Police May Detain Photographers If Their Photographs ‘Have No Aesthetic Value’

3TAg1How are the police to distinguish between legitimate photographers taking pictures in public and terrorists-in-waiting conducting nefarious schemes? In Long Beach, cops’ duties now include determining what is art, and detaining picture-takers whose photos have “no apparent aesthetic value”. So don’t take an ugly photo like the one at right, unless you want to be carted off as a terror suspect. Via Techdirt:

Apparently the police in Long Beach, California, have a policy that says if a police officer determines that a photographer is taking photos of something with “no apparent esthetic value,” they can detain them. This revelation came after photographer Sander Roscoe Wolff was taking the photo.

The police officer somehow determined that there couldn’t be esthetic value there, and thus, the photographer had to be detained and checked out. The police are defending this policy, saying that while officers don’t have any specific training in what qualifies as “apparent esthetic value,” they will stop anyone photographing things they don’t consider to be something a “regular tourist” would photograph. I actually have to go down to Long Beach next month for a speaking engagement, and I’m now tempted to take a bunch of photographs that have “no apparent esthetic value.”

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  • Anarchy Pony

    I have a whole photo book about the industrial landscape. The whole point of it was to take pictures of things that have no aesthetic value…

  • Wanooski

    I have a whole photo book about the industrial landscape. The whole point of it was to take pictures of things that have no aesthetic value…

  • Rex Vestri

    Welcome to the Fascist States of America

  • Rex Vestri

    Welcome to the Fascist States of America

  • DR

    America has become the laughing stock of the universe…unreal

  • DR

    America has become the laughing stock of the universe…unreal

  • Hadrian999

    Imagine what would have happened to Andy Warhol

  • Hadrian999

    Imagine what would have happened to Andy Warhol

  • ICE

    got to pass an art appreciation exam to become an officer? I thought you had to score low on the IQ test to become an officer

  • ICE

    got to pass an art appreciation exam to become an officer? I thought you had to score low on the IQ test to become an officer

    • kev

      I want to say that I think this insane that this is happening and what our country has come to. But don’t insult the police they are only following rules from their superiors. Also if you call the police with a problem you have you going to tell him then he or she has a low IQ test score and that their job is an easy one. I highly doubt it.

      • Andrew

        There’s nothing wrong with criticizing someone for just following orders.  What happened to personal responsibility?

      • ICE

        if you score too high on the test in CT they do not hire you because smart people have a low tolerance for boredom and police work is terribly boring most of the time. and if you are overly depended on the  police for emergencies you might as well be dead. and only a person with low IQ would insult the organization they are calling for help. your comment is boring. mine was comic relief based on facts. everyone knows the force is overly corrupted and their superiors are cops as well with low IQs. law enforcement is an industry just like the rest but please dont be a fan boy unless you were actually so uncreative and naive with your life that you decided to join their ranks. we need support for more freedom not control.

      • Gnosticdancer

        Is that any excuse??

        Here is a story you might have missed
        A black cop on camera stating that he would enforce segregation because that is what he was being paid to do!

        http://georgedonnelly.com/opinion/black-dc-cop-would-enforce-segregation

  • You

    fuck the pig.  where is the anger people? this path of censoring and decivility will continue without your rage.

  • You

    fuck the pig.  where is the anger people? this path of censoring and decivility will continue without your rage.

    • ICE

      most people feel they are to blame for all the emotional abuse done to them. the anger only comes as their  last words. i blame Christianity and religions like it that advocate, that peons should always turn the other cheek, fear an invisible god and always always think as the establishment has instructed them, because if they dont they will die even faster. Those who have the courage and will to fight gain success and power, unfortunately evil people have that drive and good people do not. And the super organism of humanity has to do some pretty crazy stuff to make good people stand up, and use the cahones for once to create change. And that is usually some sort of shock to the individuals system or else they would do nothing. Im in this state of suspended animation and im about to burst 

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheeUncondemningMonk Uncondemning Monk

    if they only understood aesthetics, even if they did a wiki on it (these so called Officer’s of the Law)… they would understand that all has aesthetic value, but what that value is (and here is the part about judgement) varied, and as it pertains to what is art (?), good middle finger luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheeUncondemningMonk Uncondemning Monk

    if they only understood aesthetics, even if they did a wiki on it (these so called Officer’s of the Law)… they would understand that all has aesthetic value, but what that value is (and here is the part about judgement) varied, and as it pertains to what is art (?), good middle finger luck!

  • Happyinlove

    What is the esthetic value of their uniforms? They should be arrested.

  • Happyinlove

    What is the esthetic value of their uniforms? They should be arrested.

  • blah

    just have a long winded pseudy explanation of what yer doin, so it sounds artsy

  • blah

    just have a long winded pseudy explanation of what yer doin, so it sounds artsy

  • BuzzCoastin

    The Homeland is a Police State, deal with it.

    • ICE

      no. never give up never surrender 

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The Homeland is a Police State, deal with it.

  • Jerry

    Irregular tourists, especially irregular photographers, beware. 

  • Jerry

    Irregular tourists, especially irregular photographers, beware. 

  • kev

    I want to say that I think this insane that this is happening and what our country has come to. But don’t insult the police they are only following rules from their superiors. Also if you call the police with a problem you have you going to tell him then he or she has a low IQ test score and that their job is an easy one. I highly doubt it.

  • Tuna Ghost

    There’s something inherently hilarious about a group of overweight, middle-aged detectives debating art theory in the staff room.  Picture Dennis Franz sitting on a desk saying “Well the problem with the expressionist theory of art, Sargeant, is that you run into issues with things like artists who work on commission, or even photographers.  Weitgenstein said…” and so on.  

    • Bumerry

      Love this scene you’ve conjured up. Do try to tone the prejudice down though: being overweight or middle aged or Asian or tall has no bearing on the ability to understand aesthetic value or discuss art history and philosophy. I need not suit you idiosyncratic sexual or aesthetic preferences to earn a right to my own views. Basing your opinions on others’ worth on whether you want to fuck them is kind of shallow.

      • Tuna Ghost

        How did you know I want to have sex with Dennis Franz, not even Dennis Franz knows that

  • Tuna Ghost

    There’s something inherently hilarious about a group of overweight, middle-aged detectives debating art theory in the staff room.  Picture Dennis Franz sitting on a desk saying “Well the problem with the expressionist theory of art, Sargeant, is that you run into issues with things like artists who work on commission, or even photographers.  Weitgenstein said…” and so on.  

  • 5by5

    From the article: McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.” 

    How about regular artistic behavior? Because I’d happily take a picture of the same exact thing so I that I could capture that rusted surface for use as a texture in one of my 3D scenes…. 

    No training indeed. This is totally ASS. It’s official. 9/11 has driven this country batshit INSANE.

  • 5by5

    From the article: McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.” 

    How about regular artistic behavior? Because I’d happily take a picture of the same exact thing so I that I could capture that rusted surface for use as a texture in one of my 3D scenes…. 

    No training indeed. This is totally ASS. It’s official. 9/11 has driven this country batshit INSANE.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    You thought judging what’s obscene was hard, try judging what contains ‘aesthetic value.’ Shit, try finding a police officer that can define aesthetic. I’ll wait.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    You thought judging what’s obscene was hard, try judging what contains ‘aesthetic value.’ Shit, try finding a police officer that can define aesthetic. I’ll wait.

  • http://twitter.com/btezra btezra

    what a crock of shit.

  • http://twitter.com/btezra btezra

    what a crock of shit.

  • Andrew

    There’s nothing wrong with criticizing someone for just following orders.  What happened to personal responsibility?

  • ICE

    if you score too high on the test in CT they do not hire you because smart people have a low tolerance for boredom and police work is terribly boring most of the time. and if you are overly depended on the  police for emergencies you might as well be dead. and only a person with low IQ would insult the organization they are calling for help. your comment is boring. mine was comic relief based on facts. everyone knows the force is overly corrupted and their superiors are cops as well with low IQs. law enforcement is an industry just like the rest but please dont be a fan boy unless you were actually so uncreative and naive with your life that you decided to join their ranks. we need support for more freedom not control.

  • ICE

    most people feel they are to blame for all the emotional abuse done to them. the anger only comes as their  last words. i blame Christianity and religions like it that advocate, that peons should always turn the other cheek, fear an invisible god and always always think as the establishment has instructed them, because if they dont they will die even faster. Those who have the courage and will to fight gain success and power, unfortunately evil people have that drive and good people do not. And the super organism of humanity has to do some pretty crazy stuff to make good people stand up, and use the cahones for once to create change. And that is usually some sort of shock to the individuals system or else they would do nothing. Im in this state of suspended animation and im about to burst 

  • ICE

    no. never give up never surrender 

  • Dave

    Freedom no longer has [asthetic] value.

  • Dave

    Freedom no longer has [asthetic] value.

  • Dave

    Freedom no longer has [asthetic] value.

  • Bumerry

    Love this scene you’ve conjured up. Do try to tone the prejudice down though: being overweight or middle aged or Asian or tall has no bearing on the ability to understand aesthetic value or discuss art history and philosophy. I need not suit you idiosyncratic sexual or aesthetic preferences to earn a right to my own views. Basing your opinions on others’ worth on whether you want to fuck them is kind of shallow.

  • Tuna Ghost

    How did you know I want to have sex with Dennis Franz, not even Dennis Franz knows that

  • Gnosticdancer

    Is that any excuse??

    Here is a story you might have missed
    A black cop on camera stating that he would enforce segregation because that is what he was being paid to do!

    http://georgedonnelly.com/opinion/black-dc-cop-would-enforce-segregation

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