Two photographers. Two cities. Three picturesque landmarks. And four ignorant security guards.
You guessed it, the security guards ordered the photographers to not to take photos, even though the photographers were standing on public property.
The first incident occurred in Denver last week when a photographer named Focus.Free on Flickr told a story of what happened when he tried to photograph one of Denver’s most unique buildings, 1999 Broadway, pictured below.
This was probably my favorite building of the day. It had a huge reflective pillar in front of it which made for some interesting shots. I am really, really, really glad I had my 10-22mm lens as I got the entire building in the frame and I was less than two yards from the front of the building. Completely crazy.
This is also the building where one of the security guards told me I wasn’t allowed to photograph his building. I asked him where his property was, and he said “The whole block.” I kind of looked at him with a “you’re so full of shit” look and replied “The whole block, eh?” He then started to get tough, which I diffused by good humored defiance, and he reluctantly agreed that I indeed could photograph his building, but I did have to leave his property. So I moved three feet away.
On that same day, Focus.Free was harassed again as he photographed the Daniels and Fisher (D&F) Tower in downtown Denver. His picture is below and his story is below that.
We walked around downtown and took copious shots. We only managed to be directly threatened by two security guards, one of which thought he was a man in black or something. I shit you not. He had the earpiece and the suit and everything. If you ask me, the guy was a complete tool.
I educated one nonchalant security guard on the legal issues involving taking photos, and that anything visible from a public location was fair game. He thought that if he told me I wasn’t allowed to take photos of his building, I wasn’t allowed to. I quickly corrected his errant beliefs and he conceded when he saw I knew what the fuck I was talking about.
And in Corona, California, another Flickr member named Orange County Girl told her story about trying to photograph a fountain outside the Corona Crossings shopping center. Here is her photo and below is her story.
This broke down black dude with yellow teeth who by the way was a rent a cop….Came up to me while I was taking pictures and was like “YOU CAN’T BE TAKING PICTURES!”…Im like of a fountain? He’s like “No for security purposes…..WTF. #^$&*&* then I turned mean : ) Nuff said. hehe And they say we have freedom in America…HA! So yeah anyways This is Corona Crossings it’s basically all they have out there. But there are a shitload of stores and restaurants…..
I am glad these photographers made a stand against these security guards, but I encourage them to take the next step and photograph the security guards as they are pulling the laws out of their asses.
In May 2007, three months after my arrest, I was photographing an immigration rally through downtown Miami and sprinted up the stairs of a Metro Mover station to get an overhead shot. Immediately, a Wackenhut security guard came after me and told me that I was not allowed to take photos. I aimed my camera in his face and shot him several times.
Even though I already had my shots of the rally below, which you can see at the end of this very early blog post, I challenged him to describe the non-existent policy that forbids me to take photos from a Metro Mover station.
He was unable to do so.