Tag Archives | Photography

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.

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Muammar Qaddafi’s 1980s Family Photo Album

350-addTyler Hicks of the New York Times found family pictures at the the Qaddafi residence in Tripoli, and they’re amazing. How often do images of a Third World dictator make you irresistibly nostalgic for childhood?

The Qaddafis playing soccer. Baby photos. Colonel Qaddafi as a young lieutenant in the late 1960s. Later, as a father. And finally, a bizarre figure; something of an object of ridicule. A picture of Seif al-Islam atop a horse was a glossy, poster-sized print.

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Astronaut Suicides

This summer’s final NASA space shuttle mission marks the end of the 30-year era of the United States’ sending live explorers into outer space. Photographers Sara Phillips and Neil DaCosta created Astronaut Suicides, a series depicting the logical conclusion of the decision to render the astronaut an obsolete relic.

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Google Earth Begins Mapping Amazon Rainforest

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Not sure if ‘street view’ is the right term for it, but Google has begun mapping the Amazon much like it does streets in cities and towns. Via The Australian:

Two women washed clothes in the dark water of the Rio Negro as a boat glided past with a camera-laden Google tricycle strapped to the roof, destined to give the world a window into the Amazon rainforest.

A “trike” typically used to capture street scenes for Google’s free online mapping service launched last Thursday from the village of Tumbira in a first-ever project to let web users virtually explore the world’s largest river, its wildlife and its communities.

The project was the brainchild of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), which two years ago went to Google Earth with a vision of turning “Street View” into a river view in the lush and precious Amazon Basin.

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Russian Scientist Photographs The Soul

Photo: sunhome.ruMosNews reports:

The activity of Konstantin Korotkov, deputy director of the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Physical Culture and world-renowned authority on Kirlian photography, was recently highlighted by Life.ru. Korotkov is the developer of the gas-discharge visualization (GDV) technique in Kirlian photography.

Kirlian photography takes its name from Soviet electrician Semyon Kirlian, who discovered the process in 1939. It was the subject of extensive research in the 1970s in the Soviet Union and the West. It is commonly described as photographing an object’s aura. According to a website associated with Korotkov, he “confirmed earlier observations … that the stimulated electro-photonic glow around human fingertips contained astonishingly coherent and comprehensive information about the human state — both physiological and psychological.”

In other words, the GDV technique, which was developed in the late 1990s, can be used for diagnostic and assessment purposes. It is already used to measure stress and monitor the progress of medical treatments.

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Entartete Kunst in Long Beach, California

The Prophet by Emil Nolde (1912)

The Prophet by Emil Nolde (1912)

Greggory Moore writes in the Long Beach Post:

Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy.

McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

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.”

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Order No.

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Brokers With Hands On Their Faces

In need of a pick-me-up? The Tumblr Brokers With Hands On Their Faces offers an unending stream of more-pleasing-than-lolcats shots of Wall Street brokers smooshing and contorting their faces in their hands as they “find out the latest numbers” or some such. I like to think that they just realized that money is an imaginary social construct and can scarcely believe what fools they’ve been.


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Hacker Stock Photo Art

Boing Boing has a brilliant collection/dissection of the stock photography used when news websites attempt to report on “hacking” and cybercrime. Strained visual metaphors abound, and the usual suspects include disembodied hands that try to strangle you through the internet, cyber-ninja hackers, and bad teens who keep their sweatshirt hood up even though they are indoors sitting at a computer:

The color of the glow of monitor light is semiotically significant. White light, resulting in natural tones, is for victims and security experts. Blue-bathed hackers are thieves. Green-tinted hackers are exploring The Matrix. Red glows are for evil hackers, especially cyber-bullies.


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Japanese Love Hotels

Via Trendland, photographer Misty Keasler examines the strangest places on Earth, Japan’s themed love rooms, which resemble everything from gigantic bird cages to outer space to subway cars. In the future, they are where all romantic activity will be conducted:

The Love Hotel is an intensely unique Japanese institution. The themed rooms [are] rented by the hour. There are an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 of them in the country and they are so prevalent that the Japanese take them for granted.

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Tennessee Makes Posting Offensive Pictures Online Illegal

Anthony WeinerTimothy B. Lee writes on ars technica:

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

The Tennessee legislature has been busy updating its laws for the Internet age, and not always for the better. Last week we reported on a bill that updated Tennessee’s theft-of-service laws to include “subscription entertainment services” like Netflix.

The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender “reasonably should know” would “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. If the communciation lacked a “legitimate purpose,” the sender faced jail time.

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