Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From The Wayside

It was such a (relatively) warm evening on Wednesday, I got the hankerin' for a little drive and some night-picture taking. Chicopee Falls was the first destination and we stopped outside the crumbling home of the former massive tire manufacturer (and former massive employer), Uniroyal.



While I was taking pictures of the building from the roadside, a security guard came zooming up the road in his car, stopped and told me that it was illegal to be withing 90 feet of the building. I was pretty dubious about that, figuring I was well within my rights to be taking pictures from a public roadside. But he apologized and said it was a new law they actually just informed him of last week. It was for liability reasons, in case some of the building happens to crumble. Hmm, I was close to putting my foot down on this one and refusing to stop taking pictures, since I was after all standing on a public roadside and outside the fenced in area. But he was polite about it, and I had already taken several pictures, so I decided against making a big deal out of it. This however makes the third or fourth time where I've been asked to stop photographing in a place I assumed was a public area and there were no signs saying otherwise.



It would be nice if there were clearly defined rules about where pictures can and can't be taken. I generally go by the rule of thumb that if you can see it from a public space you can photograph it, as long as it's not expressly forbidden and you're not invading anyone's privacy.

From the falls, it's a quick drive up Front street to get to the center of Chicopee. Setting up a tripod near the St. Stanislaus Basilica still a little wounded from the security guard encounter, I watched a couple of policemen drive by but was happy to see that they hardly gave me more than a passing glance.



On to Chicopee center and a couple more scenes before packing it up...



The rules for public photography seem to be such a grey area. I've experienced and seen other people restricted from taking pictures in malls, flea markets, town meetings; places where the general public are allowed, yet photography is sometimes disallowed, or allowed as long as it's not arbitrarily considered a nuisance...



Until the rules are clear, it'll be a long process of trial and error, and security guard encounters...

6 comments:

dominique said...

Those photography prohibitions seem particularly arbitrary and capricious, especially when you consider the thousands of video cameras recording (without permission) nearly every move you make in virtually every corner of the civilized world!

CBL said...

I agree with the previous post. How do they know you are taking photos in the first place, unless you are being watched from afar? Car patrols are one thing, but they seem to catch you most every time.

On the other hand, there's probably no worse situation than being on a dark street, empty street with a security guard.

LarryK4 said...

I think the guard was full of it (but hey, he's only doing his job)

Mary E.Carey said...

That guard's explanation seems dubious to me too. What a great shot of the basilica though. It looks like a scene from some faraway place.

Tony said...

We (bloggers) will just have to keep testing the limits, and the security guards..!

That basilica was built in a faraway frame of mind, if not a faraway place; they certainly don't build them like that any more...

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

Im sorry but that seems like a load of crap to be telling someone they can not be with in a certain distance of a building. As far as I know those are all private property. They do not take trespassing to lightly. If you go down further towards the Facemate building you can walk right down into the area, walk along side the canal and right into the back of a few buildings. But be careful. The misguided youth of the area love to hang out back there and cause trouble.

I wouldnt stop taking pictures if I am standing on a public road. Infact I would have photographed the person telling me I couldnt. In public no one has the right to tell you to stop as much as they like to think they do.

I was photographing outside a building the other day and had a guy walk up to me. He asked if he could help me, I was like with what?? He goes security saw you on the camera and I thought Id come and see what you were doing. I was like school project, want to see my Id? Even though it was a complete fabrication, he apologized and ran off to do something less important.