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The Photography Problem at Gunnison Beach !

I have been to Gunnison four or five times so far this season.  During those visits I have been purposely photographed several times by people who didn't ask permission, seen one angry verbal confrontation between a guy coming out of the surf and a guy sitting on the beach with a cell phone whom he accused of taking pictures of people on the beach without them knowing, and I witnessed two young women who were at the beach together nicely ask a nearby husband and wife if they would take a picture of the two of them together.  The wife's angry response was "No, you're not supposed to take any pictures on this beach. Cameras aren't allowed here!"

Clearly, there are lots of potential and serious problems with cameras and picture taking at Gunnison.   With every cell phone now containing a camera, and no cost of film, people are taking a lot more pictures than they used to, especially at Gunnison.  And the problem is with the internet, you have no idea of where that picture you didn't even know was taken, might show up.

With Twitter, and Facebook and other new technology, pictures taken of you in your birthday suit at Gunnison can literally be flashed around the world and copied long before you even leave the beach.  And with the new multi-megapixel cameras, and editing software, pictures of you taken from a distance can show every individual hair on your body, veins under your skin, food specs on your teeth, and knowlegeable viewers can tell the difference between a mosquito bite and a sand fly bite on your backside.  The pictures can easily be life sized or even bigger.

Over the winter, I was warned that pictures taken of unsupecting visitors to Gunnison were being posted on various internet sites, and one major pay site in particular.  I went looking and found that thousands of pictures, mostly taken in secret with telephoto lenses, were behind a pay wall on that one website that charges a monthly subscription fee, and that most of the photos were taken by one or two photographers in particular with professional equipment.  And some of those pictures were being released and copied to other internet websites where they were again being copied and spread.

Other than those, I found less than two dozen other Gunnison shots in general circulation, and some of those were of a young couple who visited in 2002, posted their own nude pictures on Flickr and later gave permission for those pictures to be displayed on other websites where they went into the pubic domain.

The surprising thing about the pay site professional quality telephoto pictures is that the targets of the shots appear not to be attractive young women, but straight males, some way past retirement age, and especially those strolling on the beach with their wives.

Looking at the background buildings way across the water in Brooklyn and Long Island, it is clear that the pictures were taken from the South end of Gunnison, probably from a tent so that the photographer, his tripod and big long lense couldn't be seen.   The pictures tightly focus on the male individual or couple.  I didn't see any close shots of just females, even though there were some very attractive women in the background.  The website runs regular features sometimes with hundreds of pictures titled "The Men of Gunnison."

Pictures that have leaked out, for paysite promotional purposes, were found on a website that "specializes" in pictures of nude straight males.  I wonder how many husbands would feel seeing themselves and their wives walking hand in hand in the surf nude, and the caption reading something like: we wanted to leave out the picture of that horribly ugly creature with this man, meaning his wife, but we left her picture in out of respect for the photographer's work and copyright.  That site features those kind of pictures from Gunnison with similar comments on a mostly monthly basis.

Another set of promotional "Gunnison Guys" pictures appears on a website that features older men smoking cigars.

I guess it doesn't take much imagination to figure out the symbolism of the tough looking straight male with his wife in tow and a "cigar" in his mouth.  Looking at those guys in the pictures I am sure they would flip out if they ever saw what the pictures of them smoking a cigar were being used for. Flip out is likely too weak a description of their anger.

There are thousands of pictures, and some videos of visitors to Gunnison on that one website, and if you have been to Gunnison in the last ten years you may be in some.  And if they get out from behind that paywall they could be all over the place.

I am not the only guy who looked into the existence of these stealth pictures, and has noticed other people taking his picture at Gunnison.  I have talked to other guys at Gunnison who have grabbed cameras out of clowns hands and thrown them like a football.  I have read other postings on other boards by guys who are concerned about the photos of them this guy in the tent or the weeds might have.

I have talked to professional photographers and experts in professional photography, and I have heard some very misguided assumptions from people at Gunnison.

Trying to make this simple, the unfortunate situation for beach goers is this:

In the US, a photographer has the right to take a picture of anything he can see while standing on public land, with exceptions like using a telephoto lens to take a picture of you in your bathroom from the street.

Legal standards are that you can have no expectation of privacy while standing in a public place or on a public street.  Think of the problem if you wanted to take a picture of Times Square and had to ask permission of everyone on the street.   This public standard unfortunately applies at Gunnison.

A photographer has the right to take a picture of anything he can see there, but he doesn't have the right to harrass a subject or make a nusiance of himself.

There is a difference between taking pictures for your own private and personal use, and publishing them for a profit.

There can be a legal question of a person in the photographs rights to their own image, and these closeup telephoto shots zero in on an individual, when the public street photo standard is that a person must be "incidental" to the picture.

In other words,  the person on the street just happens to be passing in front of a building and isn't fully recognizable, just incidental to the bigger picture of a street scene, not the focus of it.

The pay website claims it is a news documentary.  But anyone who has seen Ken Burns "Baseball" or "Civil War" documentaries on PBS knows a stack of pictures of naked people taken at a federal beach that has been there for decades is not a documentary, nor is it a newsworthy event.

I have been told by several people on the beach that there is a federal law prohibiting the taking of pictures of people there without their permission.  Again, unfortunately, this is not true.

This is a link to a New York Times story on a legal case last year where the federal government settled setting a precedent that photographers can't be stopped by security guards from taking pictures on federal property.

Unfortunately, that precendent applies at federal places like Gunnison and that is why the Rangers are reluctant to get involved in stopping picture taking.

Commercial photography at Gunnison requires a permit, and usually commercial use of a person's picture requires a legal document called a "model release" in fact, porn sites must keep very accurate records of the real names and model releases of all the people who appear on their website, even if it is just a person's hand or foot.

So, these pictures taken from the tent at Gunnison are being used for commercial purposes, and are not newsworthy, which would be the one exception that would allow unlimited use.  And people in them don't even know the pictures were taken, so they couldn't have signed a model release.  Its a question for the courts to decide if anybody gets angry enough to file a lawsuit when they see the pictures of themselves on the internet.

I just wonder if people shouldn't be more aware that all this picture taking is going on, and that pictures taken of their one day at the beach may wind up circulating on the internet and popping up again and again for years to come.

The friends of Gunnison statement about leaving cameras home and etiquette is nice, but delusional.  The cameras are all over the place on the beach, and used all the time.  Thankfully, most people are taking the pictures for their own private and personal use.

The Rangers hands are tied, unless somebody talks the local Congressman into having a special law written for Gunnison, but that would still likely not withstand a legal challenge, just like the Homeland Security law didn't stop the guy from taking pictures at a federal courthouse in NYC.

There are, no doubt, hundreds, if not thousands of people who have been to Gunnison and had their pictures taken without them knowing it, and those pictures have been on the internet for some time.  It's too bad you can't just go to Gunnison and enjoy the beach for that day, and be seen only by those who are there. Worrying that your pictures might be seen by thousands of people all over the world for years to come shouldn't be a cost of admission to Gunnison for an otherwise enjoyable day at a taxpayer supported beach.


(sorry this was so long, there was much more I could have said, but this is something beach goers should be aware of, rather than finding out that pictures of you have been out there for years, and its already too late)

Re: Photos Allowed ????


You are absolutely correct, a signed legal release is needed from everybody who appears in a "for profit" picture, or video.

The one major exception is photos taken as part of news coverage, and I don't think anyone would want to change that.

If it is a "legitimate" news event where pictures are taken, the pictures can be used as part of news coverage of that event with no signed releases required.

These websites with the Gunnison pictures and videos claim they are offering a "documentary" and therefore don't need a release.  Make no mistake, what has been happening at Gunnison daily for decades is NOT a newsworthy event by any stretch.

The websites also claim that the pictures are "street photography."  To use your Times Square example, it would be impossible to take a picture of Times Square and get everybody in the frame to sign a release.  So, the law has been that if you are on a public street, or "federally owned public beach" you have no expectation of privacy and you can't stop anybody else from taking pictures.

However, people in these street scenes should be "incidental" to the picture.  In other words, they are in the crowd and just happen to be walking by.  A wide shot of many people on the beach would be acceptable.

What is legally questionable in these website pictures of Gunnison goers is that the pictures were taken by steath, with telephoto lenses, and the published pictures are tightly focused, photoshop edited closeups of individuals.  These are NOT pictures of people incidental to a "street scene."  There are pictures where the nude person, or couple fills the frame.

There is also the question of the photos being "recognizable" photos of a person being used without their permission for commercial purposes.

And they certainly are being used for commercial purposes if viewers are being charged to see them, or if they are on a website that has advertising on it, or links to other websites that charge or show advertising.  In other, words show the pictures for some kind of profit.

Make no mistake, pictures of anybody can legally be taken at Gunnison for private and personal use, so you can't stop the picture takers on the beach unless they are harrassing their intended subjects, buzzing around them like bees might be a good way to imagine it.

Unfortunately, the only way to stop the websites from publishing pictures taken on the beach is through the courts.

There are the legal arguments stated above, and there is also the question of individuals having the copyright to their own "personal image" being used for commercial purposes without their consent.

The websites where Gunnison pictures are displayed are not necessarily classified legally as "porn sites" since the people in the pictures are only nude, they are not engaging in sexual activity.  They would claim that they are "documentary sites" that offer pictures of public nudity where the subjects had no expectation of privacy.

The only way to really stop this would be to file a lawsuit, and set a legal precedent.  Probably the best kind of lawyer to handle it would be an "intellectual property rights" litigator.  A lawyer who specializes in photography and copyright issues.  This would not be a "privacy rights" case since people on a federal public beach can have no expectation of privacy.

To avoid a lawsuit, the websites offer to remove the offending photos.  There is something wrong with the situation where you are forced to pay a monthly subscription fee to monitor a website for nude pictures of you taken without your permission so you can ask that they be removed.  Unfortunately, that is the situation anyone who has ever gone nude at Gunnison is facing.

And removing them doesn't mean that hundreds or thousands of people literally around the globe haven't already made copies of them, and added them to their "collections" from where they could come back to life on the internet at any time.

photos allowed?

I can understand it if Johnny wants to take a picture in Times Square and people are in the background walking by.  However, if a film crew shows up to shoot a commercial or movie (and will make a profit), everyone involved has to sign a waiver stating they agree to be filmed. So, if Johnny decides to visit Gunnison with his girlfriend and he snaps a picture of her with me in the background, that's my problem.  If guys are hiding in the bushes, behind tents and windscreens are taking pics to be added to a porn site that charges a fee, they should be asked to leave.

Re: Where to Look for Gunnison Pictures Online !

I looked around the web fairly extensively last winter, and Coccozella seemed to be the main site that featured pictures of unsuspecting Gunnison goers by beach name.  And it was also the source of most of the Gunnison pictures that appeared on other websites.  Those pictures were almost all watermarked Coccozella.

I did not check what was behind any paywalls other than at Coccozella, but there are loads of websites that feature nudist and nude beach photos.  Most of the sample shots look like they were taken on European beaches, particularly Eastern Europe.  I didn't see any where the scenery looked familiar.

I suggest you both Google and Bing for a list of nudist and nude beach websites and check them.

I have heard that has had some Gunnison pictures on it.

There were pictures on that were identified as Gunnison, but they were actually of Lighthouse Beach on Long Island. 

There were also Gunnison pictures on Flickr, but they were posed and appeared to have been posted by the people in them.

If there are pictures of your woman friend out there on full public display, I hope you find them.  Happy Hunting !!!!!! Smile

recognize some

I checked out the coccozella site (did not join, just saw the non-member part) and they have a volleyball photo where I knew at least half the people in the photo.

Website Facts and who is viewing the stealth Gunnison pictures

Since others have mentioned or referred to, which has thousands of pictures taken at Gunnison, beach goers might be interested in knowing who is looking at and keeping copies of pictures of them nude at the beach. is registered in the US, and has its servers in Texas.  However, its business operation is in Toronto, Canada.  It is run by a woman named Coco, and specializes in pictures of nude people in public.  Most of the events pictured are big public naked runs, naked bike rides, naked protests etc.  These are events where participants know their pictures will be taken, and some events might even be newsworthy.  But since most of the pictures are posed, there is no doubt that the person being photographed knows and consents.  That is NOT the case with the stealth telephoto pictures at Gunnison. ranks among the top 100,000 websites in the US, and 160,000 in the world when measured by the number of monthly visitors.

The last figures I saw showed about 90,000 unique visitors a month, with 38% of them coming from the US.  The rest were from places like Australia, India, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Canada and the UK.

There are far more men visiting and far fewer women than a typical website.  The biggest group of visitors is men between the ages of 45 and 60.  On average, most of the visitors either didn't go to college, or have a graduate degree.  For some reason, those who just went to college are less interested.  It also seems that most of the visitors are straight males interested in seeing pictures of women, so "The Men of Gunnison" feature is puzzling since most straight guys not only couldn't care less, but are offended.  It might just be a way for the website to expand its market toward women, or, more likely, gay males with a straight fetish.

Coccozella "watermarks" its photos, that is for copyright purposes it puts its name on the photos so other websites can not use them without its permission.  Interesting that a website you've never heard of claims and will defend its copyright to nude pictures of you or your wife taken at Gunnison that you never knew were taken.

Unfortunately, there is software available that will remove those watermarks, so at some point those pictures could wind up anywhere and everywhere.  So far, the watermarks have mostly prevented the spread of these Gunnison pictures from getting out past the paywall.

To be fair, there are many people who could care less if their nude pictures are all over the web, and there are others who will read this and parade up and down in front of the tent on the South end of the beach, hoping to get their pictures taken and posted.

And also to be fair, Cocco says she will take down pictures if people can prove who they are and request it, and I have seen some posting on other boards to indicate that she does.  But she gives no guarantees on removing you from videos.  I would be very careful about associating your name with a nude picture of you, because then the picture becomes searchable by your name.  A neighbor, your kids teachers, your boss, a potential employer pops your name into Google or Bing and up pops this naked picture of you at Gunnison.  Not wise, since you never know what impact that could have on your life and family.  Look what happend to former Congressman Weiner with his Twitter picture recently.

Also, let's not forget the tragic suicide of that Rutgers student last fall, when his sexual encounter was broadcast on the internet by his college roommate.   One young college freshman dead, and another facing ten years or more in prison for setting up the camera and taking the fatally embarassing video.  Two promising young lives ruined.  New Jersey is re-writing its privacy laws because of this case and the problem caused by the ease of internet publishing, but whether or not the new laws could help the Gunnison photo situation remains to be seen.

A note

We should all just really keep an eye out on this web site too:


they have several gunnison galleries popping up all the time.  Really curious if I'm on it...

a note CONT'D

HAHA! oops, totally didn't see the whole thread.  Only saw someone writing about pictures being taken of them on the main page.  How

ridiculously embarassing!  Anyway, I mean it though.  I was thinking it'd be interesting if we could get like a group account (which would be impossible to do), but some way where we could all monitor the pictures of ourselves up there.






A couple months ago they had

A couple months ago they had a 2 day $2.95 special running.  I joined to see if we were in any of the pics.

We weren't but a lady we met at the beach was, from a picture in 2007.  Last weekend we saw her and told her.

She wasn't much concerned and wasn't willing to spend the regular price of $30 a month to check it out for herself.

But they do have a lot of couples' pictures.  Of the Gunnison people it wasn't lewd or of inappropriate behavior, just pics of people walking along the beach and doing whatever it is we do at the beach. 


What I don't understand is

What I don't understand is that other than the clothes wearing thing, people should behave at gunnison like they do

anywhere else. When is it a societal norm to just photograph random people? This is my argument against the

"well its a public place and it goes with the territory" argument.



Landlord's picture

As Ranger Tim says it's not

As Ranger Tim says it's not against the law to take photos. If you don't want to be photographed don't go or cover. I know it's a double edged sword. If someone is photographing kids that's a different story. You could get into trouble for that. To clarify it for yourself ask a ranger.

No one can do everything, everyone can do something

Wow, it even made it to

Wow, it even made it to today's Sunday Star-Ledger (front page) and

I remember about 6 years ago,

I remember about 6 years ago, someone WAS taking pictures of children. He was rapidly surrounded by around 50 very angry people.
The rangers arrived and took him into custody.
I know one thing, he was never on that beach again!


Last year 2010, i saw a fellow popping up and down real quick, with an expensive $2,000 camera system.

another fellow asked him to stop but the perv said that he was taking pics of the ocean and sky.  he was about 180 feet from the water!!

So knowing how the perv's always get away with their actions, i tried a new tac.

I went to the perv and i pointed to a group of people about 100 feet away.  I told the perv that the 3 big men in the group

grabbed someone's camera the previous week and tossed it into the ocean before the rangers could come over.

and how all the women vouched for the men that no one took the camera and that the perv was lying.

kind of like 25 people against 1 and that the rangers could not help the perv.

the new perv protested that his camera cost him $2,000.  so i told him nicely that he better watch out.

because i was going to ask for help from the big group of people ....  bam.  the perv went to the non nude side.

and soon after, left.  it was about 3:30 pm.  so maybe he ran out of film by then!!

anyway, my lie got him to go away.  I will try this trick again someday.

I will also use something you said about photographing kids.  i will tell the perv that i will tell the rangers that he was taking pics of kids.

even though he was not.  and then maybe the perv will not call my bluff.

try these 2 tricks.  say it in a nice way.  that will throw off the perv.  

photos allowed???

I really do NOT understand how this is allowed.  I work in NYC and have been approached regarding signing a waiver stating that I allow myself to be filmed or photographed whenever there is a camera crew around.  Nude or covered, it was always my understanding that someone who takes photos for profit (in this case a porn site) needs approval. 

SydP's picture

Photos not allowed!

You are right, it isn't right. Unfortunately our cumbersome legal system only prohibits specific actions if written down, and can't base decisions on common sense.  I am not a lawyer, but from my understanding of New York law (which is generally adopted all over the country regarding photography), You must have a release or you could be held liable, but the subject has to make the complaint, the police will not stop the photographer before or during the picture taking. The one useful exception is that if you claim the photograher as interferering or being a nuscense (sp?), the police (or law enforcement in this case) can step in and stop the trouble on public property.

Generally, you will find that reputable production companies, filmmakers and news agencies will follow the law with releases to prevent trouble, but you are probably dealing with a perv who doesn't subscribe to normal courtesy. They operate outside the norm, and probably are best dealt with using non-violent confrontation and subtle persuasion. See the above post for a brilliant way to handle them, you can't legally threaten them, but you can always point out that some body else might!  Claiming to lie to the authorities sounds like a good method too, I don't think you can go to jail for just saying you will lie in the future, what with free speech and all.

Clothes are so SILLY (in the summer),

Syd P.


I know about Coccozella, but is there any other site that prominently features people from Gunnison on it?  I still have this growing paranoia that my friend (a very attractive young girl) is out there somewhere on the net and I really want to make sure it's taken down if possible.

Yes, there are a few sites

Yes, there are a few sites that have large nude beach photo sections. CandidBob comes to mind, but there are others. Search "beach" on and you'll see thousands of photos. Most seem to be taken in Europe and the Carribean, but I've see a few shots from Gunny on there. You can tell it by the low grassy dune in the background.

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