If you photograph portraits, chances are you have a preferred public (perhaps private) space that captures your imagination. But what if your favorite spot didn't want you there anymore?
Business owners in the historic West Bottoms district of Kansas City are standing up against what they deem intrusive, uninvited photographers who use their storefronts and lobbies as backdrops for their photo shoots.
Several buildings in the area with preserved historic doorways have posted "No Trespassing" signs with "No Photography" written on the signs' blank slates below. One particular sign has "No Basic Photographers" written in, which is clearly an insult as well as a warning to the aspiring artists who have been burdening them. I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that one in the video posted by Fox 4 KC.
If you think those restricting photographer traffic are being unfair, take a step back and imagine having a storefront. One day, you hear voices near the entrance to your warehouse or shop, so you make your way there to discover a family, photographer, and assistant with full props and lighting set up in your lobby, snapping away like it's their own private studio. You tell them to leave and post a "No Trespassing/Photographers" sign. It happens again, but this time, the group is posted outside your door instead, blocking both foot traffic and street traffic to your business, which is on private property.
It's all a bit infuriating to me, even though I'm on the other end of the lens from these angry business owners. This boorish behavior gives photographers a bad name and shouldn't be tolerated by either side.
This isn't the first time Kansas City has restricted photography: I dug up more on the city's photography restrictions: Kansas City's Overland Park district requires photography permits (not uncommon across the United States), a Memorial Garden in the city also requiring permits and the Fox Article about West Bottoms, which mentions Burr Oaks woods and Kauffman Center also placing restrictions on commercial photography.
As a photographer, I like the idea of an accessible environment in which we have free rein to photograph; however, such freedoms cease to exist once you set foot on private property. Since there are already clear-cut laws on private property (such as a storefront), I'm interested in hearing opinions about photography restrictions in more public places in the comments section.
Lead photo by MabelAmber via Pixabay, used under Creative Commons.