Detained in DC

Library of CongressFrom May 10 to 14, I was in Washington, D.C. for the ISO meetings on image permanence. These meetings were held at the Library of Congress and cover issues related to the preservation of traditional and digital photos. The Library of Congress is in the center of Washington, across from the Capitol.

capitol_2_CIMG2892On Tuesday, I found myself with an hour or so between the end of the meeting and the time I was meeting one of the other participants for dinner. I decided to walk around and take a few touristy photos of the area. In spite of the fact that I visit Washington once or twice a year, I have very few photos of the area.

I wanted to document what Washington has become, so I took a picture of one of the many barricades located in front of the Library of Congress.

This photograph did not please the guard on duty, who was obviously frustrated at the lack of activity. She cornered me, demanded to know what I was doing, and why I had taken a picture. This guard  made me delete the photo of the barricade from my camera and wait inside her shack. She phoned her superior, ” I caught someone taking a photo. What should I do?” She gave them my driver’s license number and social security, eventually  concluding that I was not a risk.

D.C. Barricade

About Mark Mizen

At Creative Memories, I evaluate photographic products and related materials so that today's memories are not lost to the future and then communicate this information to Creative Memories Consultants and their customers. My interests extend from preservation of traditional photographs to the production of photo books to the expected longevity of electronic image files. My long-term objective is to direct the development of technology that meets consumers needs for high-quality products.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Detained in DC

  1. Mary says:

    What a bizarre excuse to detain you. Welcome to DC, btw. I live out by Dulles Airport. The ISO conference sounds very cool, and I’m serious about that. I can see how that could be taken as sarcasm, but now that I’m into photo preservation, I’m all about learning! I hope your visit to DC was otherwise a good venture!

  2. Mary says:

    Ooh, if you’re still here, check out the Newseum. Always a great stop.

  3. Neil Mizen says:


    Interesting reading. Who knows when this struff will stop.

  4. Great article and I love the photos taken from another angle as in focusing on the barricades and police and how different things are. Many of us don’t get to travel to DC or even large cities very often to see just how much the world has changed. And I bet you are right, your name is in some database somewhere – be careful when you leave the country next time! 😀

  5. Alan Hodgson says:

    And don’t just think it is confined to Washington. The police in London are getting equally twitchy. The Royal Photographic Society in the UK has ben active in getting clarification of the law on this. Some useful information can be found on including a link to a corresponding site clarifying US law.

  6. Mark Mizen says:

    Thanks for the information. Details on photographer’s rights in the U.S. are available at .

  7. Lisa Youngblood says:

    Very interesting reading. Our family went there for 9 days about 3 years ago. We were taking pictures all over the place. There were no barricades up at the time, but we did see the new style that can be raised and lowered easily.

    The Library of Congress was my favorite tour. It’s very fascinating to learn about its history. It’s so beautiful since the restoration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s