One type of photography I would love to try is street photography. I love capturing random moments from people on the street; I think it’s one of the most honest types of photography there is. However, it’s rare that I have the courage to approach somebody for a picture or snap one of strangers down the street. This is why the following video hit so close to home. In it, a photographer deals with what he claims is blatant discrimination:
In the video, Jason Lanier encounters an official essentially banning him from shooting on a public scene. The official reason cited? A lack of permit and insurance issued by the local authorities. Even though the location is public property, a place where you can freely walk around, photography is not allowed with a professional camera. The issue lies, as Lanier puts it, in the fact that anybody can take pictures with cell phones or other “non-professional” cameras. But professional photographers are bound to a lengthy, expensive process just to be allowed the same rights as anybody else. (Via PetaPixel.)
Later on in the video, a park ranger approaches the group taking photos and also asks them to provide a permit for shooting in that area, saying,
“When you start setting up more than just a tripod and a camera, we get into the realm where we want people to have commercial permits.”
Which is understandable, but only if you are making money off of the shoot. If it’s non-profit (Lanier says it’s just a Meetup group on an outing), why do the same rules apply for professional equipment?
In the interest of fairness, let’s examine the other side of the issue.
Many professional photographers might deny that they’re shooting with commercial intent. In that case, a professional photographer’s permit not only makes sense, but it’s the right approach. That being said, I would like to see a more nuanced solution that doesn’t lump together professional photographers shooting commercially with amateurs that have professional equipment.
What’s your take on this? Have you ever had a similar incident? Let us know in the comments!
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