You’ve Got to Fight, For Your Right… to Take Photos of Your Own Kid at a Public Ice Skating Rink?
The Record – NYCLU threatens to sue city over new photo policy The Troy Record is reporting this morning that a public ice skating rink in Troy, New York has banned photography at the rink. The NYCLU is threatening to sue the City over the policy which is apparently designed to prevent pedophiles from photographing kids.
Although photography is banned, apparently individuals can seek permission from the Recreation Director George Rogers.
“”As long as they are videotaping their kid I have absolutely no problem and I have given permission to parents and coaches,” he said. “We are not going to let them be photographed or videotaped by anyone who comes along and wants to take their picture.”"
One parent, Jean Hetman, however is alleging that she is being discriminated against by being disallowed to photograph.
“Melanie Trimble, NYCLU executive director, said the rink is a public place and Hetman is within her rights to photograph children skating. Furthermore, she said the policy, although unnecessary and probably illegal, is not being applied fairly because Recreation Director George Rogers twice denied Hetman permission while granting other parents permission to do the same thing.
“His reasons for denial were neither based upon imminent danger, danger of pedophiles, unwillingness to present identification nor any other legitimate reason for denial,” she said. “His denials are both capricious and arbitrary.”
It would seem to me that this George Rogers character seems to have a bit of a Napoleon complex. Certainly as a parent I can understand not wanting to have photos of your child taken by pedophiles. But the alternative of trying to ban photography anywhere that kids are present is ludicrous.
Personally I shoot at ice skating rinks all the time. I’ve gotten some really great shots. Touching moments of parents and kids and just kids doing what they do best, reveling in the beauty of life in all that is innocent. It would be a shame for fear of pedophiles that public areas turn into hostile no photography zones.
Certainly as a photographer I am sensitive to the subject of shooting other’s children. I take far fewer shots of kids and many are with the child taking more of an unidentifiable and anonymous role in the photos. Still every so often you find a shot that speaks volumes about life and the role that children play in it. San Francisco magazine will be publishing one example of a shot like this of mine in the next issue of their magazine. It is a photograph of a little girl, sitting on her father’s shoulders during the immigrant march in San Francisco on May 1st. It would be a shame to lose the power of images like this.
It is wrong for a public recreation facility in Troy, New York to disallow photography. It is wrong for a power hungry Executive Director to arbitrarily choose who should be able to shoot and who should not. Restricting photography in public spaces is a bad precedent to set. I hope that this ban is challenged and this restriction is proven illegal.
If I lived in Troy, New York, you can bet you’d know where I’d be with my camera this weekend. If you are near Troy New York, perhaps it is time to challenge this capricious ban on photographers and assault on photographers rights. Since I’m not in Troy, New York though I’ll just put a link here for you of a collection of some of my shots from ice skating rinks. That handsome guy with the red gloves is my son Jackson.