Friday, April 03, 2009

Chelsea Cops Illegally Cracking Down on Legal Photography?

Upon arriving home tonight, I was very disturbed to see that both Bostonist and Photography is not a Crime had published posts about a man in Boston's "inner ring urban suburb" of Chelsea being coerced by Chelsea PD to delete photographs he took in a public park. But not just any public park--O'Malley park, one of my favorite parks in all of urban Boston.

O'Malley park is great, and the entire city of Chelsea can be very photogenic. I've biked through many times, and was even stopped en route by Boston officers once, who were extremely professional, courteous, and well-trained. They were responding to a call about a "middle eastern male videotaping the powerplant"--when in fact my white ass had taken a photo of a passing tugboat. They were so professional that I didn't mind that they had followed me into Everett, outside their jurisdiction.

But back to Chelsea. O'Malley Park provides great views not only of the Tobin Bridge and much of Downtown Boston, but of the hardworking docks in adjacent Everett. Among the many activities that go on at the docks is the import of highly flammable liquified natural gas (LNG). Since the ships are large enough to see from space, and since the ships are threaded through downtown Boston and then dock in the bull's eye of a metro area with a population of 5 million, it seems to me that taking pictures of the ships--which I have often done--should be the least of anyone's worries. But, as always, anyone with a camera is cast as a would-be terrorist, who would prefer to conspicuously wander public streets with an SLR rather than just look up targets on Google StreetView or Windows Live Bird's Eye View. Makes no sense.

I'm making it my mission to get out on my bike more this spring, and I always have a camera with me. If I look suspicious to you, feel free to say hello and ask me some questions. But if you ask me to destroy my own legally acquired property, that's not going to happen.

Here are a bunch of images I've shot in Chelsea during my tenure in Massachusetts:

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