Friday, March 30, 2012

Photographer's Rights by Jon Arnold

[caption id="attachment_356" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="What is your wish?"]New York Commercial Photographer | Filmmaker | People | Interiors | Spencer Gordon[/caption]
Original Article by Jon Arnold on Camera Sim.

"No Photography Allowed" | A look at photographers rights | CameraSim.

Battle at the Alamo

Last week I visited the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. When I took a picture inside one of the old buildings, I was immediately reprimanded by a docent who told me that photography was not allowed. I asked what would happen if I chose to ignore that rule, and he said he’d call security and have me forcibly removed from the premises. Sheesh. Take a pill, dude.

A paranoid store owner

A couple months ago, I was walking downtown in Palm Springs California, where I saw a fellow pedestrian admiring some dishes displayed inside a storefront window. He took out his camera, snapped a photo, and the shop door flew open. “Hey! My dishes are copyrighted, and you can’t take pictures of them!” said the man who I assumed to be the storeowner. The flustered pedestrian apologized and quickly put away his camera.

Overzealous security guards

A couple years ago, while strolling downtown Indianapolis Indiana, and taking shots of building exteriors, I was stopped by a security guard who demanded to know who I was, what I was doing, and then informed me that he needed to inspect my photos. Though he didn’t use these words, I very much felt “detained” and “released.”

One more: A few years ago, I was taking photos of some friends as we walked through a shopping mall. Not only was I stopped and questioned by security, they told me I had to delete the photos I had been taking. Not knowing I had a choice, I naively complied.

Utter madness

Now, let those stories sink in for a second: Forcible removals from public places. Harassment from store owners. Detention by security guards. Intimidation to delete one’s data.

And for what? Causing a disturbance? Endangering the public? Damaging property?

Nope. Just taking a photo.

Taking…a photo. (No matter how many times I repeat it to myself, I can’t make it make sense.)

So what does the law say?

I’m no legal expert, but the internet research I’ve done so far on this topic reveals the following:

The shop owner who scolded the guy for taking photos of his precious plates was completely out of line. No one – not storeowners or even the police – can prevent you from taking photos of whatever you want from a public place. Regarding the storeowner’s copyright cry, yes, there are laws against publishing photos of copyrighted works, not taking photos for private use.
The security guard who stopped me while I was taking photos of downtown Indianapolis was just doing his job by being paranoid. But he wasn’t a police officer, so I had no legal obligation to give him any information, to let him detained me, or show my photos to him.
The security guard at the mall also had no right to detain me, and certainly no right to make me delete my photos (apparently, even the police need a court order to do that.) Even though a shopping mall is private property, it’s open to the public so most private property rules go out the window. The photos I took that day were nothing special, but I am still filled with regret for letting a mall cop bend me over like that.
I’m not sure about the Alamo situation, and museums in general seem to be a big “grey area.” Are they private or public property? Do they have a legal right to ban photography? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.
Photographers’ rights can unfortunately be a murky and contentious issue, and I recognize that common sense and decency play as big of a role as any law. Anyone can take photos of kids at a public playground without getting their parents’ permission, for example. Illegal? No. Creepy? Yes…don’t do it.

Educate yourself

My point here, dear reader, is that you educate yourself on what you can and can’t do with your camera. Not every battle is worth fighting, but how you exercise or forgo your civil liberties should be an informed choice that you make, not a rent-a-cop.

What about you? Have you ever been unfairly harassed for taking photos? What about all you folks from outside the US?…what are the photography laws in your country?

Further reading:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Dead Exs - All Over You - Couch by Couchwest

The concept about this video for The Dead Exs was getting it all in one take. The singer, David Patillo, originally wanted to do a dry run without video for the first take however I stated that I'm gonna roll video because you never know that take may be the ONE. We did 7 takes and guess what? The first take, the rehearsal run was the one that made the cut.

We submitted the video to Couch by Couchwest. CXCW is the slackers alternative to SXSW. During the week of March 11-18, 2012 musicians from around the world submit videos recorded on a couch, porch, bathroom…anywhere but the stage…for our enjoyment from the comfort of our living rooms. All in hopes to bring together as many people as possible who are stuck home while all their friends are stuck in the crowds of Austin, TX. So crack open a beer, crank up the volume, and enjoy the couch!

By the end of the CXCW week The Dead Exs video was the 4th most viewed! YAY!

The Dead Exs perform "All Over You" from the album Resurrection.
David Pattillo - guitar, vox
Wylie Wirth - drums
Spencer Gordon - film & edit

Do you need a video created for your band or company?
Contact Spencer Today!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oyster + Swimwear = March Madness Basketball

[caption align="alignnone" width="600" caption=" (FREE download of brochure click on image.)"] (FREE download of brochure click on image.)[/caption]
Oyster's swimsuit samples were straight out of the box for this photography shoot. Francess, the co-owner of the Brooklyn based company, was very excited to be photographing her "JUMP!" Spring / Summer 2012 line of swimwear. Even though the samples had their imperfections that did not stop our photography production from moving forward. That's only one of the obstacles we had to deal with that day. There were a few other challenges for example Oyster likes to work with "Real" models. Fortunately one model (Bryson) had worked with Oyster before but the other model (Margaret) was quite green. A new model can take up additional time and can cause a shoot to go off schedule.
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I've worked with many NEW models. Patience is the key. Working with new models in a friendly helpful way makes them feel comfortable. By the end of the shoot Margaret was slam dunking the poses!!! The second challenge was we were on a basketball court and when school let out, well let's just say March Madness look out! So we had to work with the kids and their pick up basketball games to negotiate them out of our shots. We eventually got one kid with his skateboard to be in a shot, which was perfect![photoshelter-img width='600' height='695' i_id='I0000eYuCofwSx2M' buy='0']
How did we come up with the basketball theme? Francess states “We wanted to challenge the idea that swimwear needs to be shot in exotic locations with busty, bombshell models. The Oyster customer is not interested in being overtly sexy, but sex appeal comes through in her confidence.” Oyster prides themselves working with natural-looking models that represent a more realistic young, female demographic.

Finally our biggest challenge was time. Being on location you never know when the weather is going to turn. The make up artist ran a bit over pushing the photography off schedule to a full court press pace. The forecast was for rain that late afternoon. For once the weather man was right that day. As our model walked onto the basketball court for our last shot the sky started dribbling rain drops. Francess was very concerned we were not going to finish. I told her not to worry. By this time the kids were gone and we had the basketball court to ourselves. We moved over under a large tree that provided us enough cover to do one last lay down shot that was the "layup" to wrapping up the photography shoot. Even though we started behind schedule due to hair & make up, model constraints, location elements I was able to shoot our entire shot list and still finish on time.

Oyster's Spring / Summer 2012 swimsuit line launches this Friday March 9th. If you are in the NY area come attend the FadMashion Show click here.

Featured Article on PDNonline / PhotoServe

Spencer Gordon Jumps Into Spring with Oyster.