| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 13 The management of the Empire
State Building on Monday filed a $1 million lawsuit against a
photographer who shot topless pictures of model atop its iconic
86th floor observatory.
Last August, a model climbed to the crowded observation
deck and took her top off as 30-year-old photographer Allen
Henson captured the image on his cell phone.
The photo quickly went viral on the internet and angered the
owners of the Empire State Building, one of the most popular
tourist attractions in New York City, who said the observation
deck was full of tourists, including children, at the time the
photo was taken.
"We were doing a social experiment," said Henson, adding he
has been photographing fashion models for three years and also
shot photos of topless women in Central Park and in Manhattan's
Henson began taking the series of photos after becoming
aware of a May 2013, New York City memorandum that prevents
police officers from arresting women who expose their breasts in
Henson said he wanted to test the social implications of the
rule, but added that the pictures atop the Empire State Building
were not taken in a professional capacity.
"I am a professional photographer, but that doesn't mean
that every time I touch a device with a camera on it I must be
conducting a photo shoot," he said.
Management of the Empire State Building charged in the suit
the pictures were produced "for his own commercial purpose" and
damaged the landmark's "reputation as a safe and secure family
friendly tourist attraction."
Every year more than four million visitors from around the
world pay to view the city from the Empire State Building's
observatory, over 1,000 feet above ground.
Representatives for the Empire State Building did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
Henson said the building's guards did not react to the shoot
or attempt to remove him from the premises.
"On a side note," he said, "she had wonderful breasts."
(Reporting by Marina Lopes and Daniel Wiessner)