Anthony Citrano decided to do some high ISO night shooting Friday Night on the Santa Monica Pier but quickly found himself in a confrontation with your friendly neighborhood photo police. According to Anthony, a confusing interchange took place between him and the photocops between what he could and couldn’t shoot on the Pier even though he was clearly shooting for personal non-commercial use.
“He then led me a short distance to a second security guy who explained that it’s OK to take pictures of “people, etc.” but I could not take pictures of park “things.” He described it as “private property” and “you see, everything you photograph in this park, it’s copyrighted.” I replied, “yes, copyrighted by the photographer.”
He seemed confused by that. So I asked, “is it a question of the subject matter of the photograph? that’s the basis of the policy?” Yes, he said, that’s the policy. “Otherwise, you need to sign a waiver and show ID.”
I asked how they determine what I’m photographing. Do you review the photos? “For instance, your colleague said it was `family’; how do you know who my family is?”
He did not have an answer for that, so decided instead to move on to a new line of reasoning. He said that “if it’s for commercial use” I would need to sign. Then – acting quite relieved – I said, “oh cool, then, because this isn’t for commercial use. So, can I go take some shots?” But still he said no, that I would need to sign the waiver if I wanted to take pictures of “park property.” I was confused, and told him so: You just said that the waiver was required if the images were for “commercial use”. They are most definitely not for commercial use. So why do I need to show ID and sign a document?”
Remember kids, stay in school, do what adults tell you. Cameras don’t kill people, people kill people.
Photography is not a crime.
Update: The L.A. Weekly has picked up on this story and is running a post on it as well right now.