A provocative new exhibition at the New York Public Library challenges new bans on taking pictures in public space, and proposes the idea that photography is in some ways an exercise of eminent domain.
"In 2005, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority considered, then backed away from, a proposal to ban photography on subways and buses (unless a permit was obtained). In 2007, the Bloomberg administration faced a firestorm from photographers and filmmakers over a proposal to restrict video recording on streets and in other public spaces.
Stephen C. Pinson, the curator of photography at the New York Public Library, sees the debates as examples of the fine line between public and private, a line that has always been an issue in photography.
In a short book accompanying "Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City," a new exhibition at the library, Mr. Pinson writes: 'Indeed, issues of privacy and image rights have troubled photography throughout its history; with the shift to digital media and the increasing regulation of public space (both literal and virtual), these issues are becoming even more complex. A photograph, after all, is a transaction between private and public that is negotiated through the taking of an image - a kind of eminent domain of the visual realm.'"