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Was I wrong?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by vettenut, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. vettenut


    Feb 27, 2006
    Tolland CT
    I have seen on occasion pictures members have taken while at their local mall. I drop my son off at bowling every Saturday morning and go to the Mall and usually pic up a few photo magazines and stop and talk to people I know at Ritz photo. Today I took a few pics near the bowling alley and thought I would take a few in the mall. As it turns out I spent more time experimenting with the effects of my white balance control with the various lighting situations than I did actually taking any pics, I may have kept a total of 5 or 6. While composing for a shot I hear a voice near me (politely) telling me that taking pictures in the mall are not allowed, I responded by saying it is open to the public is it not, why is there a problem. He stated that while the mall is open to the public any photo's that would capture a store front would not be allowed because it is considered private property. For a second I was ready to do battle then said to myself no big deal, told him O.K and put the lens cap back on my camera. I proceeded to go to a bookstore to look at a few photo magazines and noticed the same guy in the store looking around as if to find me (I thought), he worked at the mall but was not a security guard. I purchased a magazine and headed out to my car and got in it and looked at a few of the photo's I took. As I drove away I could see the same guy outside with someone who looked llike a security guard and they were looking at me, I just slowly drove off. Was I in the wrong, nothing is posted on the doors leading into the building and I can't believe I was the first person to ever take out a camera. If they have a Camera store on their premises and someone makes a purchase and decide to try it out in the mall are they going to get arrested? Opinions wanted. - Jeff
  2. Jeff,
    I can not imagine you were wrong. Sounds like a paranoid over-reaction on his part. I suggest you do a google search on that mall an see if the managing agency has any thing posted on that.
    lets see what ya got (pics)
  3. Actually, in reality a mall is not a 'public' place. It's a privately owned business enterprise which invites the public to visit, and shop. They are within their rights to say 'no photos' but in fairness, they should post it at the entrances.
    A public place is a park, generally something owned by the local government, etc. A sidewalk is a public place. An open park is a public place, but the washroom in the park is not as there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Going into a mall is like going into an office building. The owners of the building can set their own rules. BTW, this is according to US law.
  4. biggstr6


    Apr 26, 2005
    Seems its getting tougher to take pictures everyday.

    Ive been asked to leave & not take pictures about once a week for the last 3 weeks.

    the last one was kinda funny I was on the street and took a photo of the wachovia twin bldgs as the sun was reflecting on them , and I hear a tapping on the bldg window ,and there is a young security gaurd hollering at me . I point to road that Im standing in and keep shooting , as I get back in my car I notice he has come out of the bldg so I lower my window,and proceeds to tell you cant take pictures of this bldg , its private property. I tell him im in the road.

    Any way long story short he said doesnt matter ,next I'll be reported.
    I said whatever and left.

    I guess its just a sign of thte times.
  5. Brian-S


    Feb 10, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    Sandi is completely right in this one, as is honestly Biggs. If a building is clearly visible from a public location such as a road or park, you can definitely take pictures of it. My thought is that they're more worried about terrorism and the likes, so they want to limit it as much as possible. Any one try pulling out their dslr in an airport or outside of it? I'm thinking here in SF you may get tackled to the ground....

    Good luck,
  6. Biggs, you are well within your rights to shoot from the road and the building owner cannot stop you, UNLESS it's some high security government-owned building and then you're asking to be followed, have all your tax returns audited, etc etc etc. The only thing you can't do is use a zoom to shoot into a room in a building which would be deemed a private area (trying to catch someone inside their private domain). Normally, they can't stop you from shooting on a public sidewalk or roadway, and they cannot take your film. Invite them to call a police officer who can then inform THEM of your rights. There's a little PDF file floating around the net on your US rights. I'd advise printing it off - in fact a few copies, in nice 8pt font :biggrin: and hand it to the security guard.

    I'll see if I can find the audio interview with a lawyer regarding all of this. Informative, but a bit long.... hang on...
    Lengthy interview of Bert Krages, a lawyer who specializes in Photography and the Law.
    The podcast is available for download. You can get it from ITunes or listen to it here:
    Download it and then skip the first 19 minutes as it's just blathering about nothing to do with this.
  7. SoCalBob


    Feb 9, 2006
    Riverside, CA

    What a coincidence that you post this question now. I was just over on Flickr and the D50 Users group has a current thread discussing the same topic with a couple of excellent links concerning photographers' rights.

    First, here is a USA Today article in which the author very thoroughly researched the legal aspects of where, what and when you can take pictures.


    And this is a concise PDF file that can be downloaded and printed on a single 8.5x11 sheet that is a handy guide to carry with you. It was prepared by Bert Krages, an attorney who is also a photographer, and is titled, "The Photographer's Right -- Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography."


    BTW, Jeff, as the above links indicate, you were perfectly within your rights to be taking pictures in the mall (restricted only by certain limitations discussed in the USA Today article having to do with people's reasonable expectations of privacy). I know many malls do have a policy barring photography, which they are entitled to have because a mall is private property.
  8. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    All helpful and thanks,

  9. A correction, Bob, a mall owner does have the right to prohibit photography. They can either post a notice at the entrance, or if they approach you, you must desist if requested to desist. The right to restrict photography belongs to the owner of the property. A shop owner in the mall does not have the right to restrict you outside his shop, but the mall owner does. It's at 26:50 into the interview with Bert Krages.
    He does recommend that if a security guard at the mall tells you to stop, ask to speak to the management of the mall and see what they have to say. Usually they'll just ask you what and why you're shooting and they do want your business.
  10. biggstr6


    Apr 26, 2005
    Good info . I printed some copies I'm gonna keep in my bag. And I think I may hand deliver one to that young security guard just for the fun of it.
  11. Jeff,
    who was the "He", who asked you politely to stop? a Security guard?, I'm assuming not, as you saw this person speaking to one as you left...
    Just some nosy buttinsky who didn't like what you were doing??? I then hope they lodged a complaint about all the security cameras around them...
    I have little tolerance for people who just can't mind their own beezwax : ~ )
  12. Jim, it actually might have been mall management who then called in security in case it got ugly. Since the guy was more concerned about shooting pics of the stores, I'm thinking he was management. Most buttinskies would be concerned about you shooting pics of people.
  13. This is not usually a good idea. Police officers are rarely trained in this type of issue. You would most likely find a police officer who has no concept of the relative rights of a property owner and a photographer. That officer will just give advice on the basis of what he thinks sounds good at the moment. I have seen many occasions, in court, where someone, who has committed some act that opens him up to civil liability, says that he took that course of action because a policeman advised him to do so.
  14. Sound advice Cliff. Actually, around here in the big city, if someone called the police for something like this, they'd have at least a 45-60 minute wait while the police attended to stuff that matters :smile:. I was thinking more along the lines of once you say that to a security guard, they might have second thoughts as to whether they're correct or not.
  15. That is incorrect. A property owner has the right to set the rules for photo taking, on his property. A mall owner, who bans or restricts photography, in his mall, has the right to tell you to leave the premises, if you do not comply with such a mall rule.

    Though we see many threads about how, since 9/11, there has been a proliferations of new restrictions on photography, the banning of photography, by mall owners, long pre-dated 9/11. Though there are several reasons for such bans, the main reason is that the mall's tenants (business owners) do not want their competitors taking photographs of there window or other merchandising displays. The mall owner will find it easier to go along with their tenants, on this issue, than to end up in arguments with them, or have them withholding rent or common area charges, in retaliation for the mall owner not helping them on this issue. By the way, about 20 years ago, I was counsel for the shopping center division of the largest real estate developer in the U.S.
  16. vettenut


    Feb 27, 2006
    Tolland CT
    Hi Gang

    Guess this raises interesting comments from all points of view. Just for the record once I was approached I honored the request and did not take any additional pictures. The person who questioned me was an employee of the mall (not a security guard) appeared to be part of a maintenance crew. I informed him I was taking pictures of the structure itself some of people and such and he didn't seem to care just told me to stop. I went to the web site of the Mall itself and could not find anything stating that photography is not allowed and there was no notices on any of the entrances stating such.

    I plan to go to the visitors center next time I am in the mall and ask them what the policy is and ask to see it in writing and plan to write to the mall management once I have a "Name" per se. The mall promotes a Mall walker program and I would like to get permission to interview people and photograph them to write a story I could possibly submit to a local paper. But we'll see how it goes. Thanks for all the interesting links.- Jeff
  17. cooleyjb


    Oct 4, 2006
    I'm gonna guess that the reason that malls do not allow photography is not for the mall but for the mall tenants. A number of businesses I have dealt with in the past do not like people photographing their place of business. To the business it falls under a idea similar to corporate spying. I think it's silly but a business does have a right to protect it's brand/interest/whatever and they are the ones that have pushed malls to not allow photography.
  18. vettenut


    Feb 27, 2006
    Tolland CT
    Some of the mall pics

    As I said in the original post, I didn't keep too many shots as I was using the different lighting situations in the mall to experiment with my white balance controls, but here are are few of the pics. - Jeff

    Even the stuffed animals are kept behind bars

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Some of the Saturday morning "Mall" walkers

    View attachment 86830

    A few structural type shots....

    View attachment 86831

    View attachment 86832
  19. In January, I shot pics inside of Boston's Logan airport (being the place the 9/11 planes departed from, they're highly paranoid at times!), and then again in London's Heathrow airport. Pics of gate signs with times (snapshot stuff for my travel album), planes at gates, etc.
  20. Like the mall examples, many people think that the ban on cameras in airports is a reaction to 9/11. As long as I can remember, cameras, particularly those that appear "professional", have been banned from airports. In 1968, a fraternity brother and I went to the airport in Cleveland, Ohio, to meet a friend. My fraternity brother was carrying an SLR. He was not allowed to enter the terminal with the camera.
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