Taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value”

The police chief of Long Beach, Calif. defends as consistent with department policy the detention of photographers who snap such shots. [Romenesko]


  • I have heard of the thought police but not the art police.

  • I’ve never heard of anyone convicted of this. Usually it’s pled down to misdemeanor bad taste.


  • Remember how people used to say this is a “free country?” Well, you can’t really say that anymore. One of these days, I hope a cop arrests someone for doing this and grabs the camera and gets charged with armed robbery.

  • Right. It was a really free country in 1900. The good ole days that never were.

    That said, this story is completely crazy. But that is the great thing about 2011: this is the last time this policy will be implemented.

  • @Ron Miller: “this is the last time this policy will be implemented in this particular jurisdiction, if the court rules appropriately


    There are an awful lot of jurisdictions that are going to have to be taught this lesson, one at a time.

  • I saw a picture in an art museum, reputed to be worth a million dollars that was almost 100% solid white, the artist scribbled a bit in the corners with a pencil. I saw a collection of art in a museum that consisted of bundles of clothing/rags tied together with string. A art museum considered a rectangle of smooth peanut butter, art. Who can possibly decide if something has “esthetic” value?

  • Why must the police continue to go around discrediting themselves? We need them. We need them to be respected. Isn’t there any adult supervision at LAPD? No one with the needed perspective to say: people are going to think you’re a complete idiot if you say that?

  • Photography is not a crime.

    False arrest, however, is.

  • The Police’s job is to enforce the law; not play judge and jury. I realize they’re completely inconsistent, and selectively enforce laws to harass people, however, the real anger should be directed at the lawmakers who enacted such a law.

    (I called the police the other day when someone was stealing my recyclables. There’s an ordinance against this, that specifically includes ones that are left on the curb in the recycle box. The cop caught her red-handed, warned her, and let her go. “Why?” I asked. “She said she was sorry, and needed the money.” I was outraged! He’s not a district attorney or a judge. Arrest her! Her noise woke me up, and she was stealing.)

  • @Robert

    It’s a good thing you didn’t photograph the cop. You might have been arrested.

  • I did not know what FIFY means. Thank you Google. But, yeah, I agree with you. But stopping one stupid thing is a start.

  • Next thing you know they’ll say that electric utilities have no apparent esthetic value.