By Scott Shephard
I was reading commentary on LATI Photo/Media student Maysa Hacken's facebook page about proposed changes in photography rights in national parks and at national monuments. There were a few informed responses explaining that the new rules aren't as restrictive as they first sounded and that the government is refining its stance in the face of protest. In other words, things will stay pretty much as they have been.
However, I also read with mild amusement several uninformed responses: "Government can be a pain sometimes." "It's my country and I'll do what I want!" "They can't stop me from taking photos." Etc. (These are paraphrases, by the way.)
The fact is that the government can tell us what to do. An extreme experiment would be to climb over the fence surrounding a US air force base, such as Ellsworth near Rapid City, and see what happens. Make sure to take your camera so you can record the response. Report back.
So what does this photo have to do with all of this? I took this photo inside of the amazing James R. Thompson government building in Chicago in 2005. A few years later, I went back with my camera and was told that photography was no longer allowed for security reasons. I didn't argue with the guard: he had a gun and I only had a Canon.
Why would the government adopt such a policy? I suppose because a terrorist might start by taking photos of building he/she might like to target. And since many hate the US government, including some US citizens, why not target a government building?
I haven't been back to this building since my second attempt and so I don't know if the policy is still in play. I'm just happy I have this photo. But I'd love to have a second chance - I know more about photography now. And I have a better Canon. :-)
Canon 20D 1/100s f/6.3 ISO800 10mm (35mm eq:16mm)
PS: My good friend BZ was with me on this photo shoot.