Like Son, Like Father – Photographer’s (Lack of) Rights


Over the weekend, my dad called me with a story I was surprised by.  He too had his rights questioned while photographing something.  I didn’t “set him up” for this, but I did ask him to write it up, so here it is, a guest post by my father…

I am Joe’s Dad, and just like him, security personnel told me not to photograph a Bayonne historical landmark.

Here are some of my activities:

I would say that I am recording Bayonne for future historians.

Now to the incident.   Last Sunday (February 8, 2009) Joe, Katherine, and I returned from the Second Sunday Camera Show. We drove around Bayonne. In our wanderings, we came upon two trailers used as luncheonettes, Nick’s Lunch & Nick’s East Lunch. The day was not good for photography so we decided to wait for better weather.

Today (February 15,2009), I went out to do some chores and took my camera with me. I finished my chores and drove to Nick’s East Lunch. I parked my car by the side of the road, took out my camera and tripod, and set them up. I composed my shot and set the parameters, and took a picture. An IMTT pick-up truck drove up and the driver told me I could not take photos where I was.  I explained, “I am on a public road and can take photos of anything.” As he disagreed with me, a second IMTT pick-up truck labeled “Security” arrived. This driver also said I could not take any photos from where I stood.   I explained to him that I am on a public street and not trespassing. He replied that he would call the police and let them explain the Homeland Security situation to me.   I packed up my stuff and left.  Here is what IMTT feared:

Nick's East Lunch - a lunch trailer
Notice the “N” in NICK’S is different from the “N” in LUNCH.

It is sad when the various governments side with big business rather than citizens.   If the surroundings are that sensitive to national security, erect barriers to the public view (like they did during WWII) rather than trample the rights of citizens.

Carl Hoetzl

I’ll post my thoughts on this one a bit later…