Photography Permission Denied

Here’s the scenario. You know there is a pretty cool place you want to photograph (non-commercially) but you also know even though the exposure would be good for them they might not take kindly to you “sneaking” some pics without asking so you write off and ask permission.

That’s what Thomas Hawk did, and they said no. Even though there is already a bunch of pictures floating around and he might bring in some much needed attention for the museum.

This place I had never heard of until he wrote about it, The Neon Museum, thinks keeping images of it protected helps with their mission of “cultural enrichment for diverse members of our international community” (it seems they only want to serve the international community of ‘driving distance from the museum’).

I just got back a rather disappointing email from the Neon Musuem in Las Vegas. I had written to the museum to inquire about taking photographs of some of their neon signs this past weekend while in Las Vegas. I’m not going to link to the museum. You can find them on Google if you want. For those of you who don’t know what the Neon Museum is, it’s a boneyard of sorts of many of the old Las Vegas neon signs. It’s a place that these signs go to die and the non-profit Neon Museum states their mission as “to collect, preserve, study and exhibit neon signs and associated artifacts to inspire educational and cultural enrichment for diverse members of our international community.” Unfortunately their policy with regards to photography does not seem to fit with their stated mission.

What they should have said was “If people can see your pictures for free who is going to visit and put money in our donations box”. Then they would have a point. It would be tempting for Thomas to just go and sneak some pictures like everyone else but then he would lose his moral high ground, I really doubt he will stoop to that.

It’s not an easy thing, on the one hand without publicity no-one will visit so they close, on the other if people can see the stuff without visiting they close any way. Really they should be smart and work out a limited way that he can take some pics and they get good coverage without giving away the whole thing. Until they do that, they are just making their mission a joke.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Camera Equipment and Airline Carry-on Rules Update

Various friends and acquaintances have been updating me recently on their experiences flying safely with their camera gear since the new airline rules about carry-on luggage. It seems for the most part, providing their needs aren’t excessive (ie. providing they didn’t try to take as much as they could before all the changes) they have been able to successfully fly with their precious camera and maybe a lens or two.

It seems though that officials are taking a very good look at all electronic gear, including your photography kit, having you unpack it all, in some cases swabbing it, so do plan on taking a little longer than your friends if you cart in half your studio. This is not the time to be getting there five minutes before boarding!

A couple of people have tried to order hard cases at their normal suppliers and found them out of stock.

The strangest report I have heard is from David Honl where they overlooked his camera gear to inspect his hotdogs, heh.

Added: Excellent discussion over at this post and in the comments, especially the tip to check your insurance small print as it seems some insurance policies DO NOT cover camera equipment checked in the hold!

So, have you flown lately? Planning to? Share your experiences here in the comments please.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Henri Cartier-Bresson and the “Maker” Versus “Taker” Photographer

I spotted this quote over at Photodoto and had to share it again here.

“To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

It was used as an intro to a post on the discussion “making or taking” photographs. We have had this discussion here and also on Flickr. Each time I have discussed it my thoughts have evolved somewhat.

“Maker or taker”, it’s not an absolute thing in reality, and I agree to a degree that “intention” is probably what matters. The photographer always makes the picture by pointing the camera in a certain direction, with certain settings and pressing the shutter. Then after the picture is “taken” it changes in post. One person selects hyper saturation, another black and white. One crops here, the other there.

I have been doing a lot of reading about great photographers of the past and studying their photographs. Even photojournalists told a story with their pictures. Selecting what to show and what to remove from the frame is in effect “editing reality”. As is selecting a telephoto lens to flatten perspective or a wide angle to exaggerate.

But in the end it almost doesn’t matter what the photographer intended but what the viewer sees. Everyone observes the world through their own filters. What might have taken hours of planning might be dismissed as trash by one observer while your quick accidental snap of someones elbow as you dropped your point and shoot might be lauded as the best thing ever!

I guess the important thing is do you enjoy photography and whether you get a kick out of (or for the pro’s, financial return from) the results?

Flickr, Freaks and Fantasy Families

99% of the pictures of my daughter I post are made only visible to family and friends. People tell me I am paranoid but stuff like this keeps happening and it can only happen so often before I think “why take the risk?”

Wayne at Utata

All of my pictures are private now, because someone with multiple accounts at livejournal and myspace has been using them to construct weblogs in which my children are characters in a fantasy family.

Some strange person has taken his family photographs and used them as her own, constructing a fantasy family life and casting Wayne as her husband. Seriously.

I used to blog and post pictures about my family all the time until I started getting .. inappropriate .. comments made. Nothing too scary or threatening but some people got a little to familiar.

Darren Rouse, a popular blogger, had a stalker turn up at his house and make threats. Consider Flickrs new mapping feature, how easy are we making it for freaks to track us down?

It seems to me it is just not safe to make your private life too public. Sure post pictures and blog, but draw the line somewhere. The internet has a long memory and stuff is so easily copied, re-mixed, manipulated and re-posted. It is no good wishing in the future you hadn’t divulged stuff, then it is too late. You can take stuff down but you can’t delete from peoples hard disks.

People say to me “I have been blogging for years and nothing like this has ever happened to me”. I hope for your sake it never does but your past experience is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. It only takes one nutter to spoil it for you, best be fully aware of what you are doing now.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

New Photography Podcast Network Launched

I have never really got into podcasts. Now I don’t have a daily commute (my commute is across the top floor of my house, the only traffic problem I have to worry about is a jackknifed cat or a mislaid skateboard) I only really have mind-space for background music, I find I have to concentrate on podcasts too much and it distracts me from work.

Having said that I do hang in blogging circles where people love podcasts, audio and video. So I welcome the news relayed by David at Strobist that a group of photography podcasters, including Chris “Tips from the top floor” Marquardt (the one podcast I have listened to more than once or twice) have launched a photographers podcast network.

Go check it out if you are into that kind of thing and let me know if I should give podcasts another try?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Cool Star Trek Motivational Posters

Just a brief interlude for some geeky giggles, it’s Star Trek motivational posters people!

More to see over here, now back to your regular scheduled programming …

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,