Wow, talk about charging people up, good or bad.. I never expected the response I got yesterday. I was hoping to inform some people about what was going on (like those of us who have been accosted because of taking photographs need reminding). I also wanted to point out the the “War on Photography” is not just limited to Homeland Security. Over the years, the National Parks were sometimes difficult to work in because of specific rangers, not a management decision to harass photographers. It has gotten better as more rangers are informed as to what the policy is for photography within the park. And photographers can be stupid and do stupid things within our parks, I’m not denying that (just like regular people can do stupid things like get too close to the bears, bison, elk, etc).
But Denali’s Road proposal was aimed in part at attempting to limit photographers’ access while giving more access to the Cruise lines. It is not photographers’ griping about wanting access, it is about the fairness of access previously granted for a long time being taken away and handed over to private companies to make more profit. If anyone out there is put out by professional photographers making money off of images they produce in parks, you might want to ask one next time you see them how good business is. We do this for the love of creating images that people can enjoy and identify with and see the beauty of areas that most people really don’t want to venture into.
But several people brought up the issue of “what about the amateurs who want to photograph?”. That’s a great question. In reality the park should be more open and accessible to all people who want to experience the park and not on restrictive terms of Denali. It should be the Park’s job to figure out how to accomadate people who want to go in early or stay late to take images, not just take the easy way out and give more passes to big businesses. It is OUR park.. We need to protect it, but we also want access to it and not be told that big business comes first. If the park service would allow pro photographers to get the permits to do photography tours, then more people would have access to do the kind of photography they want to do. Not photography only on the timetable of the bus or driver.
I put this out there because the War on Photography does exist on public lands were people are told they can’t have access to photograph.. You don’t have to be arrested or considered for a terrorist act to be a victim in the War on Photography.
Here are a few images in which no one was harassed or even approached while creating these works.. They are from yesterday in the Cherokee Forest along the Tellico River in TN.
If you have a story from your experiences on photography and being harassed, post them here so all can see what is going on..