Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chalk Drawing Crucifix-Photographer's Rights

I took this photo in front of a church on the southwest side of Chicago last fall. I had gone there to shoot photos of the rides at a parking lot carnival, but a guy walking around with a camera at a place where children congregate was too much for the college-age security team to bear. At one point I spoke with the pastor of the church, and showed him images I had shot with the digital camera so he could see I wasn't interested in photographing children. He gave me permission to shoot at the carnival, but the 'security' still tailed me so closely that I got uncomfortable and left. On my way back to the car, I spotted this chalk drawing a child had done on the sidewalk in front of the church, and snapped a photo of it. It's more interesting than the shots I made at the carnival. I like how it's kind of charming and funny (and maybe a little creepy) at the same time.

I've heard several accounts recently of people getting harassed for taking legal photos in public places (a student of a colleague of mine was stopped by Homeland Security for shooting a photo of an oil refinery). Here's a short article on the legal rights of photographers. Not surprisingly, you have the right to shoot almost anything you want. There's some useful links at the bottom of the article, be sure to check them out.

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