Dracil’s BlogJournal

July 2, 2008

SF Muni still (illegally?) bans photography

I was taking a photo of the subway today because I thought it might make for an interesting picture, but I was stopped by one of the Muni employees saying something about how since 9-11 photography in subways is forbidden. I asked him for the specific law and he said it was in some “security handbook” which he didn’t have with him. He said it was on their website. Since he didn’t try to confiscate my stuff or force me to delete photos, I didn’t press him further. I should’ve probably gotten his badge number at least, but for the record, this occurred around 8PM today and the guy was sitting in the closed off area at the end of the platform.  After I got home I checked and sure enough, I couldn’t find anything on it, so I fired off a letter to SFMTA asking them to point me to the exact law or regulation concerning photography in subways.

Afterward I tried googling and came across some interesting articles from around February 2005 that got a bit of media attention.

http://sfist.com/2005/02/14/homeland_insecurity_photo_ban_on_muni.php
http://sfist.com/2005/02/15/muni_photography_ban_update.php
http://sfist.com/2005/02/21/photogs_of_the_world_unite.php
http://www.photopermit.org/?p=66
http://www.photopermit.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=158

Apparently they haven’t learned a thing since then.  But given their final reply about that incident, I think I know what response to be expecting.  But hey, if they seriously want to go through all the trouble of getting someone to accompany me to take a couple photos, fine by me.  I’ll just bring my tripod next time to get a better shot (the one shot I managed to take was too blurry).  Maybe I’ll even get the employee to pose.  :P  And if they try to ignore my letter, then I dunno.  Maybe escalate it to the local papers?

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2 Comments »

  1. Heya Dracil,

    Seems we’ve both been bitten by the photography bug. I got a DSLR recently too (Nikon :P), and been having a blast trying to learn how to use it!

    I took this photo in Nagoya, Japan’s subway system with a P&S last fall: http://flickr.com/photos/blitzwing/1573753380/

    On this side of the ocean there’s a pretty sharp contrast; in a lot of places there’s “no photography allowed” signs all over the place, and yet everyone has a cellphone camera, and I’ve often seen people walking freely down the street with their big cameras at the ready. Not sure how the freedom extends to stations though…

    Comment by Blitzwing — July 3, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  2. Yeah, my friend was talking about some new 8MP camera phone she wanted to get because then she’d always have a decent camera with her that’s very discrete.

    Comment by dracil — July 3, 2008 @ 11:23 am


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