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July 13, 2005

13. Rebar

f32 1/2 sec Last night, Dave and I were out shooting and ended up at Casino Niagara. (More specifically, in the parking lot). There is construction of a water park going on so we were photographing the crane, and various parts we saw around the crane; chains, hooks, rebar, cable and other items like that. This was not a fenced in area, simply a storage area in the parking lot beside the fenced in location that contained the crane. As we were shooting, a security officer from the casino came out to see what we were doing. We were told by this security guard that we weren't allowed to be there, that it was a construction site and private property and they preferred we didn't photograph in the area. I explained that the area seemed very public to me, that it was in a public parking lot, there were no signs prohibiting entrance to the area nor were there any fences. I also knew that the lot was owned not by the company this person works for, but by another firm who was building the waterpark. We were being told to leave by someone who had no claim to the property. We shot a little longer much to the dismay of this guard then went on our way. Our next stop was a boulevard outside of Canada Customs at the Rainbow Bridge. While there, I took a few shots of the cars as they went by, hoping to capture motion in the cars (my goal was the back half of a car followed by streaks conveying motion). A Custom official came over and in a rather stern voice demanded to know what we were doing. I explained I was taking photographs, mostly of the cars, explaining my intention. He then told me I was not allowed to take photos of the customs booths or of any of the cars leaving customs. To the best of my knowledge, there are no laws concerning photographic publicly accessible buildings, nor are there any laws against photographic a vehicle. The officer would have every right to ask us to leave the grounds if we were on Custom's property, however, we were on a street boulevard, standing next to a very old and degraded signs signalling the change to metric and it's effect on our speed limit that happended some 28 years ago. I found this very distressing. Twice within a matter of minutes, someone of some authority (one fully recognized, the other not) I was told I was not allowed to take a photograph of something that is completely visible without aid from a public location. Albeit, the first site was private property, just not associated with the casino guard, I was still told I was not allowed to photograph the area. I have read about other photographers experiencing this type of paranoia from security and even police, mostly in the US, some in the UK, but even here, in Canada. Various Links about Photographers rights or similiar experiances: http://www.lightstalkers.org/post.cfm?post_id=1225 UK Photographers Rights Guide Photographers Right (US) PhotoMermit.com Vivid Light article on the subject

This image was found at the building location for the new waterpark near Casino Niagara. I have been looking for some industrial material for a while and finally found it! Some more images to come.

Posted on July 13, 2005 04:37 PM | Permalink


Hello Chris: As a former Photojournalist I found your photos very refreshing,and you have specific touch for close-ups,paterns and designes with differente shapes and formes.Your vision is diferente from 1000's other people holding camera in their hands.KEEP SHOOTING! Cheers Boris.

Posted by: Boris SPREMO at July 14, 2005 8:30 AM

No respect for authority huh? With the recent terriosts attacks immiagration has every right to question why you are taking photos.

Nice shots of the rebar.

The lady at the last B & B has saved your photo of the day as a favourite. She looked at all your photos where we were asleep.


Mom & Dad

Posted by: Colette Empey at July 14, 2005 4:07 PM

My issue was not with being questioned about what I was doing (albeit, an obvious answer...taking pictures). My issue was being told that I was not allowed to take those photos. Preventing someone from taking a photo of a building will not stop a terrorist attack. It is unfortunate, but any authority figure who feels that by not allowing a photograph to be taken will stop a person with such convictions that they will end their life for their beliefs, whether right or wrong, from carrying on with a plan of terrorism is living in a fantasy world. These people do not recognize authority. They do not care about those around them, and they will take whatever steps are necessary to accomplish what they feel is right.

As I said, it is a sad time right now, but senseless loss of freedoms will not provide more security; only a false sense of such.

Posted by: Chris at July 14, 2005 4:22 PM

That fact that no fences or signs were erected to give a clear message to pedestrians that entrance is prohibited is a very good argument. However, an outside security guard/service is hired by most companies to prevent intruders from entering the grounds. The fact that the security guard is not directly employed with the company who owns the property, or who is a member of the construction company is irrelevant. He had every right to ask you to leave. Not to mention the fact that most companies don't encourage the act of even casual photographs being taken around their sites. It doesn't matter what objects specifically are being photographed. Yes, you were there harmlessly, but they don't know that, nor would they necessarily take your word for it.

Also, it IS illegal in Canada and the USA to take pictures of personal information that can identify an individual. (i.e. License Plates.) Obviously you weren't, but that could be one cause of concern to the officers.

Posted by: Sarah at July 14, 2005 8:52 PM

Whether a company encourages photographs or not, they cannot stop it. They can ask you to leave (again, this security guard was not employed or contracted by the company) but they cannot stop photography of their sites.

As for the second issue, an individual gives up a certain amount of privacy by being in a public place. They do expect a level of privacy in places such as washroom, change rooms, other locations that could be deemed as a private location, which by all rights, would extend to their car. However, a photograph of the exterior of the vehicle, even with license plate in full view, does not meet that criteria. That is simply publicly viewable. There is no privacy with that.

Posted by: Chris at July 15, 2005 10:39 AM