A photographer says he is being sued for more than $1m over an image of a bare-breasted woman at the top of the Empire State Building in New York.


The lawsuit was triggered when one of the images was published on a social media website [Picture credit: Allen Henson]

Fashion photographer and filmmaker Allen Henson says he has received a $1.1m lawsuit from management of the popular tourist attraction who reportedly claim that the photo damaged the landmark’s ‘reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction’.

It appears management filed the lawsuit after the image – one of a series Henson took using a mobile phone – was uploaded to a social media website.

Henson insists that he was not staging a shoot for commercial reasons, but was taking pictures of a friend on the 86th-floor observation deck of the building on 9 August last year.

In a statement, the photographer told AP: ‘This was shot on a cell phone… No gallery show, no ad campaign, they didn’t even go in the portfolio.

‘There are easily hundreds of thousands of tourist Empire State Building Instagram pictures shot in exactly the same capacity – no permission asked or granted.’

A spokeswoman for the Empire State Realty Trust had yet to reply to AP’s request for comment at the time of writing.

Henson added: ‘My capacity as a professional photographer doesn’t mean that every time I touch a device with a camera on it – which is [just] about everything these days – I’m conducting a commercial shoot.’

The New York-based photographer claims that the lawsuit is ‘baseless and ill-conceived’.

‘Breasts are now a “potentially dangerous situation” – this document is vilifying breasts,’ he added.

The lawsuit was filed at the New York Supreme Court.


Picture credit: Allen Henson

  • Stephen Walters

    Proof, as if you needed it, that the PHOTOGRAPHER, MUST seek permission to take photos on private property. I have no sympathy whatsoever for mr Henson as he is trying to use a premium venue, on the cheap, and get some free publicity in the process. This is, in my opinion, VERY unprofessional. This also justifies the role of the location scout. A simple email or phone call could have prevented this.