I even had this crazy notion that I would don a wig as I entered the station to prevent the security guards from recognizing me, which would no doubt lead to them assaulting me and stealing my cameras.
But then a few of my fellow protesters straightened me out over lunch at Flanigan’s. They reminded me that the whole point of this protest was to prove that I had the right to take photos without having to be sneaky about it.
So I tossed that notion aside and walked into the Metrorail without any disguise.
In fact, I even told the 50 State security guards at the gate that I planned to walk inside with my cameras and that I hope we would have no problems.
They told me that as long as I paid the fare, there would be no problems.
And they were right.
The truth is, the guards knew we were coming because they read the blog. And there were at least six security guards on duty when we arrived when there is normally two per station.
But the guards on duty treated us with the utmost respect. They never once forbade any of us from taking photos or shooting video. They didn’t even raise a fuss when Jim Winters of Nikon Miami stepped off the southbound train with two banners that boldly stated, “Photography is Not a Crime.”
Last week, Eric Muntan, Chief of Security and Safety for Miami-Dade Transit, sent a letter to Mickey H. Osterreicher, attorney for the National Press Photographers Association, specifying that photography and videography is legal on the Metrorail without a permit as long as it is not being done for commercial purposes.
Osterreicher fired back with his own response, saying the law must be clarified.
So the only thing the guards asked us not to do was step on the yellow line that marked the edge of the platform, which was just for our own safety. They also asked us to roll up the banner once we stepped onto the train, which was understandable because it was a little crowded.
Once inside the train to Government Center, we came across a man rapping about life in Overtown, one of Miami’s most notorious inner-city neighborhoods, so that made things a little interesting.
There were about 20 of us altogether, which is a respectable number considering it was pouring rain at the time of the scheduled protest. Several more photographers showed up once it was over at around 2:30 p.m. and several more were still texting and calling me at 3 p.m. wondering if we were still protesting.
Joel Chandler, the troublemaker from Tampa I’ve written about, drove five hours to make the protest.
Crespo and Jahn both wrote an account of the protest on their respective sites as well as added more pictures than what you see here. You will also see more photos on Matt’s Photo Blog. Jordon has more photos on his Facebook page and Clark has more photos on his Flickr page.
The top video was shot by Maria de los Angeles of Sex and the Beach. She also shot the video below where I am briefly wearing the wig.
I shot and produced the second video from the top.
I want to thank all those who showed up, including those who came a little late and missed the actual protest as well as those who were supporting us through Twitter as Maria was live streaming it.
And I especially want to thank the security guards from 50 State who were on duty Sunday for respecting our rights as photographers.
Progress has been made.