It Is Illegal to Kiss With a Mustache in Nevada, and Other Crazy U.S. Laws

In New Jersey, a person can be arrested for slurping soup.

Olivia Locher

Chances are you probably wouldn’t have thought to break any of the laws Olivia Locher portrays in her ongoing series “I Fought the Law,” which examines the weird, outdated, and unbelievable laws found in all 50 states. After all, have you ever really wanted to make love to an automobile? (If so, stay away from Oklahoma.) Many of them would be extremely difficult to enforce, yet, based on her research, Locher said that many of them are still on the books. She has about 10 states left to photograph since beginning the project after a friend’s observation sparked the initial curiosity.

“I had a conversation with a friend who told me about how in Atlanta it’s illegal to have an ice-cream cone in your back pocket,” Locher recalled. “Tons of time passed since that conversation but I kept thinking about it. I’m a firm believer that if a creative idea pops into your head more than three times you have to do something about it!”

Once the idea was planted, Locher began researching other bizarre laws around the United States and said she knew she wanted to work on a series and decided to photograph them as clearly—and cleanly—as possible.

Left: In Connecticut, pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles. Right: In Florida, a person may not appear in public clothed in liquid latex.

Olivia Locher

In Oregon, one may not test their physical endurance while driving a car on a highway.

Olivia Locher

In Ohio, it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait. 

Olivia Locher

“I am inspired a lot by early pop art aesthetics,” she wrote. “Today my work is very premeditated. When I first started shooting my photos were a lot different than most of my work today. My early work was focused around beautiful adventures with my subjects. This work had loose or no concepts.”

She describes documenting the bizarre laws as a lot of fun and has shot the majority of them in her studio in New York.

Growing up, Locher was surrounded by her older brother—a musician and visual artist—and his creative friends who introduced her to photography. She got her own camera in high school and attended the School for Visual Arts in New York, which she described as furthering her love for photography.

“I pursue and surround myself with photography because it’s the one true love of my lifetime.”

Locher will have about three images from “I Fought the Law” (and seven from other series) as part of a group show of female photographers called “Pheromone Hotbox” at Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City from Jan. 22 to Feb. 28. 

In Nevada, it is illegal to kiss with a mustache. 

Olivia Locher

Left: In Washington, it’s illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag. Right: In Kentucky, it’s illegal to paint your lawn red.

Olivia Locher

In Tennessee, hollow logs may not be sold.

Olivia Locher