst of the worst. I’ve had demands to show the contents of my card, I’ve been harrassed for loitering outside the store (in a public pasadena street) with a camera, and the mean time before entering and being thrown out is about 5 minutes.

    For a company with their public image and that actively markets to photographers, it’s disappointing.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Bring a camera into any store in Chinatown that sells meat or produce, and you will be yelled at and/or kicked out!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I tried to take a photo of a Jean Dubuffet sculpture outside of the Chase Manhattan building near Wall St. I was actually approached by a woman who demanded to take my photo and have me fill in my name and address on a form. I cannot understand how that can be any real deterrent to terrorism. Just an effort in freaking people out.

  23. Thomas Hawk says:

    Friskodude said:

    “The SFMOMA has a website at http://www.sfmoma.org where you will find digital images of nearly their entire art collection. No need to haul your camera into the museum if you only want a copy of some of their art. I think that if you are on some special assignment, you can clear this with the museum in advance with no problems. They just can’t be bothered with dozens of photographers taking photos without adequate advance explanation. So this doesn’t seem unfair to me.”

    Response:

    Actually the website for the MOMA does have images of some of their pieces but it is by no means complete. Further, the images are generally not high resolution and of limited quality when blown up full screen to look at in larger format. These images are small images and not that very well displayed.

    Photographers should not need to get “cleared” by the MOMA prior to photographing in the galleries. This smells as discriminatory practice at best. Who at the MOMA determines who can photograph and who cannot? If I’m a big donor then am I allowed to bring my camera in? And what criteria is used? If they can’t be bothered they could at least declare one day a month camera friendly and allow photographers in on this day. No, the issue with the MOMA has nothing to do with this and everything to do with control. The MOMA has an obsessive control issue over their collection and this is contrary — very contrary — to what a public museum should be about.

    Thanks for commenting on the article.

    Tom

  24. Anonymous says:

    Samovar in San Francisco: has a very nicely designed interior. There is a niche against one wall with a buddha statue in it, and a woman was sitting in virtually the same position – would have been a great shot had the manager not stepped in. They do not allow any photography of their interior. I cannot see any justification in this (permission of the subject being a separate issue). Although I much prefer an independently owned business I won’t go back and support someone so uptight. How can this possibly take away from their business?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I don’t particularly like having my photo taken, so I actually quite like to give my trade to establishments where there aren’t cameras. I suspect there are others like me and that this may be part of the reason for no-camera policies.

  26. Joel says:

    Re: London Underground and flash – it’s banned as it has been known to distract drivers. Perhaps they then miss the platform? 😉 Otherwise, photography is permitted.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Anyone in the retail trade is usually very paranoid about photography. I’ve yet to hear a good reason why. I can’t imagine Retailer B ‘stealing’ Retailer A’s floor layout, or displays, nor can I imagine a photo ban preventing such from happening.

    Anyone seriously pursuing some sort of spying would use equipment that’s near impossible to detect, so regular folk with consumer gear should by definition be harmless. My theory is the ‘rules are rules, that’s why we have rules!’ syndrome.

    I talked with one retail type about the rationale, and concern about knockoff products was mentioned, but this doesn’t fly either – there are pics on their Web site, or the suspect could just buy the item they plan to copy.

    Funny that someone should mention the Apple Store, I’ve been in the SF store, and upstairs they have several Web-surfing iMacs – every one of which has an iSight cam attached. Demo machines showing iPhoto and iMovie usually have appropriate cameras attached. Apparently pics are OK if you use their equipment!

    So, ask for a demo, play dumb, take a few shots with their gear, and during the spiel, email the shots to yourself… For bonus points: ‘Oh, can I see what this looks like on that color printer?’ 🙂

  28. Anonymous says:

    I think that most no-camera policies are actually more for protection against litigation (frivolous or otherwise).
    If by any chance you happen to take a picture of an unsuspecting Starbuck employee that is mindlessly, say, scratching his nose while preparing a coffee, you could conceivably create an annoying situation for the store. Imagine if you took a picture of a coke spilled on the floor of IKEA that a screams “slip and break your leg” to an unscrupulous lawyer, or that you take a picture of any employee mishandling anything that could be construed as basis for litigation.

    I think this explains a lot of semi-official (non-written) no-camera rules, although it still doesn’t explain, for example,why I have been kicked out of the parking lot at Best Buy in Potrero Hill after snapping 4 shots of their storefront from a 1/4 mile away.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Over here in New Jersey, just about all mass transit areas are off limits. I repeated get told by NJ Transit that I cannot take photographs. The nice ones tell me that I can obtain a 24 hour permit to photograph. As yet I have not tried that- as usually the reason for taking a shot at a station is a spur of the moment thing.

    Being that I love taking long exposure night shots, I am continually trying to set up, shoot and get out ASAP, as ever since 9/11 everyone seems to be on edge. I can’t possibly think of how many shots I have passed up because it may appear to be some sort of suspicious activity.

    Scott
    http://phototeria.diaryland.com

  30. Anonymous says:

    You can add the San Francisco Municipal Transit system to your list of bad folks. Just a half hour ago I got yelled at by two Muni station agents for taking pictures “of the platform”. Apparently it is a “security violation” whatever the hell that means.

    I was taking photos of the Jet Blue ads in the Embarcadero station, clearly pointing my camera at the ads themselves. I even showed my pix to a couple of security guards who were on their break (and could not have cared less), but the station agents were particularly rabid about it. They even came out of their little booths to yell at me.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The Grand Coulee Dam (Washington) internals are off limits for cameras… no cameras of any kind are allowed during the dam tour. Camera restrictions weren’t in place until the 9/11 thing, but they might not let anyone photograph the internals ever again. It’s very dumb… if someone wants to destroy the dam they can destroy it just as easily without a picture of the insides. Oh well, that’s life in a free country for you.

  32. John Sinton says:

    I was trying to take a picture of myself inside a Shoppers Food Warehouse store here in Adelphi, Maryland. I have a fiance in Vietnam, so I was trying to take pics to show her how wonderful the stores are in America, and the glories of “freedom”, etc. I got the nasty treatment from a security guard who obviously needed more training. I don’t think they have any policy at all, other than being paranoid about somebody taking pics of their lousy produce or rancid meats. The security guy said something about “talking to me man to man” and “going around taking bulls**t pictures.” I think I’m gonna move to Vietnam now, to be free. Osama won beyond his wildest dreams, didn’t he…

    I can see the Washington Metro (WAMTA) being paranoid because there has been numerous terrorist threats against it, but the service and policies still stink. No-camera policies are what you do in oppressive totaltarian countries, not in the good ole USA. America is a “free” country…? Think again!

  33. John says:

    I realize this is an old post but did anyone clarify if photography with a “professional” camera (whatever that means) is allowed or not at Oakland Arena at a Warriors game? I have a Canon 20d with a grip and wanted to bring a lens or two.

  34. siutou_amy says:

    Wow~ Extensive article. I’m also an avid photographer…

    I’ve got a nikon d70s, and I took it to a concert at Pacific Coliseum (The Killers) in Vancouver, BC. And had no problems getting in with it.

    A while later, I took the nikon to a small concert at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver too (The Futureheads) and I got to take pictures of the opening act, but right in the middle of it, I got asked to take my camera with the coats because ‘professional cameras’ weren’t allowed in. I tried telling them it was not technically professional, but a semi only! Besides, they didn’t tell me anything at all when they saw me getting in… I was kinda pissed about it. Now I’m just disappointed~~

    There’s a Bjork concert coming, and I wonder if I will be able to take my nikon, or I will have to borrow a smaller camera from someone else… or if I will be able to use the camera. The concert will be held in Latin America…

  35. Steve Hunter says:

    NY MOMA: flashless photography allowed in all permanent collection galleries. The provincial me toos (hello, SF) should suck it up and follow NY MOMA’s lead.

  36. Found this post via Google — I was recently asked not to take any more photos of the order counter at an In-N-Out Burger. The photo I did take is here.
    The employee initially claimed that the company doesn’t allow photos of the “menu board”.

  37. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.