Less than two weeks after 20 photographers conducted a photo protest on the Miami-Dade Metrorail system, security guards were at it again, telling a photographer he was not allowed to take photos.
Obviously, Miami-Dade Transit and 50 State Security have made minimal effort to educate security guards that photography, is indeed, allowed on the Metrorail.
The latest incident occurred earlier today when Joel Mora, a recent graduate of the University of Florida’s photojournalism program, took the train from the Dadeland North Station and headed north, taking a couple of shots through the window. His initial goal was to get off at the Government Center and explore downtown Miami with his camera.
But he missed the stop and ended up getting off at the Overtown Station, which is the next one over. He took the above shot from the platform and made his way downstairs.
This is how he explains it in an email to Photography is Not a Crime:
When I headed down stairs to exit, a security guard approached me and asked me why I was taking pictures. I was a bit confused because at that moment I was on my phone and wasn’t taking pictures, so I told her I’m not taking any pictures. Then she said that I got on at the Dadeland North Station, and that I’ve been taking pictures the whole ride. Which at this point that freaked me out because apparently they’ve been watching me the whole time. It felt a little Big Brother-ish.
She then asked if I had a permit, and I said that I didn’t. I told her that I didn’t need one because it is a public place. She then proceeded to give me some bogus excuse that due to terrorism reasons I need a permit to take pictures. I told her that’s not true. I didn’t really want any problems, so I told her I wont take any pictures and that I was just making a call and that I would leave. She stayed there looking at me and started interrogating me asking me who I was, If I was a tourist, how does she know if I’m not a terrorist and all crazy kinds of questions. I told her that none of that is her business, and if she lets me make my phone call I’d get out of her way. She kept asking so I lied to her and said I was a student at FIU. She then told me I couldn’t take any pictures and she walked away to her desk where she was talking to a man.
We knew this would happen. We knew that the only reason they said nothing to us the day of the protest was because we had the numbers. And the attention of lawyers.
But we still have that. Even more so now.
So we’ll continue this game until every single of those guards gets the memo that photographers are to be left alone.