When I initially started the subway project, I had the idea to photograph both the inside and outside of every subway station in
On the very first day of the project, I was five stops in, at the 207
Finally, some more senior, plainclothes officers eventually arrived, questioned me, and released me. I was not ticketed or charged with any illegal activity. Unfortunately, they had no good advice on how could avoid similar run-ins subsequently in my project, so I decided to just try to avoid cops seeing my camera whenever possible.
After this incident I was concerned that something was amiss. While I had not been greatly harmed by the police intervention, I was also confident that had I not been dark-skinned there was no way I would have been detained by them. I contacted a lawyer friend who encouraged me to get in touch with the New York Civil Liberties Union. The NYCLU had been trying through legal means to get the NYPD to reform their heavy-handed policies regarding photographers and videographers in
The case received a good amount of press, both in