The Treehouse + The Cave

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Friday, April 22, 2005


Short Hills - Small
Please view the full-scale image as well.

Increasingly, I've been dealing with rent-a-cops who think that I'm a security risk. It's not that I'm carrying a messenger bag into the spray paint section (as I have many times), it's not that I'm looking for a shady place to spark up; it happens every other time I take my camera out. I can be in work clothes, on city sidewalks, mid-day, and they'll approach, chests full of ignorance and bravado. I think they think they are protecting me by advancing the culture of fear that has draped this country since September 11th. Nothing could make me more sickened, and sad.

My first encounter with this phenomenon was a little over a month ago, in Jerz while visiting my folks. On an errand to berate Verizon for their abuse of my brother, we found ourselves within the Mall at Short Hills (a consumption playground for the North Jersey elite (it's got Fendi, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.)). Bored, while half my family took turns screaming at the arrogant cellular sales associate, I started to take pictures of the mall's architecture, of people walking by, of other totally normal shit. Within minutes of pulling my camera from my bag, a fucking security guard sauntered over to counter this threat.

To his credit, he was a reasonable person who regretted having to start a confrontation. He explained that as a matter of public safety, there was to be no photography within the mall.

All I could think was, "I'm on 200 fucking video cameras right now, they are taking my picture and have been for an hour, doesn't it just seem wrong that I can't take theirs?".

So I've been shooting cameras.


I had to speak with three different men in uniform today, all within the 20 minutes I'm above ground on the way to work. Depicted above, are 16 of the dozens of video cameras that caught me along my route to the office this morning. I navigated as usual (and counted at least 22 that captured my image during my 40 minute journey). I guess I looked suspicious.

Related: The MTA Photography Ban

Blogger etienneaida thought:

wow. that's wild. i always forget about the fact that i am, well, basically always on a camera every time i go out.

i guess it'll become very clear when i get a knock at the door and they are arresting me for some terrorist shit because i've got dark skin and they have footage of me at an electronics store buying a new mouse and they use my blog in court. heh. AND this post.

i think i woke up on the wrong side of the bed. it's raining. booh.

p.s. hi guys.

April 23, 2005 at 9:47 AM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Mick thought:

I feel tht I understood prejudice for the first time when I became a "nigger." All it took was long hair and bell bottom jeans and I was immediately discriminated against and hasseled by authority figures. To think that carrying a camera is adequate to label one as subversive is something I thought we had left behind us. Sad commentary...

April 23, 2005 at 10:03 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Mick thought:

Who watches the images from the cameras? There must be a lot of video tape sold in the world these days!

April 23, 2005 at 10:05 PM - Comment Permalink  

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