Thomas Hawk, one of the most popular photo bloggers in the country, flew into Miami for the weekend and got harassed for taking photos.
We know he’s not the first tourist to get a rude welcoming in The 305.
But anybody familiar with the San Francisco blogger knows he is not one to back down from such confrontations.
Hawk, who was in town working on his project on photographing the 100 largest cities in the United States, came across a South Beach Synagogue Wednesday when he was confronted by two men who identified themselves as cops.
They threatened him with arrest if he continued taking photos. He told them to call the real cops.
“Their building, our sidewalk, we can shoot here if we want,” Hawk told the cops when they arrived.
The cops agreed with him and allowed him to continue taking photos.
He explains the situation in detail in the above video.
On Saturday, I ended up spending the entire afternoon and evening with Hawk and several other South Florida photographers, including Bulldog of Nikon Miami, who piled us all into his short bus and gave us a tour of old neon signs in Miami that night, which is a passion he shares with Hawk.
It was the first time I met Hawk in person, even though I became familiar with his blog three years ago when he reported on my arrest.
Out of all the bloggers who reported on my arrest, he was the only one to call the Miami Police Department and ask for the arrest report, which he posted on his blog and allowed everybody to see how police were contradicting themselves.
He turned out to be one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met; a man with a true passion for photography, sleeping an average of five hours a night and shooting the rest of the time while he was down here.
We introduced Hawk to the Miami Marine Stadium, which has been abandoned since 1992. A few of us climbed up to the roof of the stadium, which provides for excellent views of the city as well as steep slopes and valleys to climb and leap on.
We also took him through Wynwood, a mostly Puerto Rican neighborhood which is going through an art renaissance.
Seconds after interviewing Hawk with my Canon TX1, a Miami police officer pulled up to our group.
But instead of harassing us for taking photos, he warned us to be careful if we ventured a couple of blocks south into Overtown, one of Miami’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
I knew exactly where we were, but some of the others, who were from out of town, didn’t have a clue.
Officer Reyes was a real nice guy. One of the photographers in our group asked him to pose with us for a photo, but he declined, saying he was a rookie on probation.
I hope he maintains that positive attitude for the rest of his career.