Photographer Charged With Taping Client
Saturday, October 7, 2006
She went to the Silver Spring studio to get photographed -- not videotaped.
So the 34-year-old Frederick woman was astonished to find a tiny video camera while she was undressing in the changing room of Joseph Portolano's home-based studio, police said.
Montgomery County police said the woman removed the disk from the camera and intended to take it with her, but she accidentally dropped it in the studio, in the 12600 block of English Orchard Court.
That night, Portolano, 57, sent an e-mail to the client "apologizing for the incident," Montgomery County police said.
The message probably will be Exhibit A in the state's case against Portolano. He has been charged with one misdemeanor count of visual surveillance of a private area of an individual with prurient intent.
Efforts to reach him last night by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
A Web site promoting Portolano's work describes the photographer as a "Washington bureaucrat who privately defies real work by maintaining his lifelong avocation of photography."
According to a 2002 federal employee personnel roster, the latest available, Portolano was then working in personnel management at the U.S. Navy, making roughly $75,000 per year.
"If you think Joe's photography reflects eclectic experience, you're right," a blurb on the site says. "He has recently added maternity and newborn photography to his repertoire."
Photos on the Web site include standard portraits and abstract images with unnatural colors. There are no lewd images on the site.
Staff researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.