I agree with you, Jon. (And it’s not just because I grew up in Flushing, and we likely drank the same water…)
Here’s what I wrote to the MTA & it includes the paragraph citation you mention:
Proposed Changes Re: Photography
I find this gravely troubling:
In order to further enhance passenger security and safety, photography and videorecording is prohibited except for members of the press holding valid identification cards issued by the New York City Police Department or where written authorization has been provided by SIRTOA. [Section 1040.4(f)]
I’m a freelance “art” photographer, NYC native but not a member of the Press. I have, in the past taken a series of photos on the Staten Island Ferry, for example, which has been exhibited, published in a book, and in general has been proclaimed some of my best photographic work.
If your new proposal is put into play as law, such creative freedom and works of art might never have the chance to see the light of day. We would all be the lesser for this type of community censure.
I do hope you’ll rethink & revise this specific proposal to better reflect the little real safety or security concerns that passengers might have regarding freelance photography. I always carry “Model Releases” with me in my camera gear. With the individual rider’s permission, photographing them should most certainly not be unlawful.
Thank-you for this opportunity to voice my opinion on this matter.
I know photographers around the US who have recently been harassed, intimidated & quite nearly arrested for doing nothing more than photographing in public.
Street-photography & photo-journalism will be outlawed if we don’t kick up as big a fuss as possible. It benefits the powers that be (who seem bent on utilizing scare-tactics) to make artists & photographers scapegoats when exercising our creative freedom & fully using the civil rights as they now exist.
It’s downright Orwellian, but 9/11 and other recent events have played right into their hands & they’re spinning it out of our control unless we can show the larger mass of citizens how this loss diminishes us all. There needs to be a wider appeal in the popular press, but I’d wager that few are interested in rocking the boat at the moment. Pressures from this revved-up political atmosphere are pretty obvious. It’s a sad day for democracy in the USA.