If you read back through the site, you will notice a trend throughout my posts. I am opinionated and expressive but I usually shy away from political oriented content. The only exception was an article about a soccor club banning photographers. It’s not that I don’t have personal beliefs on things, its just that I don’t want every article to a battleground in the comment section. I don’t have the time or desire to moderate a debate or even debate someone’s disagreement with me. With that said. I am going to break one of my unwritten rules and write on a somewhat political topic.

The poster above is was a poster created by the TSA to help people stay alert of suspicious activities in airports. The goal is supposedly to help people better identify what “terror” looks like. I understand the motive and purpose of this poster but I think that they have taken things a step to far. Let me tell you why

1: Most of the time, people who are out to destroy or get information about a plane aren’t going to be walking around with a giant camera that begs attention. Generally, I imagine, they would have smaller, less conspicuous devices.

2: If they wanted information on an airplane, they can find it out online. There is no need to take a photograph of a 747 because you can find almost any detail you want on 747′s.

3: What this poster is saying is that anyone who has a giant camera and is taking a picture of an airplane should be suspected of terrorism. I have taken pictures of airplanes before and I have had my fair share of glares and questionable looks from people around the airports.

4: Because the poster is relating photography to a devious act, it is enforcing negative impressions of photographers that people may have. There have been many, many stories of photographers being questioned and forced to leave because they were taking pictures of a landmark or monument with a “big camera”. People sometimes have a tendency to react harshly towards photographers and associating photography with terrorism is helping to fuel that negativity.

5: Photography is a right not an option in the same way that freedom to write this article is a right. I can understand not allowing photographers to photograph private art collections, private locations, private people or even top secret government locations but an airport is far from a “top secret” government location. This is a case where we could be trading freedom for “security”. The freedoms we have are getting taken away for the “security” we think we want. If this trend continues, don’t be surprised to find that photography will become more regulated and controlled.

The issue with this poster is just a drop in the bucket. There are tons of examples when photographer’s rights are suppressed because of security or control. I have been involved in cases where I have been photographing national landmarks and was approached and asked to put my equipment away. I have even had my small camera bag searched for a bomb when tourists back-packs were allowed by. Some of these actions taken by these security agencies are going a bit to far. I’m not trying to degrade the effort or demonize “the man”, I’m just wanting to express my lack of agreement with some actions taken and hopefully cause some amount of awareness.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Maybe next time I will write an article on how to get those shots in those security crazy areas.

Comment away dear friends

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12 Comments to “Did The TSA Go Too Far?”

  • That’s kind of hard to believe. My first thought was that you foto-chopped this, but really, they could have found someone doing something that might lead to a crime. Maybe a man standing the same spot hold an RPG? Anyway, I totally agree with your sentiments. I’m sure this tog now qualifies for the upgraded advanced pat-down in full public view.

  • I agree. TSA has gone too far. Not sure it they just don’t get it, or if they are having a knee-jerk reaction, or if they just want to show people that they are going to make then (not) safe. The poster really make me mad, as I have had “the look” at times when I was shooting in public. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

    Thanks for the article.

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