Photography is not a crime

Ariel Jimenez

Downtown Los Angeles was shinning red, white and blue the night of January 31st, but it wasn’t in celebration. LAPD shut down a gathering of photographers fueled by social media.

A group of amateur and professional photographers met up for the monthly photo-meet named Flaskmob put together by social media groups Conquer La, Weownthenight and Flaskmob. These events are held in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. They are posted on the app Instagram and can be followed by simply adding the page.

That night they gathered about 500 to 1000 shutterbugs to the streets of Downtown Los Angeles starting at Mission road and exploring what the city had to offer. This large number of people startled and alerted authorities, thinking it was some type of protest but ended up being a peaceful movement for people who love the arts.

“I just feel the cops over exaggerated but all in all it was fun they were peaceful with us and we were also peaceful towards them”, said slightly disappointed Martin Cenena but also added, “I’m sure there will be another Flaskmob meet and I will always show my love and support for the movement.”

Another La based photographer on the scene was Cristian Altamirano, who by the sight of the cops was very surprised, “Cops assumed we were protesting next thing you know the swat and helicopters were following us.” Eventually they let them go, after boxing them in on the mission road bridge. The disappointed photographers dispersed in groups of ten to break up such a huge crowd.

This movement rallies many Los Angeles based photographers to roam the streets of this beautiful city at night for some fun. Photographers also use these events to network with others who share their passion for the art of photography, videography and modeling. Many such Cristain Altamirano were just looking forward to, “taking some awesome pictures while having a good time with friends and a bunch of random people” he also added “At these gatherings a few if not, many photographers, videographers, models and sometimes just regular people gather around to create visual art by using steel wool, flares, smoke bombs and anything they can use to capture memorable imagery.”

What caused the authorities to notice the group, were all the tools they use to create an interesting photo. Such as steel wool, which is basically rings of fire that are harmless but made the group seem like protesters also many do the act of fire blowing for a grand photo.

Many express that these gatherings are harmless and will never stop. They simply want to take pictures and have a good time. Hopefully LAPD can see that it was a harmless gathering and let the movement continue to bring joy to many aspiring photographers.