“No photography allowed”…or is it?

I took advantage of a rare sunny, not-so-frigid day to get out and make some pictures. My peregrinations took me to the Indiana bank of the Ohio River, across from downtown Louisville. 

I happened upon a small public park—deserted today—situated next to an oil company’s small riverbank facility. I’m not certain, but I think it was the shore terminus for a cross-river pipeline of some sort. This got my attention—I’m always drawn to industrial facilities as photographic subject material.

The shore station was surrounded by the usual chain-link fence crowned with concertina wire, and was plastered with signs all around: “no smoking”, “authorized personnel only”…and “no photography allowed”. Hmmm.

I wonder if the sign-placers know that they have no legal authority by which to prevent me, standing on a public street next to a public park, not on private property, from photographing a structure in plain view? I did not have the chance to test their legal theory, since there was not a soul in sight, and since the installation proved to be disappointing from a subject-material standpoint.

Not picking on this oil company, nor upon oil companies in general—I have nothing against them per se. But surely a corporation with their means can either hire or retain a caliber of legal counsel adequate to know that their publicly-viewable facility can be photographed ad libitum by anyone who walks by on the public road twenty feet away.

They might want to think about a privacy fence—on their property of course.


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