Photographers Charged with Smashing 70 Bus Stops


This is bizarre: two photographers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, have been charged by police with smashing the glass at 70 bus stops around the city — locations they had been photographing for a photo book.

The Edmonton Police Service announced yesterday that 49 charges have been laid against Italian photographer Leonardo Autera and his friend and fellow photographer Cynthia Zambrano.

Between February 18th and February 21st, 70 bus shelters in the city were vandalized by having their window panes shattered. On February 28th, they charged the 55-year-old Autera and the 38-year-old Zambrano each with 21 counts of “mischief under $5,000”, 2 counts of “mischief over $5,000,” and a weapons charge.

Two of the vandalized bus stops.
Two of the vandalized bus stops.

Police say the duo used marbles fired from a slingshot to destroy the glass. The damages are estimated to cost taxpayers $30,000.

Back in November 2015, the Edmonton Examiner reported that the duo was working on a photo project and book that documented Edmonton’s bus riders. In a manner similar to Humans of New York, they visited the bus stops for months and shot around 100 portraits of those waiting for buses to arrive.

The photographers used this image to promote their bus stop photo project.
The photographers used this image to promote their bus stop photo project.

Autera has reportedly visited over 100 countries and has held photo exhibitions in dozens of them.

The people seemed “quite sad,” Autera told the Examiner. “People don’t smile enough. Why?”

Police have not given any motive behind the alleged vandalism spree — was it related to the project? — but we’re guessing it didn’t help any bus passengers smile more.