Photography deserves 1st amendment protection
A new bill has appeared before Congress that will provide protection to photographers plying their trade in public places.
Called the Ansel Adams Act, the bill will require administrators of buildings and spaces (national parks, government buildings, etc.) to receive a court order to prohibit photography in public spaces. Additional measures of the act will protect photographers from arrest and the unlawful search and seizure of their equipment.
It comes as a response to new regulations proposed by the U.S. Forest Service that would fine photographers upwards of $1,000 for taking pictures in national parks without an appropriate permit, according to Esquire.
The bill takes its name from the eponymous 20th century photographer whose black and white photographs of American landscapes brought him lasting fame.
Photography, like all other art, is an act of speech. It deserves to have the same recognition and protection as any other form of expression protected by the Constitution.
According to Nielsen surveys, 71 percent of Americans own smartphones: That's 171.5 million pocket-sized cameras with the potential to violate an ill-conceived and ridiculous rule proposed by the Forest Service.
Imagine having to pay money for a permit to snap selfies during a family vacation to Yellowstone; imagine being fined four figures for your tastefully filtered Instagram photo of Old Faithful.
National parks are some of our nation's greatest resources. Last year, they were visited by a total of 273,630,895 people, according to the National Park Service.
Let us not abridge the freedoms of our country's guests, domestic or foreign, for the sake of an agency trying to flex its muscle over a wild domain held and protected for the public good.
For America to truly be considered "the land of the free," all of its lands must be free: free to visit, free to experience and free to photograph.
Bernard Wilchusky is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @facilesweater or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.