“Ansel Adams Act” is Introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives
One of the ugly sides of being a nature photographer is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to legally access places to photograph; even when those places are on public lands.
Everyone loves a photograph of baby bears, or a gorgeous sunrise in the mountains, but not everyone is aware that for the last several years the right to shoot on federal lands and display that kind of photo has eroded. Several court cases have been filed by photographers to maintain their right to shoot in public places, but what truly is needed is the proverbial “Act of Congress.”
Well, here it is:
On January 2 of this year (2015) H.R. 5893 was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX). The bill is called the “Ansel Adams Act” in honor of the iconic photographer who’s images were in large part responsible for popularizing Yosemite National Park.
The current problems are spelled out succinctly and effectively in the first few paragraphs of the bill:
Congress finds as follows: (1) In recent years, the Federal Government has enacted regulations to prohibit or restrict photography in National Parks, public spaces, and of government buildings, law enforcement officers, and other government personnel carrying out their duties. (2) In recent years, photographers on Federal lands and spaces have been threatened with seizure and forfeiture of photographic equipment and memory cards, and have been arrested or threatened with arrest for merely recording what the eye can see from public spaces. (3) Even in the absence of laws or regulations, Federal law enforcement officers, other government personnel, and private contractors have been instructed to prohibit photography from public spaces, and threatened photographers with arrest or seizure of photographic equipment. (4) Arresting photographers, seizing photographic equipment, and requirements to obtain permits, pay fees, or buy insurance policies are abridgments of freedom of speech and of the press.
Beyond nature photographers like me, this bill affects ALL photography in the U.S. I, along with every photographer who shoots in public places, should be 100% behind this bill.
But you, too, as consumers of the images you see everyday in newspapers, magazines and on the internet, should get behind this and give it some traction. Contact your U.S. Representatives and let them know that 1st Amendment rights for photographers are important to the people.
You can find your local representative to the U.S. House here:
The full text of the proposed “Ansel Adams Act” can be found here: