Let's say I want to be able to move freely through police cordons during demonstrations and riots. If I get myself a
- professional looking camera with a huge lens and petal hood
- orange reflective vest that reads "PRESS"
- and a fake press pass (pic related)
is it gonna work? Will the police let me through?
Maybe, but probably not.
There's no such thing as a real press card anymore, because of exactly what you're describing doing. The way to get through a cordon is to be real press and work the beat long enough that the cops there know and like you.
Dressing up in police uniform is a punishable offence, unlike having a fake press card that has no legal status.
Besides, I want to take pictures of riots. Photographing in a riot gear would have been a little bit suspicious.
>Dressing up in police uniform is a punishable offence
If you don't have anything explicitly identifying you as a cop then you can't get in trouble
>Photographing in a riot gear would have been a little bit suspicious.
They do it all the time. It's a good way to get shit thrown at you. Protesters love photographing the police but get pissy when the tables are turned.
> I want to take pictures of riots
Is there a high frequency of constant rioting near you? Riots are spontaneous, not sure how you're planning to prepare for it - unless you're doing a lot of traveling to political and economical hotspots, that is.
>Riots are spontaneous
Not if you print out several hundred of these and put them in the mailboxes of a culturally enriched neighborhood.
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as a professionel riot and stil life photographer I can tell you that all is about your attitude. ofc a pro cam and a decent sign of your profession helps. but better a card on a ribbon around your neck than an orange west. no pro is running around like that anymore.
but what decides, is your attitude. the only way is to be absolutely concentrated in picturing. go everywhere like it is the most natural thing for you to do. don't care about anything and anyone. if an official stops you, don't even talk, just go through him. if he stops you violently than just go somewhere else. if you really can behave like that, you'll come everywhere, as long there is no strict order to don't let anybody through.
this is why people with a high understanding of the role of journalism in society are best in it. they know that they are legitimated to document ANYTHING. it is a basic right. ... at least when you are not in some stupid totalitarian shit country with no press freedom .. like usa or shit like that.
>Is there a high frequency of constant rioting near you? Riots are spontaneous, not sure how you're planning to prepare for it - unless you're doing a lot of traveling to political and economical hotspots, that is.
Not really. Low intensity conflicts have been more common since the migrant crisis started. The idea is that whenever shit hits the fan, I'll just grab a fake press pass so that I can take pitures without getting too much unwanted attention from both the police and the protesters.
I used to live near a famous squat. From time to time the police tried to oust the squatters and the squatters fortified themselves on the roof of the building. Or the squatters organized an unannounced carnival. That was fun. Mounted police units included and all.
Reporters don't wear those vests, but they usual do shoot with cameras owned by their media service, and they are fully insured. If you're in the middle of a riot, a smashed or stolen AP or Getty camera gets replaced. Your smashed or stolen camera is gone.
You don't even need press credentials to PJ stuff like this. Just a good idea of what you should and shouldn't be doing, how to talk to cops and follow their directions, and when to gtfo if shit starts getting really crazy.