2010: The Photography is Not a Crime Year in Review
Happy New Year! 2010 was a very productive and successful year for Photography is Not a Crime, where it was named the Best Overall Blog in South Florida in a newspaper contest, mentioned in several national news articles and segments about photographers’ rights and incorporated into a new photo site owned by Barnes and Nobles.
For better or worse, it appears that PINAC has gone mainstream.
I wouldn’t go that far. But people are definitely paying attention. And the mainstream media is finally realizing that non-journalists have as much right to take photos in public as journalists.
And to top things off, I managed to get through the year without getting arrested, although there were a few close calls.
The main lesson I carried into 2010 is that it’s all about video.
The two times I was arrested (in 2007 and in 2009) was when I was shooting still photography. Video cameras seem to make cops think twice about doing anything stupid.
And now that they have become so affordable, I can’t stress the importance of carrying a video camera in your pocket where ever you go, especially if you’re out shooting stills.
I was fresh won winning my appeal in my first arrest for taking photos of cops, but I had to deal with a second arrest for taking photos of cops, which took a positive turn when the original judge whom I had just beaten in my appeal was forced to recuse himself for my second trial.
In Georgia, some libertarians proved to be not so liberty-minded when Ron Paul campaign workers ordered a videographer to stop filming an altercation between Ron Paul staff and an anti-Semitic man who was trying to crash one of their functions.
Charges of resisting arrest without violence were dismissed against me when Miami Beach Police Officer David Socarras failed to show up to trial for the second time in a row, even though Miami Beach makes it mandatory for their officers to show up to trial.
Meanwhile, I visited New York and stayed with a buddy in New Jersey, where a state transit guard told me I was not allowed to take pictures in the parking lot of a train station because it was “private property.”
PINAC received a cease and desist letter from some journalist in Vermont who tried to pass himself off as a lawyer if I didn’t remove a photo by a certain time. As a journalist who has also has passed himself as a lawyer during my victorious appeal, I took him up on his challenge by allowing his deadline to pass (by 24 hours) before removing the photo.