Your hipster photos of peeling paint and cracked pavements? The Long Beach police are actually stopping photographers from snapping pics of objects with “no apparent aesthetic value”. Have they never heard of beauty being in the eye of the beholder?
According to police chief Jim McDonnell, who spoke to The Long Beach Post, if officers find someone taking photos “of something like a refinery… it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” Basically, if you’re not taking photos in “regular tourist behaviour”, the local Californian police feel they have the right to stop and question you.
This comes after a Long Beach Post contributor, Sander Roscoe Wolff, was detained by a local police officer for taking the above photo of a refinery. Now, it’s important to point out that the police aren’t trained photographers, nor have they been educated in what makes for suitable photographic subjects — the officers make a judgment “based on their overall training and experience”, falling back on their Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) guidebooks which state the policy is “to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyse information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism.”