That Which Shall Not Be Photographed

The downtown office core harbors a cornucopia of uncanny urban spaces. The other day I happened to pass by the one shown above and couldn’t resist busting out the Panasonic DMC-TZ3, thinking I’d probably want to write something about how these grand entry plazas are usually such a stupid waste of space. But after I came down the escalator, out came scurrying the youngest, friendliest looking security guard I have ever seen, who proceeded to tell me, while seemingly holding back a giggle, that he had to ask me not to take photos of the building. By that time I already had all I wanted, so even though I was totally put off by his request I said OK, not wanting to risk any escalation that might have led to a demand for my memory card.

But then I couldn’t help asking why. And again, all the time with that shit-eating grin, the kid paused, and then said he couldn’t tell me why. So I said, “you don’t even know why?” and then he seemed stumped, and finally mumbled something about how he used to be in the military and um, this is different he guessed, but no, he really didn’t know why. I wish I had asked him if he knew what year it was when 9/11 happened.

9 Responses to “That Which Shall Not Be Photographed”

  1. Sabina Pade

    Maybe one of the board members who works upstairs doesn’t want to be photographed while smoking.

    This entry plaza offers one of the rare weather-protected spaces in downtown that’s further than 25 feet from a building’s entrance.

    Not that I’ve ever observed it crowded with smokers. Or that I enjoy breathing cigarette smoke. But one does sometimes wonder how nicotine addicts are to cope, on a rainy day when the addiction calls.

  2. Lloyd

    Always, always carry this document with you:

  3. joshuadf

    Yep. At least similar cases reported at BoingBoing are (falsely) claimed to be due to copyright. They want to be able to make exclusive postcard photo deals.

  4. Charlesbee

    I recently moved here from a town in Maryland called Silver Spring. It seems there was similar problems of this sort about taking pictures of the new “downtown” there. A lifestyle activity center I think they call them now. Photographer’s cameras were being confiscated by the private security force. The county council is working on legislation to address this issue last I heard. First Amendment rights being trampled. I won’t be surprised if you run into this again while taking pictures of any project that has private security. One would think a developer would like there project to be showcased, but apparently only on their terms.

  5. old timer

    If that’s the building I think it is, on 5th, it, at one time was, (and may still be) the operations center for Sea-First Bank. Their computer center was there in the southern low-wing, with the rest of the building housing various departments. Some of the elevators required ID badges to gain access. This was in the late 1980’s/early 90’s. So, a long history of security here, Ruth’s Chris’ Steakhouse notwithstanding (if it’s still there!) It also had a cool tunnel to the food court @ Columbia Center.

  6. serial catowner

    Minds me of a story a friend told, about returning to his car in downtown Seattle, and finding a cop writing him a ticket.

    So, he takes out his camera, to get a photo of the meter and cop writing ticket, for when he goes to court (he was legally parked) and the cop tells him he can’t take photos. (My friend ignored him, took the pictures to court, and got the ticket dismissed.)

    In fairness to SPD, they have improved quite a bit since those days.

  7. AngryCyclist

    I know buildings like the Westin and any buildings with Fedral offices are insane about that kind of thing- you could be branded a terrorist for asking why-just saying.

    6 months 10 days 18 hours left…

  8. jo

    go you!

    way to pick on a young kid making his $10/hour just trying to his job!

  9. Joe G

    Did anyone notice that the colors in this picture are really amazing!

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