Forums > Photography Talk > Laws on public nudity

Photographer

Phantasmal Images

Posts: 643

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Douglas Photo 78 wrote:
I love the first hand experience stories! I don't know how I would have reacted with news helocopters hovering over me; wow that's insane. I guess waving papers would not have done much for them!

When the first one turned up, we just kept shooting. But within a matter of 5 minutes, three more had joined him. We were shooting along a river bank within a 1/4 mile of a highway at around 17:00. I assume the first pilot was doing a traffic report, and must have noticed the flashes from my speedlite.

I'm sure there's some video of the event in a few private collections...

Dec 07 12 07:39 pm Link

Photographer

Jon Winkleman Photo

Posts: 105

New York, New York, US

In addition to art I have been involved with politics along with organizing protests and non-violent civil disobedience. I think some general rules apply here.

Rule #1: When a police officer approaches never ever ever touch a cop. Even the most gentle non-threatening touch is legally considered assaulting a police officer which is a serious charge to fight or have on a record. I put both hands behind my back when talking with a police officer in any potentially confrontational situation.

Rule #2: Police carry guns, a billy club and handcuffs. It doesn't matter what the law says. If they want to arrest you, they will arrest you. If there are no proper grounds you need to clear that up during arraignment or if the case moves forward.

Rule#3: The police can always find other charges against you. The level of public nudity may be lawful but you can still be charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and bizarre as it might seem, I know many people who were arrested and simply charged with "resisting arrest" with no other supporting charges that give cause for arrest. Always carry the number of a lawyer.

I live in NYC and disagree with any suggestion that things are lax here. There was a court ruling a while back stating that it is discriminatory to allow men shirtless in public but not women. Still police will arrest topless women in public. Carrying a copy of the law doesn't hurt. Arguing with a cop who doesn't want to read it will tend to escalate things so drop it if they don't. If possible get a location permit even if it only grants permission to shoot in a location without any mention of nudity or the subject. That at least tells the cops you are supposed to be there and this isn't an outlaw shoot. If the cop doesn't accept the permit don't argue.

Act politely, respectfully, diplomatically and professionally. Your tone will influence how the police respond.

I usually scope out an area in advance to see how private it is and how easy it is to see someone else coming. If you have any crew have someone act as a lookout to give you a heads up. When shooting in public make the potential legal risks part of the advance conversation with everyone involved.

Dec 09 12 01:22 pm Link

Photographer

photo212grapher

Posts: 1603

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Jon Winkleman Photo wrote:
--snip--

Rule #1: When a police officer approaches never ever ever touch a cop. Even the most gentle non-threatening touch is legally considered assaulting a police officer which is a serious charge to fight or have on a record. I put both hands behind my back when talking with a police officer in any potentially confrontational situation.
--snip--

Rule #1 - keep hands in plain sight. A nervous cop is not going to go easy on you.

Dec 09 12 10:31 pm Link

Photographer

Image Magik

Posts: 1068

New Orleans, Louisiana, US

In my experience.
Don't shoot around others or in a busy area.
Be discreet.
Have clothes standing buy.
Have a lookout.

Dec 09 12 11:00 pm Link

Photographer

Photos by Lorrin

Posts: 7025

Eugene, Oregon, US

In Eugene, Nude is legal.

yet my hair dresser was told to put a top on while swimming in the river.

He said you are causing a public disturbance.

(people probably noticed because the river is so cold that being in it is crazy as it comes off a glacier)

Dec 10 12 08:34 am Link