Scary hooded photographers are the subject of new TSA ads for general aviation airports. (via Photography Is Not a Crime)

From Carlos Miller’s excellent Photography Is Not a Crime blog we discover that the Transportation Security Administration has slapped its name on a poster that depicts a photographer in a threatening light:

The Transportation Security Administration has published new posters that explicitly insinuate that if you are taking a picture of an airplane, you must be a terrorist and be reported to the authorities.

I contacted the TSA Public Affairs department for an explanation of the image, and Ann Davis, a spokesperson for the northeast region, clarified that the poster is for General Aviation, which deals with smaller charter airplanes, private planes, and that the TSA doesn’t regulate those airports even if the TSA often partners with the general aviation industry to promote awareness.

“They want pilots and other people in the field to be aware. This is encouraging those who use general aviation to be aware of their surroundings,” she said as a possible explanation for the image. Davis added that people can often check in with airports to get permission to take photos in various parts of the airport and they are normally permitted to take photos in public areas. Since general aviation airports are administered by local municipalities, she said, the rules are decided locally, though she added that it is not unusual for law enforcement to approach photographers and ask questions. “In GA, it’s often the local police that are responsible for keeping an eye on the perimeter of the airport,” she said.

I wonder what the TSA would think of artists like Trevor Paglen, whose focus is often places that the government doesn’t want us to know about or look at.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

3 replies on “TSA Poster Riles Some Photographers”

  1. The fact he’s wearing a hooded sweatshirt says it all really…definite criminal tendencies! I bet he’s got a pair of Unabomber mirror shades on too.

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