Photogs stage Ellsworth Drive protest

About 100 shutterbugs clicked, snapped and beeped in an Independence Day declaration of “photographic freedom.”

The protest, organized by Free Our Streets, railed against perceived limitations to expression in the Downtown Silver Spring shopping area.

“Corporations are building developments with your money and taking your rights away,” photographer Chip Py told protesters as they assembled on the Veterans Plaza turf. “We need to make sure we exercise our rights.”

Photographer Chip Py, state senator Jamie Raskin (D-20) and Penguin editor Jennifer Deseo talk about the Downtown Silver Spring photo walk. Video photography by Ron Pace for The Silver Spring Penguin.

The Peterson Cos. leases Ellsworth Drive from the county and accepted public funds to develop the area. According to Py, the company banned him and other photographers from snapping pics on Ellsworth Drive in early June.

However, local blog Just Up the Pike spoke with a company representative, who said there never was a photo ban.

“If we see someone with a nice-looking camera, we ask them to check it with the guards,” the company rep told blogger Dan Reed. “We ask that people be respectful and not [be] disruptive.”

Still, Py told The Penguin that company policies could easily impose on other First Amendment rights, such as the right to assemble or to distribute political literature.

The company has since altered its photography policy, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Updated Jul 5, 2007, at 11:36 a.m.


9 Responses to “Photogs stage Ellsworth Drive protest”

  1. thecourtyard says:

    Peterson lawyer (and former Channel 4 anchor) I.J. Hudson was, in fact, there to watch the protest – and we talked to him: check out Just Up The Pike.

  2. Thanks, Dan! Good scoop.

  3. Mike says:

    Do you feel that you can report objectively on this when you participated in the protest yourself?

  4. That’s a fair question, Mike.

    While I did attend the photo walk (the chalk grafitti was the extent of my participation), I exercised as much objectivity as humanly possible when writing the article.

    The general rule is to cite at least three sources. In this case, I cite photographer Chip Py, the Peterson Cos. rep (as reported by Just Up the Pike), and a story from The Baltimore Sun. (There’s also some uncited stuff from people with the Silver Spring Regional Center.)

    Also, I try to make clear that the opinions expressed are those of the people interviewed.

    I leave it up to Penguin readers to determine whether my reporting is objective.

    Thanks for your question, Mike!

  5. johnny blaze says:

    Isn’t it clear that Jen lives in Silver Spring–and has an expressed interest in seeing it remain a safe, inviting, livable community? How can she possibly be dispassionate about anything she reports here? Frankly, that’s exactly why I visit this blog/news site. If I wanted objectivity, I’d read the Washington Post or the Gazette. Do YOU, Jen.

  6. […] review follows an Independence Day “photo walk” on Ellsworth Drive, in which about 100 shutterbugs protested perceived limits on photography, […]

  7. […] The free-speech discussion began in June, when security guards at the shopping center asked local shutterbug Chip Py to stop snapping pics on Ellsworth Drive. The incident sparked a Fourth of July “photo walk” and demonstration. […]

  8. […] The whole issue of First Amendment rights on Ellsworth Drive started with a photograph. In June, security guards at the shopping center asked local shutterbug Chip Py to stop snapping pics. The incident sparked a Fourth of July “photo walk” and demonstration. […]

  9. […] And since some people don’t seem to understand what’s wrong with the Giant (and yes, the Thayer Safeway *is* worse), I’m thinking of doing a video blog with a camera in the store to highlight all of its shortcomings. Hoping it won’t be another Chip Py incident. […]

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