Thursday June 14, 2012

Photography of the Miami Herald building is "not allowed"?

miami herald

Wow, wait till you hear this one. So I’m out for an early morning bike ride, and snapping a few photos, and I end up in front of the Miami Herald building for this one. Out the garage comes a guy in a Volkswagen Beetle (with a white “Un-Beetle” decal, so, you know, clearly a douche) comes out and tells me “no photography.” I laugh him off, but he’s quite serious. “I’not allowed to stand here and take pictures?!” says I. “No, you’re not.” says him, now puling a badge out and waving it at me, without identifying himself as any particular law enforcement. “What’re you going to do, call the cops?” say I. “Yeah, I will!” says him. “So call them,” says I. “Just don’t take any photos!” says he and pulls away.

So I circle around and talk to another security guard, who is very nice about it and somewhat equivocal, but he says yeah, photography of the building is not allowed. “But it’s a public street” say I. “Well, they consider this Miami Herald area” says him, pointing at the street with a completely straight face. “If you want to go across the street, that’s something else…” He also says something about how it’s because it’s a landmark(!) and that they’d like me to get a permit if I’m going to be photographing. I mentioned something about how I’d like for them to cut me a check for a half a million dollars, and I guess at that point he realized he had a wise ass on his hands and said something about just being cool about it.

So, first of all, what a sorry pair of backing-down-ass security guards, right? But more to the point (and I actually wonder whether this needs to be said) how fucking ironic is it that in this era when photographer’s effective rights are being chipped away, and the job of news photographers like Carlos Miller* to do their jobs is getting harder and harder (to speak nothing of our civil liberties), the Miami Herald is contributing to this extra-legal “no photography rule” nonsense. Do the reporters and editors know about this “rule”? How far are the security guards actually trained to go in enforcing it? (And do they have clear boundaries?) And when will the idea get into the popular consciousness that “rules” happen on private property and on public property the only “rules” are laws, and it’s very poor policy to have your security people confuse the two and try to represent one thing as another?

* I originally got the link to Carlos’ blog wrong. The original link went to a … I’m not sure what the fuck it is, actually. The story is here. Thanks to Carlos for the correction.

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  1. Brook Dorsch    Thu Jun 14, 05:39 PM #  

    I wonder if they sent Google a warning not to photograph the building for Google Earth, or stopped the google van when they were shooting the street view! Here

  2. Erika Morales    Thu Jun 14, 07:02 PM #  

    Hmmm, real progress if we’d all be required to obtain permits to photograph ‘landmarks’. Wonder where that would put Paris or NYC which seem to be littered with them.

    Oh wait, did he say “landmark”?? Isn’t there a law against tearing these down? ;)

  3. sara stites    Fri Jun 15, 10:14 AM #  

    a confusing line between public fatcats & private ones….power to some…..

  4. Susan    Fri Jun 15, 11:58 AM #  

    If this would be in Czechs, I’d not be surprised, but in US ? Anyway, reading your article, I had to laugh hard. The whole thing is so ridiculous.

  5. squathole    Sat Jun 16, 08:34 AM #  

    You should have asked the security guard for his birth certifcate.

  6. swampthing    Sat Jun 16, 08:44 AM #  

    i like cheese holes on buildings

  7. nonina    Sat Jun 16, 10:36 PM #  

    What is discribed is the same thing happeing to me… I was trying to take a picture of Miami Herald front building and the sucurity guy told to go.. by the other side… like 3 blook away.. the funny thing is .. the same “security” guy want to sell me a picture!

  8. Carlos Miller    Sun Jun 17, 02:05 AM #  

    Hey Alesh,

    Thanks for mentioning me but you linked to the wrong site. Long story, which I explain here.

  9. Bob    Sun Jun 17, 12:32 PM #  

    I took pictures of the building a couple of weeks ago and had no problems. I asked the security guard if I could take pictures from the garage, of the skyline. He said no, but was nice about it.