Saturday, July 30, 2005

revoking your right to pass

SF Photo Flash Mob 041
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.

Today I met up with 20 other photographers at One Bush Street, the site of much blogger controversy this week, for a small photomobbing adventure. We were there to exercise our rights to photograph interesting buildings from public spaces -- for example, from the sidewalk or the street.

As we non-confrontationally took photos of each other and the local architecture, we were asked many times to leave certain areas of seemingly "public plazas." Tiny little plaques in the ground confirmed that our right to pass could be revoked by the private landowner of the so-called public space.

We each carried a print-out of "Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography", an excellent guide prepared by a civil rights attorney. We had some... challenging conversations with security guards along the way about this document.

CBS News saw fit to cover our photomobbing, and I met some very cool folks. Better still, I discovered a few new interesting corners and crevices in an area of San Francisco I've always loved most for supergaming. My favorite: a tiny abandoned back ally, with rights to pass fully revokable, with an old-school security camera, and seemingly nothing to surveil and no space to be revoked out of.

UPDATE: My Flickr set from the One Bush Street photo-mob was Boing Boing'd! Now, more than 20,000 people have viewed my photostream. Thanks, Cory, for the shout-out! Also, yay: 6 of my One Bush Street photos made the top 100 most interesting photos on Flickr for August 30. I'm a big fan of Flickr's new "interestingness" metric. Always fun to coin new words to describe emergent social network hive mind massively parallel interest!


Thomas Hawk said...

Very cool. Sorry I missed you guys. I was a little late. I did get some really fantastic photos of the building though that I'll hopefully get up on Flickr later tonight.



Seth Anderson said...

I wish I could have made it as well. Post more info on your 'interesting' conversations with security guards, if you can.

vortech said...

The guide is useful and empowering, but deceptive - it ignores copyright law entirely. (Hard as it may be to believe, elements of buildings, statues, art instalations and other seemingly public structures can be protected by copyright, meaning photography is an infringement)

Roger Krueger said...

Sorry vortech. U.S. copyright law has an explicit exception for architectural works--they can be copyrighted, but pictorial representations DO NOT infringe.

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