Following up on this previous article about street photography in New York, here is a story about David Cross’s encounter with the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Police. David just happens to be a senior developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. As he describes it in his blog, he was shooting casual photos near the Santa Clara Valley Light Rail System when he was interrupted by a Deputy Sheriff Robert Eng of the Santa Clara Sheriff’s department.
Deputy Eng asked David “What are you taking pictures of ?” to which David replied ”Nothing Really. Just looking for interesting things to photograph. Haven’t taken many photos actually”. To David’s surprise, deputy Eng then said “Well you might want to check out City Hall – it has won awards for architecture and it’s a really interesting spot to photograph”.
They chat a bit more about photography and it turns out Eng is a photographer himself who had just joined NAPP, where David is a developer and instructor. They exchange business cards and Eng invited David to shoot at his studio next time he was in town. With so many negative stories about photographers encounters with security personnel and law enforcement, this is really an uplifting story.
Like most jurisdictions, the City of San Jose does not restrict casual, non-commercial photography such as those David was shooting. For commercial shoots, there is a permit requirement. In an interview, deputy Eng confirmed the encounter occurred as described but referred all further comments to the Santa Clara Sherriff’s public information officer as required by protocol.