Please Read This! Night Photography Is In Jeopardy!

Folks, I am LIVID! I’m so mad that I’m going break one of my cardinal rules and bring politics into a blog post. But this isn’t any ordinary post. It‘s a call to arms. If you value your personal freedom and/or you enjoy night photography, you need to listen closely and take action.

I created this image to help draw attention to this issue. Please feel free to download it and use it in your own efforts to prevent the NSA from outlawing night photography.

As many of you know, my sister is a professional singer and actress and as such, she has the opportunity to meet a lot of famous and important people. One person whom she has become close to works for the National Security Agency. I’ve met this person—I won’t divulge the gender—and had a nice dinner conversation about all sorts of interesting things, as you can imagine. We hit it off pretty well.

Because of the relationship with me and my sister, and the fact that I’m a professional night photographer, this person divulged some classified information to us yesterday. NSA is working on a proposal to make it illegal to take pictures after dark. You heard me; our government is considering outlawing night photography!

At first, I didn’t believe it was true. I mean, come on, such a thing is absurd, don’t you think? But this person explained all the reasoning behind it and also showed me transcripts from the actual proposal. That’s when I got mad. Really mad.

So here’s the deal. NSA views night photography as being an ideal cover-up for terrorist activity. Night photographers use tripods, big cameras and lenses, specialized gear such as large light-painting flashlights, and, most important, we use all of this stuff at night, when, in the viewpoint of NSA, terrorist activity is most likely to occur.

The thinking among some of the higher ups in NSA is that there would be too much backlash if police questioned all of the night photographers they find, not to mention the fact that the police simply do not have the manpower for such an operation. So their alternative is to outlaw the activity altogether. They feel that they can better sell that to the American public.

If you aren’t screaming by now, you should be. Think about it. Our government is considering outlawing an activity that is not harmful in any way, simply because a terrorist might use it to conceal an attack. This is far worse than phone tapping, random checks, or, as far I’m concerned, anything else the government has done to this point.

I asked my friend why night photographers were being singled out. Why is our activity more likely to be a magnet for terrorists than, say, astronomers? Their telescopes are much larger than our cameras, after all. He/she said it was because a night photographer goes everywhere. You’re not likely to find an astronomer looking through a telescope in a city or other location where a terrorist might set off a bomb, and if police did see someone in a city with a telescope, they would likely question them, anyway.

Hmm, more discrimination, I thought.

So then I asked how they planned to handle the issue of everyone having a camera phone and possibly taking pictures when they are out at night. He/she said the proposal is for outlawing only night photography that involves the use of large cameras and tripods.

Even more discrimination!

Next, I asked if they were planning to outlaw photographers from covering social or political events at night and photographers from shooting sports events. Think about it, no more coverage of a presidential debate or Monday Night Football! He/she said that the higher ups who are thinking about this understand that there will be some issues to work out and there would have to be exceptions.

Oh, perfect. I won’t be able to shoot a city skyline, but the paparazzi will still be able to nab Angelina Jolie getting out of her limousine.

And that’s when I completely blew my top. What’s next? Outlawing golf because you can carry a bazooka in a golf bag? You know, all along I have never been concerned that the government might take my guns away. In fact, I’ve always thought it was absurd to think that any administration would want to do such a thing, and even if they did, none would be so stupid as to try. And now the irony is that while I think my guns are safe, I fear my cameras might be in jeopardy.

My friend stressed to me that this is just a proposal and that it hasn’t gotten out of the NSA internal committee stage. So it hasn’t yet been presented to Homeland Security or President Obama. My friend feels that NSA would be overreaching their authority and that it could backfire on the agency if such a law were enacted. He/she feels that the best course of action is whistleblowing and getting night photographers, as well as the general public, engaged. That’s why he/she came to me.

My friend believes that if the public creates enough commotion, NSA will withdraw the proposal. I asked what the time frame was, and he/she said NSA was unlikely to move until after the mid-term elections because it could be politically harmful to President Obama.

Oh, wow, so not only is NSA plotting to take away my camera, they are more concerned about politics than my personal safety! I mean, if they genuinely believed that their proposal was sound, they should send it to President Obama right now. Geese!

While I’ve always had strong political and social viewpoints and have never been afraid for others to know what they are, I’ve never considered myself an activist. But that changed yesterday. I am fighting today not only for the activity that we all love—night photography—but also for everyone who believes in personal freedom.

What can we do?

Fortunately, because NSA is obviously more interested in politics than in national security, we have a few months to work. But we still need to start immediately. I have already drafted letters for my representatives and will send them tomorrow. Also, I will be sending a letter to all major media outlets as soon as I post this blog. I’m sure that some of them will jump on this issue. Finally, I have started a petition at change.org.

Here’s what I am asking you to do. First, please sign the online petition. My friend says that if we can get 100,000 people to sign it, NSA will be forced to submit their proposal for a secondary review from the Government Oversight Committee, which is likely to stop the proposal in its tracks. But that’s a lot of signatures and I’m not taking any chances.

Please contact your own government representatives and let them know how you feel about this issue. And don’t be surprised when they tell you they know nothing about it. As far as I know, the only people who know about at this point are a dozen or so people who work for NSA and my sister and I. The idea is for us to enlighten as many people as we possibly can.

Finally, please share this blog post with everyone you know and talk it up on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you can. With such important ramifications and in today’s social media, I’m hopeful that this issue will become viral and so many people will be demanding answers that even if we don’t reach 100,000 signatures on the petition, we can stop the proposal before it gets to the White House.

Thank you for listening. I promise I’ll return to my normal neutral stance as soon as this is all behind us.

Did you like this post? Well, I sure would appreciate it if you told your friends. Thanks!

3 Responses to “Please Read This! Night Photography Is In Jeopardy!”

  1. eoliveira Says:

    Its crazy really. In Brazil we do not have the NSA, but if you risk going out at night with your expensive equipment at any major city, chances are you will return home empty handed.

  2. Patti Edens Says:

    Uh. Something worries me about this post and I quote from above:

    “This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 7:15 am and is filed …”

    April 1st! Hmmmmm.
    An unknown person in the NSA that is a friend of a family member! Hmmmmm.

    Although, the change.org petition appears to be for real, I know you pull some pretty elaborate pranks. Convince me, Kevin!

    Doubting Patti

  3. Kevin Adams Says:

    Now, Patti. You’re not actually suggesting that I might be pulling a prank with this post, are you? Just because it happens to be on April Fool’s Day? My favorite day of the year? The day I plan for months in advance? The day my friends await to see what I might try to pull on them, yet somehow many of them still get fooled? That day?

    Maybe you should ask the 59 people who signed the petition. As soon as it hits 99, it’s going to President Obama!

    Always serious Kevin

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