|Carlos Miller takes a picture of Ft. Lauderdale attorney Norman Kent.|
photo by firstname.lastname@example.org
Miami photographer Carlos Miller is on a one-man quest to protect our First Amendment rights to take pictures in public.
He runs a blog called, "Photography is not a crime," (PINAC), where he proudly declares that he's been arrested twice while trying to take pictures.
A casual reading of his blog reveals that there is, indeed, some sort of undeclared war on photographers in this country.
But, photographers getting hassled while doing their job is nothing new.
Some of Carlos' battles have included his fight for the right to photograph minimum-wage MetroRail security guards. (He won that one, I think.)
He also fought for his right to take pictures of people handing out cigarette samples on Lincoln Road. That one ended in a stalemate.
And, of course, who can forget Carlos' "Battle Royal" with a woman selling a fish on the side of the road? Carlos ended up getting his ass kicked for his efforts to take a picture of a dead fish.
And because Carlos has sacrificed his freedom, dignity, precious time and hard-earned cash to secure his and your rights to photograph utterly meaningless people, places and things, the media naturally seek him out when doing stories on the erosion of our rights.
The Miami Herald's David Smiley recently turned to Carlos for his story on "The history of cops vs. cameras on Miami Beach." Carlos told Smiley that friction between cops and cameras is a nationwide epidemic. "It's everywhere," said Carlos.
So when Ft. Lauderdale police recently threatened photographers with arrest on a movie set, Carlos sprang into action; hitting the road with his "First Amendment Traveling Minstrel Show."
The fight in Ft. Lauderdale centered around some signs the movie company posted on a street that warned against taking pictures. Apparently the movie company posted the signs without actually checking the law.
The production company's publicist, Claire Raskin, said on Tuesday the area marked off by the signs should be considered private property and off-limits to photographers. "We're basically renting out the place."Carlos organized a passive protest that took place last Friday.
The public is allowed to walk into the Himmarshee area to visit bars and restaurants, but taking out a camera is a no-no, city and police officials said.
On Wednesday an officer at the scene told a video journalist and photographer from the Sun Sentinel that they could film and shoot as long as they stood behind the signs.
His plan was to show up with several dozen photographers, sit down at outdoor cafes near the movie set, have some lunch and take lots of pictures. The movie people countered by renting the entire street which blocked access to everyone.
So, no one got any pictures of any movie stars.
But they did take lots of pictures of each other.
(At least one photo agency - Splash News - got images. But, they're pros.)
But, Carlos can chalk up another First Amendment victory. Your right to take pictures of your friends on the street is safe!
I do applaud Carlos for calling everyone's attention to the fact that a private company and a government agency - the Ft. Lauderdale police - were trying to bully people and trample their rights.
Kudos also to Ft. Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent, who filed an injunction against the police.
But, here's a suggestion Carlos.
Next time a movie shoot comes to town, why not shoot some pictures of actual movie stars? Ignore the jerks who are trying to keep you from getting pictures and work around them.
I've been hassled once or twice over the years, but it's never stopped me from getting pictures. Pictures that sold.
Below are just a few pictures that I've shot on movie sets. I ran into obstacles trying get a lot of the pictures, but I always came away with the shot.
Of course, if all this sounds too difficult, you can always stick to photographing MetroRail security guards and fishmongers.
|"Scarface," Miami Beach, 1983|
|"True Lies." Brickell Avenue, 1993|
|"True Lies," Brickell Avenue, 1993|
|"True Lies," InterTerra building, Brickell Avenue, 1993|
|"True Lies," Inter Terra building, Brickell Avenue, 1993|
|Sylvester Stallone and Janice Dickinson, "The Specailist," 1994|