The LA Times has an interesting story about an artist, Alex Schaefer, who had set up his easel on the corner of Sylvan and Van Nuys Blvd., in front of Chase Bank, and was creating a painting of the bank in flames. The cops questioned him and the next day, detectives showed up at his home to interview him and ask if he intended to torch his subject matter.
I am reminded of an incident that happened to me several years ago in this same area.
In 2007, I had walked around the corner from this area, and was shooting daylight images of the historic 1933 Valley Municipal Building. As I was doing this, a woman came out of the building screaming, “He’s taking photos! He’s taking photos!” She later drove her car down the street and followed me as I walked westward down Sylvan St. and then she stopped and demanded to know what I was doing. I told her I was a photographer.
Painting and photography are two acts that may get you in trouble with the law. That’s America in the 21st Century.