Monday, July 19, 2004

Freeze Freeze Frame – Photography, Security and The Patriot Act

This is what I mean about being placed in a spiritually knocked upside the head position. I was coming home from work. I always have a camera with me. There was the Friday afternoon protest group that has been protesting every Friday since the attack on Iraq. They have recently switch from war protesting to the election. I have taken pictures of them on and off for a while.

Anyway, there was a picture opportunity that I could not ignore. This woman was standing in a black dress holding up a *No CARB* (Chaney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Bush) sign. I whip out my low rez camera and start shooting. Into my viewfinder, I could see a police car and two cops giving her the evil eye. Then they switched looking at her to me.

I know that look. The look sends ice water through you veins if you are a person of color. A police officer looking you over tells your body that you need pick up your feet and move if you don’t want trouble. It is a look of suspicion and summary judgment.

All I was doing was standing on a public corner taking a picture.

I started noticing the increasing frequency of black and whites rotating around the block. For a total of maybe 8 protesters. I kept taking pictures but my mind was thinking of catching the first thing smoking to get me home.

The next day I am reading some stuff about proposals to restricting new technologies and I see a link to an article from The – Taking Pictures While Brown -

It tells the story of Ian Spiers, who was taking pictures in a public place in Washington State. He was hassled by the local police and the Department of Homeland Security under the auspices of The Patriot Act.

The fact that this was a public place, in fact a tourist destination that encourages photography, did not seem to help him. Nor did the fact that non-brown/black photographers were also not similarly interrogated.

To get the full scope on what happened to Ian visit with photos in the area and then venture over to his main site at

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