Monday, August 27, 2012

San Francisco policeman fights for his right to photograph naked women posing as vampires, nymphs and mermaids

San Francisco policeman fights for his right to photograph naked women posing as vampires, nymphs and mermaids

by Laura Pullman,
August 26th 2012

In most jobs, an employee having a photography pastime outside work would not be an issue.

But it seems problems arise if you're a policeman with a penchant for photographing naked women posing provocatively as mermaids and witches.

A San Francisco policeman has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit arguing he was wrongly suspended after his sideline in passionate photography was revealed.

Officer Gared Hansen, 36, specialises in taking snaps of women posing as mythical creatures – voluptuous vampires, nude nymphs and sultry sorceresses.

For full effect, the models' bare bodies are often painted otherworldly colours and any costumes are minimal.

Hansen's photographs would undoubtedly raise eyebrows – even a few heartbeats – if passed round the police station.

But Hansen argues that moonlighting as a photographer has no connection with his job as a serving officer.

Earlier this month, the amateur photographer filed the federal civil rights suit against the city, saying he was wrongfully suspended twice because of his hobby.

In January, Hansen served a 10-day suspension following an internal investigation which was launched when the officer was caught trespassing in March 2010.

Specifically, he was found by officers in an abandoned hotel taking photos of two models, who were posing as ghosts.

An investigation was launched as to whether Hansen’s sideline work violated the mission of the SFPD.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland on August 9, said the police department suspended Hansen twice, in 2009 and 2010.

The officer was suspended from his duties for five days in 2009 after an investigation was sparked by his artwork, the suit claims.

Hansen says that he was then given ‘punishment assignments’ at work, such as transporting inmates to jail.

According to the suit Hansen, a police officer of seven years who is now working as a patrol officer, has been a photographer for 20 years.

He practices genres known as creative photography and figure study, the suit says.

Hansen argues that his work is art not porn and believes it brings no discredit to the SFPD.

‘I believe that the work I make is beautiful and interesting […] It seems like creating art is a benefit to the department,' he told Slate.

One site maintained by Hansen and his wife, warns viewers to proceed with caution.

‘This site contains nudity presented in artistic form. If you are offended by this or are in a location where viewing this is not allowed then please do not continue. Otherwise welcome and enjoy,' reads the homepage.

Hansen’s suit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and he is refraining from his controversial hobby while the case continues.

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