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John Palcewski's Journal

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Chinatown IV

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I'm curious about how people usually respond to you when they realise you're photographing them. This guy here, actually seems quite amused.

I have a large collection of surprised and angry looks, and of course I won't forget the day in Italy, in my home village of Forio on Isola d' Ischia, when a man in his 60s was furious when he heard my shutter click, and insisted I follow him to the Carabinieri headquarters so he could lodge a complaint. The Carabinieri officer seemed amused when I said I was under the impression that photographing people in public places was legal. "Perhaps in America that's the case," he said, "but not here in Italy. Do you notice that at the banks' ATM machines there are no cameras?" He was, of course, correct and I therefore obeyed his order and deleted the shots I had taken of the old man.

Now, when I'm in New York I carry with me a copy of the Police Department's Operations Order Number 14, which says, in part, "Members of the service are reminded that photography...of public places, buildings and structures are common activities within New York City....all such photography will have no connection to terrorism or unlawful conduct."

It doesn't, of course, say "people," which is why I remain secretive and discreet...but nevertheless I often get caught. And yes, I think the guy was amused, slightly flattered that I found him and his girl interesting enough to photograph.

Re: Illegal Photography

There's been a lot of hoo-hah here in the UK about public photography, which, in my opinion, has become quite ridiculous. Restrictions on public photography (in Britain). Mind you, it's just one of many stupid laws, rules and regulations that the world today regards as normal. I hope one day people will rebel and get rid of all this nonsense!

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