April 30, 2008

542 words 3 mins read

Photographers are a dangerous sort

I wandered outside ::GASP:: for a bit today to take some pictures for Wikipedia. I made it a point of writing down a bunch of articles in the area that needed pictures last year… but I didn’t get much of them done. Winter came soon after. I’ve finally gotten off my be-hind to go take some of those pictures. My primary stop today was a local mall. It’s an outdoor mall. In fact you kinda can’t even tell where the mall begins and ends because it is in the middle of Downtown.

Anyways — I wandered about for a little bit — 5-10 min tops. Unless I’m doing super artsy stuff I don’t take that long. In fact, I generally have the camera trimmed up with a fast enough shutter speed so I can walk and take pictures at the same time. None of that namby pansy tripod stuff. I’m more or less ambling my way back to the car when I’m approached from behind by a rent-a-guard (lets not even dignify these security guards as “rent-a-cops” — that would imply real power). He asked me what I was taking pictures of to which I answered “Buildings”. I even offered up the LCD on my Nikon to show him — I’ve got nothing to hide. He then informed me that “taking pictures is illegal” and that I’ll need to talk to the management for permission. I said “OK!” (I’m always cheerful when I deal with stupid people), and he asked me to leave. To which of course, I left.

Giving him points, he didn’t do or say anything to terribly stupid other than “taking pictures is illegal”. On private property you can post signs requesting pictures not be taken — but of course this mall has none of that. Additionally — seeing as how the mall is outdoors and integrated with the regular sidewalks — I simply needed to stand on the regular sidewalks and I could have continued taking pictures. I didn’t even bother arguing with him or trying anything funny. I had all the pictures I needed already — no point in making a scene. For the record — I did have to leave — because he asked me to. The owner (or authorized agent) of private property (read: Malls) can ask you to leave for any reason whatsoever (read: Photography). If you don’t, you are trespassing.

This all being said — I don’t know why I have so many run ins with security in and around buildings. This is the 3rd time I can remember — not counting all the “close calls” where I left before they got to me. If I’ve got a big ass camera with large yellow print on the side (Have you ever seen a Nikon camera strap?), I’m not trying to hide the fact that I’m taking pictures. What am I doing that could harm you or your businesses? Nothing… now what about a camera phone? Or a small point and shoot camera in video mode? Those can be snuck in anywhere for any sort of nefarious purposes. If I’m planning something bad, I’m going to hide my camera — not advertise it… Jack asses.

All this in the name of improving Wikipedia articles.