About a year ago, I wrote this story on the unusual case of Dan Scott, a St. Albans amateur photographer who works a day job at the Burlington office of the U.S. Social Security Administration. Scott, who enjoyed taking candid photos of people in public places during his lunch hours, got into some legal hot water last year for his shutterbuggery, which made some of his subjects uncomfortable. He was subsequently issued a one-year no-trespass order by the Burlington PD, which barred him from entering dozens of businesses in downtown Burlington.
The story, which first appeared in print on March 10, 2010, went on to become the all-time most-read story, and third most emailed story, on the Seven Days website, garnering interest from other photographers, as well as First Amendment and free-speech advocates, the world over. Other websites subsequently picked up on the story, which only fueled the debate. In the process, Scott's gritty, black-and-white stills got enormous exposure that he might not have otherwise received.
About a week ago, I received an email from Scott informing me that his one-year ban has officially expired. Sadly, Scott also told me that he no longer plans to take pictures on the streets of Burlington due to the hostility his work has invoked locally.
In fact, just days after his ban expired, Scott claims he had another run-in with a Burlington police officer for (legally) taking pictures of people on the street, as he'd done repeatedly in the past. According to Scott, the officer told him that he was "pissing people off" with his camera and that the officer didn't want him to continue shooting pictures there.
File photo: Jordan Silverman.
"Perhaps a society — even one as small as Burlington — so willing to step on the rights of others — so willing to give up their own rights when they conflict with the whim of fashionable etiquette — does not deserve a champion so willing to fight for the rights of all," Scott writes on his blog.
Love him or hate him, Scott's pictures (including this one on the right) are definitely worth a viewing. Check out Scott's parting shots — both in images and words — here.