The Image Police

Bill Shear wshear at EMAIL.HSC.EDU
Fri Oct 4 13:52:59 CDT 2002


Not really relevant to the discussion (of BM[NM] images policy), but hard to
resist another chance to vent.

Several years ago I was in the process of writing and photographing for a
book on gardening.  I had to take my wife to DC for another purpose, but
decided that while she was about her business, I would visit the National
Arboretum and take some pictures for my book.

Like the honest fool I am, I stopped at the Visitor's Center to tell them
what I was about and ask permission.  I was told, rudely, and in no
uncertain terms, that photography in the garden for such a purpose was by
permit only.  Permits had to be arranged two weeks in advance and cost $200.
One had to be accompanied by a guard(?).  Any published use of the
photographs meant paying a royalty of $50 each (in the garden book game, you
would be lucky to get paid that much net for the use of a photo).  They also
told me that they had taken note of my apppearance and if I was seen
photographing in the garden, I would be ejected or arrested.

No other public garden, government-sponsored or private, treated me that way
or had such regulations.  All the others (and there were many) were
cooperative and indeed even eager to have photos of their garden appear in a
publication.  Only the People's Garden seemed to have such a regulation.

Of course, the irony is that many folks in the garden on the same day were
snapping pictures all over the place.  Had I just been content to be another
tourist, there would have been no problem.

I guess if there is relevance, marginally, it is to Doug's comments about
the unintended results of regulations.  In this case I was able to tell the
story in the preface of my book, and I hope it provided at least a little
embarassment to the managers of the National Arboretum.

Bill Shear




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