So, I have this brand new camera, and I have been busy confirming my lack of photographic skills whenever I get a chance. Alone for a day in Reno, NV, I decided to go check out some of the artwork around town.
So, I figured these pics might go up on Facebook, but this isn’t a photo-blog, so I really didn’t think my trip to Reno would end up here at the northy place.
That was before I got to the Bruce R. Thompson, United States Courthouse & Federal Building. It had kind of an interesting sculpture in front of it, so I tried a few times to get a decent pic; zoomed in and out, turned the camera 90 degrees, tried it again, …you know the drill.
Enter the security guard.
He walked up rather briskly and asked me if I was doing this for commercial purposes? I answered ‘no’, and he proceeded to explain to me that if I had been doing it for commercial purposes, then I would need to get a permit. As long as I was just doing it, because I thought it was an interesting building I was okay, but taking a picture for commercial purposes required a permit. Asked why this was the case, the guard simply shrugged and said the politicians always have their regulations. What they were, he didn’t seem to know.
I had my pictures, so I walked off.
…but this has been eating me. Oh, the guard was perfectly nice about the whole thing, but still it’s eating me. I’ve studied enough legal conflicts to know just how complicated and counter-intuitive these matters can get, and normally I like to sort through the particulars before saying anything. Still! Somewhere in the scope of the First Amendment, I just can’t help thinking there ought to be room for taking a picture of a perfectly public building from a perfectly public sidewalk.
…and it shouldn’t require a damned permit to do it.
At this point I have no idea what the regulation is, or how broad its scope happens to be, much less how its framers envision its relationship to the rights of citizens. Nor do I know how much may have been lost in the translation from the particulars to what that guard said to me at that particular moment. But this is one case where I just can’t help thinking that no matter how the particulars shake out, it shouldn’t lead to exchanges like the one I had there with that guard.
Perhaps I am being unreasonable; I just don’t think so.
Since I’m thinking about it (airports and free time, you know how it goes), and since I now have story (however brief) to go with my bad photography, I am now going to inflict my pictures on those of you unfortunate enough to stumble across my blog today.
What did you expect? I’m a bad man!