Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value'

from the police-as-art-critics dept

Apparently the police in Long Beach, California, have a policy that says if a police officer determines that a photographer is taking photos of something with “no apparent esthetic value,” they can detain them. This revelation came after photographer Sander Roscoe Wolff was taking the following photo:

The police officer somehow determined that there couldn’t be esthetic value there, and thus, the photographer had to be detained and checked out. The police are defending this policy, saying that while officers don’t have any specific training in what qualifies as “apparent esthetic value,” they will stop anyone photographing things they don’t consider to be something a “regular tourist” would photograph. I actually have to go down to Long Beach next month for a speaking engagement, and I’m now tempted to take a bunch of photographs that have “no apparent esthetic value.”

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Comments on “Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value'”

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angry dudesays:

Re: Re: Re:

Stop using my fucking name on this shitty little internet blog. What is wrong with you people?

There is no aesthetic value in that shit. Just because some dumbass thinks he or she is a photographer does not make it so.

Don’t buy into Mike’s anti-police rhetoric.

This country is going straight to hell…


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s no way it’s really you. It can’t be. That would mean you not only constantly google yourself, but that you’re constantly googling your handle “Angry Dude” – the most generic phrase ever. How many sites must you have to look through every day that might be calling you out but instead are just using your name in its generic form I can only guess. There can’t possibly be someone in the world who’s that obsessive compulsive.

But in the off-chance you are the real angry dude…can I have your autograph? ;D

angry dudesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You people need to get your folks straight. I am the one who calls Mike out when he says fucked up things because he’s shilling for big companies with his patent reform dreck. Thompson was the guy that called him little mikee. I remember the guy that you are talking about but can’t think of his handle right now. His were mostly incomprehensible rants that didn’t make enough sense to agree with or refute.


My friends and I got a ticket for loitering by asking a police officer if a park was closed or not (the sign was not lit up and couldn’t be read in the dark). It is scary to think you can’t even ask a question in this day and age without having to go to court to state your case. What crap.

So far, my friend’s who were with us were in a separate car and written up by separate officers, with that their court date was before ours. Theirs were dropped but think of the waste of time on their part to go through all this. Our court date is tomorrow and the charges better be dropped.



This reminds me a bit of the new “chat-downs” being performed by the TSA where they use “behavioral profiling” to determine if someone is acting suspicious.


In both cases, the authorities are using a person’s observed behavior rather than (or in addition to) some kind of intrusive scan or physical pat down. The key differences though is that the police don’t have any formal training on esthetic value and they’re doing this in public (rather than the relatively constrained environment of air travel.)

I can see where you’d want to have the police look for suspicious behavior, but at least give them some formal training. And don’t base it solely on the individual’s idea of “esthetic value”. That’s just asking for trouble.


I’m actually ok with this, after I followed the link and read the story.

He wasn’t detained as in arrested or taken to the station. He was “detained” as in the cop asked him what he was doing and if he had ID.

And it wasn’t obvious from the picture (at least not to me), but what he was doing was taking pictures of an oil refinery.

If he had been actually arrested or harassed by being taken into the station or having his gear confiscated, that’d be one thing.

But IMHO, a cop asking what you are doing in this case is the equivalent of hitting a road check on a friday night. They ask a question, and off you go.



Yeah, he was asked a few questions and asked to show ID then was let go. He wasn’t arrested nor had his equipment taken. Taking pictures of refineries is a little odd, so some minor investigation by police IMO is fine.

If police see something out of the ordinary, they should ask questions. Although the story differs somewhat, it doesn’t appear as though the officer acted inappropriately towards the photographer.


Re: Re:

If police see something out of the ordinary, they should ask questions.

?$1M Lawsuit Accuses Three Davie Cops of Brutality?, NBC Miami, Aug 14, 2011:

Battery and resisting arrest charges against Matthew Lawson were deemed unlawful by the state


[Beating victim] was initally charged with battery on an officer and resisting arrest with violence after the officers questioned him while he walked down the street and he did not stop.

But the Broward State Attorney’s office dismissed the charges, ruling that a person “cannot resist with violence an unlawful arrest” and there was “no reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity on the part of the defendant to justify a stop and detention of the defendant.”

:Lobo Santosays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Ordinary” is a word whose definition fluctuates wildly, just like “morality” it is something only loosely defined as something that everybody agrees upon, more or less, kinda sorta.

So, if our police state makes it very uncomfortable and abnormal to walk down the street, then anybody walking down the street could be considered to be doing “something out of the ordinary.”

Re: its ok

Anon Coward:
What the cop did is somewhat reasonable, but the fact that they have the authority to detain someone because it’s not obvious what they are doing is seriously wrong BS.
This country offers the liberty to everyone to do what they want, provided that it does not harm another. The police are within their duties to investigate anything, but have no right to stop or detain anyone because they (public) are not doing what ‘the norm’ would do.
This goes with the pretext that ‘it’s the cops against the world’, and ‘everyone is guilty, you just have to look hard enough’.


Re: Re: its ok

I agree, the problem is that (I believe) the guy could not have just gotten in his car and left if he didn’t want to answer the cop’s questions. Walking away from a police officer has become probable cause sufficient for arrest.

They should be able to talk to anyone they want, but should not be able to impair anyone’s liberty without real, specific, and reasonable suspicion of something illegal going on. And someone not wanting to talk to cops doesn’t qualify.


Re: Re:

Who decides what is “out of the ordinary?” Taking a picture of anything someone can see from a public place is not strange, if the person had attempted to break into the refinery then stop and question/arrest. If a personis not breaking a law, leave them alone and go after those who are breaking the law. “Police should be after thieves, rapists, murderers etc, not photo bugs.

Almost Anonymoussays:


“””I’m actually ok with this, after I followed the link and read the story.”””

Then you are part of the problem. Nobody should be ok with this. There are effective ways to protect strategic assets. Harassing people for taking pictures of them is not effective, and frankly only serves to draw more attention to an asset’s perceived value.

“””They ask a question, and off you go.”””

So, taking the example a little further: You would have no problem with a strip search before boarding a plane flight; after all, it’s just a quick lookie-loo, and then off you go.


Re: Re:

Asking questions is not the same as harassing.

There is nothing wrong with a cop (gasp!) talking to you. Moreover, the headling of this article and the linked article is misleading, in that the department statements says that detainment might only occur based on further facts/circumstances, not simply taking photos without apparent aesthetic value.


Re: Re: Re:

Legally harassment is defined as behavior that is threatening or disturbing and perhaps I’m in the minority but when a cop stops me to question my behavior I feel that’s threatening. What implication am I supposed to draw from being singled out by law enforcement like that if not “You are being detained. Now answer these questions wrong and I’ll arrest you.” Especially considering that’s exactly what happened, the photographer was harassed and detained.


Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Legally harassment is defined as behavior that is threatening or disturbing”


Anyway, it is my opinion that feeling threatened by a cop simply asking you some questions, is unreasonably thin-skinned.

Actually detaining you (i.e., you are not free to leave) is another matter. Did this particular photographer actually get detained? Or just asked some questions?


Asked questions or detained?

Assume he had chosen to leave without answering the officers questions, do you think it would have been allowed? If not, then by your definition he was detained, right?

What about if he decided to leave quickly (ie, run)? I bet his detainment would have included cuffs and bruised knees.


Re: Asked questions or detained?

“Assume he had chosen to leave without answering the officers questions, do you think it would have been allowed?”

Given the police department’s statement on this matter, yes, although I’m sure that would depend on all the circumstances of his departure.

At any rate, I don’t see the value in creating a hypothetical scenario not based on these facts to get worked up about.

John Fendersonsays:


Being detained isn’t just being asked a few questions by the police. Being asked questions by the police is just that — being asked questions. No rights have been abridged.

It’s not at the level of being arrested, but being detained is a (very mild) kind of incarceration in that you are not allowed to leave. In other words, your rights are being abridged. This should not be done without a very good reason, and simply taking pictures you are legally allowed to take (regardless of artistic merit) doesn’t even come close to being a good enough reason, in my opinion.



I’m actually ok with this, after I followed the link and read the story.

Oh, I totally agree.

He wasn’t detained as in arrested or taken to the station. He was “detained” as in the cop asked him what he was doing and if he had ID.

He was lucky that’s all he got. I mean, did you see that photo?

If he had been actually arrested or harassed by being taken into the station or having his gear confiscated, that’d be one thing.

That’s what trials are for. If he wasn’t doing anything wrong, then he would eventually get out and get his stuff back. It’s not like the cops are just walking down the street shooting people for taking pictures, now is it? So what’s the problem? This story is just another example of the Masnick whipping the freetards here into a frenzy over nothing.


Re: Re: Re:

Laws may vary by jurisdiction, but my understanding is of course you don’t have to have ID with you, but you must identify yourself when asked by police, even if verbally. The problem is, how would police react if you simply decline to present your identification (but tell them your name)? My hunch is they would arrest you, even if what you did isn’t illegal.



You don’t see how this makes everyone LESS secure, do you? No…I guess you don’t. Let me explain part of it to you, if I can manage to talk down to your level. I’ll leave the rest to someone with more patience for the slow learners.

First, police are already, PER POLICE, overworked. Every minute spent harrassing photographers is a minute not spent doing something useful that might, you know, actually stop or solve a crime.

Second, photographers will simply work around them if necessary. They’ll learn to come back when police aren’t there or use concealed cameras or whatever. (Note carefully: the actual real live terrorist photographers have already learned this, so they are very unlikely to even be notice by the idiots who constitute nearly all police forces.)

Third, harrassing photographers who are allegedly taking pictures of possible targets is really a very nice assist to the terrorists, as it provides them with actionable intelligence. Even the dim-witted should be able to reason out in about 30 seconds how this can be both passively and actively exploited to generate a prioritized list.

Fourth, this practice suggests an excellent way to draw police attention away from the OTHER guy, who is either taking the photos that matter or doing something more kinetic involving the target.

There’s more — a lot more — but I doubt any of it will penetrate the thick skulls of the morons who support this latest stupidity, so I’m disinclined to continue. Anyone else who would like to attempt educating the feeble-minded is welcome to try.

Mike Lsays:

Re: Joel

Diagree, Joel. Giving cops the license to bother anyone with a camera is unacceptable. If someone is simply taking photos of a public area, there’s not a sufficient likelihood that detaining them will uncover illegal activity. Cops have every right to attempt to talk to a photographer, and to look for illegal activity, as they do with anyone else. But they should have no right to detain a photographer (which I presume means that you’re required to show ID, but I’d like clarification on this) merely for taking photos.



Legally, a police detention has occurred when “a reasonable individual” in that circumstance would be believe he or she is not free to leave. That means stopping someone on the street and not informing them of their ability to leave, even when asked, constitutes detainment. So he was not “detained” he was detained. That’s what happened. That’s what the word means.

I love that you use road checks as an example to back up your argument given that several states have ruled them unconstitutional.


Re: Re:

… a police detention has occurred when “a reasonable individual” in that circumstance would be believe he or she is not free to leave.

Fourth Amendment Blog:

Defendant ordered out of his car was not seized when he was ?asked? to get out of his car and provide ID. He was still free to leave. [Oh, really?] United States v. Hernandez-Sanchez (W.D. N.C. August 4, 2011)

In the circumstances presented here, the court cannot conclude that defendant was ?seized? when Agent Padian parked behind him or when he was asked to exit his vehicle and provide his identification. At that time, there was only one unmarked police vehicle and two plainclothes officers present on the large lot. Neither officer had his service weapon visible, and Agent Padian did not activate his blue lights when pulling into the lot. There is no indication that Agent Padian’s interaction with defendant was unpleasant, or that Agent Padian used a brusque or demanding tone of voice, or that he touched or physically detained defendant in any way. Indeed, Agent Padian’s interaction with defendant was quite brief. Finally, there was nothing improper about Agent Padian’s request that defendant step out his parked car and provide identification. See Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501, 103 S. Ct. 1319, 75 L. Ed. 2d 229 (1983) (noting that it is ?no doubt permissible? to ask to see and examine an individual’s driver’s license); cf. Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 110, 98 S. Ct. 330, 54 L. Ed. 2d 331 (1977) (noting the ?inordinate risk confronting an officer as he approaches a person seated in an automobile?). These facts suggest that a reasonable person in defendant’s situation would have felt free to terminate the encounter with Agent Padian at that time.

Without having read the full opinion, just this brief extract, I can only echo the blogger’s reaction:

Oh, really?

Quite often this hypothetical, so-called ?reasonable individual? is insanely fearless, and unreasonably indifferent to reports of police beatings.



How can the police possibly justify demanding ID from a person taking photographs? It just goes to show that the cops these days are NOT there to protect citizens;they are there to find criminals and arrest them. very few cops these days subscribe to any idea that they are there to protect citizens.

Never never trust a cop.


Re: "Detained"

People who are only “Detained” are often handcuffed and searched. If you object you get arrested and charged with resisting arrest and/or disturbing the peace. Cops are just looking for an excuse to harass ordinary citizens. However, then they turn around and wonder why people don’t trust them and, in fact, fear them.



It was none of the cop’s business what he was taking pictures of period. You can argue all you want but there was no cause to even question him….it’s people like you who think well thats not so bad and before you know it we are a police state. Just keep grazing at the trough of supposed protection that the “leaders” and law enforcement keep telling you. It’s about time that people stopped putting up with this and start fighting back..no man has authority over another man and a badge and a gun doesnt change that.


fashion photography

‘I actually have to go down to Long Beach next month for a speaking engagement, and I’m now tempted to take a bunch of photographs that have “no apparent esthetic value.”‘

Is the weather unseasonable for sunglasses and a trench coat? They say a burnouse is very comfortable in the heat. I suppose it all depends on your choice of facial hair.

Bob Blacksays:

Re: Re: Empty rhetoric on both sides

I’m pointing out that his last statement (“gosh gee whillikerz, I think maybe I, Mike Masnick, might express my displeasure with this reasoning by going out and committing an act of civil disobedience”) is merely empty rhetoric, just like the police chief’s.

If you can’t understand that then, well, do us all a favour and avoid reproducing. For the children!


Re: Re: Re: Empty rhetoric on both sides

Your intent was to troll, we all know that.

WysiWyg’s point was that even though you are an immature, empty-headed idiot, you managed to make an inadvertent point that EXACTLY ECHOES MIKE’S.

But, continue on in ignorance, please; you seem to be better at making points that way anyway (and it’s very entertaining to boot).

Almost Anonymoussays:

I tried

I really did try to come up with a profound, useful comment, but the only thing that keeps running through my mind is:

HOLY SHIT, WTF, HOLY SHIT, WTF… well, you get the idea. Police are now tasked with deciding what may or may not be considered art? Correct me if I’m wrong, but does that not count as thought control? “Excuse me citizen, but you cannot take a picture of that ashtray, it has no esthetic value. Move along.”

The story seems kind of silly at first, but after a couple moments reflection, this is the scariest thing I’ve read in many moons.


UK does the same thing

WOW, sorry guys, I have to say it again… Drum roll please… you know what’s coming… Police state America!!

This is ANOTHER reason to downsize the police force. A few months after Obama took office he “hired” (provided our tax dollars for) thousands of new police officers in every state saying that, “it would help the economy and unemployment rate”. Just like he tried, unsuccessfully (thank goodness), to spend your and my tax dollars hiring thousands of new IRS agents to “go after tax cheats”.

More cops and more IRS agents, more “border guards”, more Homeland Security agents and on and on.

Unfortunately when you hire all these new Fed, State “security” employees (with our tax dollars) it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of them. How far in debt is America again?

$14.616 TRILLION dollars and counting folks. Police state America. You asked for it.


We’re getting very, very close to being a police state.


Re: UK does the same thing

I still regularly and excessivly speed on the way to and from work every day and average less than 1 ticket a year… I don’t think they hired enough to even maintain safe roads let alone start a ‘police state’ in this country.

The nationwide average ratio of police officers to citizens is still around 300 to 1… I think we are ok


Re: UK does the same thing

We’re getting very, very close to being a police state.

Indeed, the powers that be want a country with the productivity of the US, but the government of China.

However; the problems is that the productivity in the US is due directly to the freedoms. Take those away, and innovation and productivity go with them.


Re: Re: UK does the same thing

Overcast: You wrote, “Take those (freedoms) away, and innovation and productivity go with them.” You are so right. But, I would add what seems to be the intentional implosion of the Western world economy to “reset” the world — so that it will accept global government — as a key factor in our declining productivity and innovation. Europe and the USA are being taken down by design, in my opinion, and the rest of the world will collapse as a result, since all central banks are so interdependent. It will be tumultuous and hence, the heavy-handedness we are seeing today in terms of law enforcement. One would think we’re already under some level of martial law here in the US, considering the over the top responses (sometimes fatal) that we see to behavior that used to be considered a little obnoxious, or suspicious — but not criminal.


Re: Re: Re: UK does the same thing

The UN is behind this globalization. They feel the Western world is ‘not sustainable’ and therefore must live in mud huts or concrete boxes while have only 2 gallons of water daily – period!!!

Look up Regional Planning Assoc (RPA), ICLEI, GreeNR, NYC2030 and other sustainability groups. Children are being taught to be citizens of the world instead of their nation. This green stuff is treasonous!!!!

kill two birds with 1 stone

bring a friend and have him video you taking photographs. When the police question you, have the friend continue to video the incident. With luck, they’ll claim you were wiretapping them and you can go after their photographers policy and the “no videotapeing police” craziness. And while you’re at it, do an open carry thing with an unloaded gun on your belt wearing an NRA t-shirt.

Should be a fun speaking engagement.



I think the “no apparent esthetic value” is a poor choice of words. It’s not like they’ll be judging the photos themselves but deciding based on what it is generally that you are photographing.

I had a cop ask me to delete a photo I’d just taking, claiming that the port of Beaumont is an important strategic site and that if my photo got on the internet it could be used by some terrorist to plan an attack. I deleted it but later regretted doing so and am always thinking about going back their and re-taking it just to piss them off. Then telling them that my camera instantly uploads the photos to the internet so I can only delete it from home.

It just cracks me up imagining some terrorist browsing flickr trying to find his next target. Give me a break.

The Devil's Coachmansays:

Re: Re: Long Beach "Police"

It may not have actually been codified in their “laws”, but they usually made them up on the spot, so if taking a picture was considered a Crime Against The Fatherland by the individual police officer or Gestapo member, they could and probably would simply shoot you dead. It probably won’t be too long before these idiots get that idea, too.


new line to an old joke

“In Heaven…
the French are the cooks
the Germans are the engineers
the British are the police
the Swiss are the managers
the Italians are the lovers

In Hell…
the British are the cooks
the French are the managers
the Italians are the engineers
the Germans are the police
the Swiss are the lovers”

…and the art critics are the Long Beach police.


I don’t use them. Someone steals from me I hurt them. If they damage my property I shoot them, if they are on my property I shoot them. If I’m not home then my dog(s) eat them.
I don’t need the police. I find them to be more of a pain in the ass than a help. I got my car broken into. Do you think the Police care? Hell no!! They told me to go to the website and fill out a form. I got your forms right here (where the sun never shines).
Granny told me when I was young. Some people you can’t trust because they lie for a living. The major ones are Police, Lawyers and Politicians. She said ‘you are stupid and should be shot and put out of your misery if you ever believe anything they do or say.’ She also added Judges to the list, but said that there were actually honest Judges. I’ve yet to find one. Especially in Family Court.

Oh crap.

Does someone get to decide if the cops have any art sense?

I very often don’t take photos of “touristy” things…I take pictures of old buildings, dirt, peeling paint and a variety of other weird and odd things.

Not everything has to have aesthetic value to be of use or have a value to the person taking it.

Wow. Detained…over an urban photo. Sometimes stuff just makes you crazy…this is one of them.


“?If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,? says [Police Chief Jim McDonnell], ?it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.? McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.”

So, both the petapizel.com and techdirt headlines are inaccurate. Simply taking a picture may result in getting asked some questions, but does not automatically justify or result in detention, according the police.



Simply taking a picture may result in getting asked some questions, but does not automatically justify or result in detention, according the police.

Unless, that is, those photos have no apparent aesthetic value in the eyes of the police.

So, both the petapizel.com and techdirt headlines are inaccurate.

The Techidrt headline was accurate. You fail.


I actually have to go down to Long Beach next month for a speaking engagement, and I’m now tempted to take a bunch of photographs that have “no apparent esthetic value.”

But you won’t, because you’re all talk. Just as well as your new roommate would have you pillow-biting within 10 minutes of arrival at the city jail.

The Arbitersays:

Photos and Police

As a retired policeman and Academy instructor, I can tell you that we are not trained to judge the aesthetic qualities of art, beyond our own opinion anyway. This policy is fraught with danger for the dept and the municipality., They WILL get sued over this.

As for the the folks who feel “threatened” when stopped and asked question by police, well, TFB cry babies. As many people have told me what to do with myself when I had actual warrants and so forth and you are whining because you feel “threatened” by an officer asking you a question? Seriously? Grow up. Stamping your feet and holding your breath does not work in the real world. The officer may actually have a reason to ask you a question, or he may be telling you to not go a certain way because a bad guy will pop a cap in your thick head.

You people who scream police state are disgustingly amusing to those folks who have actually lived in a real police state. Go to Russia, or many of the third world nations and act like that.


Re: Photos and Police

“As for the the folks who feel “threatened” when stopped and asked question by police, well, TFB cry babies. As many people have told me what to do with myself when I had actual warrants and so forth and you are whining because you feel “threatened” by an officer asking you a question? Seriously? Grow up. Stamping your feet and holding your breath does not work in the real world. The officer may actually have a reason to ask you a question, or he may be telling you to not go a certain way because a bad guy will pop a cap in your thick head.”

I thought you were actually going to say something cool till this drivel spewed fortheded. I don’t understand your mentality of reverting people who are questioning the questioners on what subject they are being detained for, to crybabies. That’s exactly why we feel threatened because your ilk is never on the beat they are always on the take.

If a stranger walks up we can look at them and go ..umm you care why? If an “officer” walks up to you..detainment..PERIOD. If you shrug and walk off they FREAK out, if you say nope I don’t feel the need to show you my ID, bye. THEY FREAK OUT. QUESTIONS indeed..detainment and your guilty from the take fellow. That’s why we question which is perceived as threatened ..not whine. Open your brain. Or am I just one of those fangled new TEXTBOOK cases of ODD? Rubbish pure rubbish.


Re: Photos and Police

As for the the folks who feel “threatened” when stopped and asked question by police, well, TFB cry babies.

Sounds like you’ve got some kind of chip on your shoulder, there. Why’s that?

…many people have told me what to do with myself when I had actual warrants and so forth…

I see. So, you feel like someone else dissed you, that bruised your ego, and then you felt a need to go take it out on others. Typical. And you were an academy instructor? That sure helps explain a lot of bad cops.

You people who scream police state are disgustingly amusing to those folks who have actually lived in a real police state. Go to Russia, or many of the third world nations and act like that.

And if it were up to people like you, I imagine every place would be a police state. You, sir, are not amusing, although disgusting still applies.


Re: Photos and Police

Your attitude clearly shows you hate ordinary citizens. Since you state you are an academy instructor, it also shows why most cops hate citizens and why people fear the police. Cops used to be there to protect citizens, but now their job is to catch criminals, and if they can’t find enough criminals to meet their arrest quotas, just come up with a reason to arrest innocent people.

I would much rather encounter a mugger than a cop.


Re: Photos and Police

So your a cop eh? You’ve been to Russia? Good take your worthles ass back there then. We are sick of you power abusing punks who think your special because you have a shiny badge. We can monitor you now just like you do us and it kills you and your co-workers. No more beating a man to death for no reason, no more planting drugs, no more wasting tax payer money. You don’t like having that camera pointed back at you do you? We the people are getting tired of you and your Nazi friends….and trust me we out number all of you….so put on your little helment…and your little shiny badge…get your shield and try to act tough.
The people will take this country back one way or another.

The Aesthetics of Authoritarianism

You mean aesthetic? Right.. Whether or not they can spell it or not is one thing. What is certain beyond any doubt is that they can never understand the meaning if a Taser is not part of the equation.

If you really want to blow a cop’s mind, throw the word acetic at them, and watch them hit overload while their puny minds try to breach the subject of control, doughy confections and incarcerations, and the concept of selflessness eats away real-time at their penal-gland. Hell, you could even do it to an educated officer…

Officer: “Sir, put down the camera, and put your
metacarpals upon your cranium immediately.”

Tourist: “WTF? Are you nuts? You mean this one?”

Officer: “Sir, you may exercise your rights of Digitus Impudicus as you wish, but what you may not do is photograph anything of ascetic value.”

Tourist: “But,….it’s just the Virgin Mary,..and this is a public place! Or, did you mean aesthetic?”

Officer: “The latter Sir, my error; You may not photograph anything of aesthetic value.” Begins to think: Wait a minute… Was it with, or without [a]esthetic value??? “Damn!”

Tourist, observing introspection and the difficulties implied: “Officer, have you ever considered the subjective value of aesthetics? I mean, who really can say what has aesthetic value or not? I mean, a pulchritude to you may be an eye-sore to someone with proper taste…It’s like how can anyone imagine steak tartare if they’ve only ever had McDonalds?”

Officer: Begins to shake. “ouurrghh..oooohhh,,,rfghhh,..BrrrRAHHAAAA!!” The officer is later transported to hospital, where his final days are spent on Thorazine as his authoritarian-atrophied mind futilely loops the endless torment of contemplation.

* We have pineal-glands – Cops have penal-glands.

No Asthetic Value?

I know many photographers in my area that are very capable of turning non aesthetic objects into works of beauty. In fact that’s how some of them make a living. I once attended a walking seminar in Washington DC where the instructor really accented the concept of seeking out and photographing things that tourists normally didn’t. I personally find it very fulfilling to hunt out things that most tourists miss and try to turn it into something memorable. This seems like a really offensive privacy invading practice.


Fresh Caustic

That’s a GREAT photo, it looks like an album cover. It almost makes me want to start a rock band and call it ‘Fresh Caustic’ and get the rights to the photo for the band’s debut release!

On that thought, should the photographer who shot all those images of the Battersea Power Station for Pink Floyd ‘Animals’ have been detained?


They Want to Help You -- Stop Resisting Them

Many police officers I know have a degree in fine arts, are avid collectors of beautiful objects of art, and will be glad to help anyone compose an esthetically pleasing photograph, if only you ask them. I think the reason they become so upset — practically reaching for their tasers — when they see amateurs (and professionals who apparently don’t know what they’re doing) is due to their concern about all of the atrocious art that seems to be proliferating in society. I applaud the police for their stand on making the world a more beautiful place. In the future, they’ll be able to read your thoughts (via their acute ability to interpret facial expressions) and will be more than happy to help you with any negativity you might be experiencing. Isn’t it wonderful to live in a free country?

Hakim W. Rashidsays:

Unconstitutional Hustlers best describes Long Beach City Government

One has to pay in Long Beach arraignment Court in order to have a trial; one Must Post Bail— they don’t offer O.R.–for neither traffic violations nor infractions, ii.e. fare evasion tickets. Thus, systematically, making a trail accessible Only to those who can afford to post bail. CLEARLY, DENIAL OF DUE-PROCESS & VIOLATION OF THE 14th Amendment TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. FILE A CLAIM WITH THE CITY CLERK; THEN, IN 60 DAYS SUE IN 9TH CIRCUIT COURT.


Wait! Don't delete that one..

I haven’t photoshopped it yet!!

So if I take pictures of something that makes no artistic sense to the officer, I can go to jail. Nice. Better be careful not to photograph my shoes accidentally. And does that mean I can’t just do a few practice shots to get an exposure setting? WHAT are these people thinking??!


Same Fascism in DC and NYC and London

This is the same post 9/11 fascism toward photographers that has emerged in DC and NYC, and London. Police, or often hired security guards have blocked photography of federal buildings. This practice has been proved baseless in the courts. But, the same human gene seems to be at work in long beach. The only explanation is fascism.

If we need to stop public photography, the why the stop light cameras? Why the speed cameras? Why the cameras hanging on the corner exterior of many buildings pointed at street corners? Aren’t these useless anesthetic uses of cameras? I think so.

It seems to be the concept that police can survey you, but you can’t survey anything else.

Anyone who submits to this type of harassment without fighting back vigorously verbally, has a misplaced view of law enforcemment. If the guys with the guns are making up their own laws, then it’s time to tell them to bugg off in a big way! Cut their budget because they are useless, we have cameras that can do that work.


Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value'

Police all over are committing violations of the first amendment by trying to control perceived unlawful activity, all in the name of revenue generation. Cops are just following their directives to write tickets to make money for the local government.

Sometimes, cops do what they feel they can get away with. On LI, a cop arrested someone videotaping by a freelance journalist of something the cop was at fault for. Charges were thrown out.

On Channel 11 in NY tonite, a commentator named Lionel (Michael LeBron) spoke about a Boston incident where a citizen recorded a beating by police. Charges were thrown out in local court and then Federal lawsuit was upheld by 2 courts (I don’t know if the PD is appealing).

In Philadelphia, cops have been writing disorderly conduct citations to those photographing SEPTA when the policy permits photography. I don’t know the disposition of this.

I’ve been harassed many times all over the country. I’ve had my fill. It seems to me they’re trying to get people to overreact so they can trump up charges on you. When they ask for your id, they run your name thru the crime computer for outstanding warrants – if you have one, they’ve ‘done their job to fight crime’.

This is such hypocrisy. Get the ACLU on their case!!!! This is your defense!!!!

jens jensensays:

These “things” and “things” like this will continue to happen and will grow and flourish as long as we let them. Society is like a garden, it needs to be tendered if it is not going to grow wild, if you sit in a corner smoking ….. the bad weeds will keep growing. Somehow we must find the energy to take part and – it is a balance between selfishness and what we want for the future.

Roger Wilcosays:

As an avid amateur photographer I had such an experience with the police exactly twice. Once in Teheran, Iran and once in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Police asking what and why I was photographing, looking at my pictures and in Teheran even deleting a couple (little did he know about “undelete” software :-))

So obviously Long Beach, CA joins this list.

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