Photographer == Terrorist!

Photographers aren't machinegun- wielding psychos

Photographers aren't machinegun-wielding psychos (Sorry Billy!)

Own a DSLR? Ever tried to take it around town to take pictures? Bought a new lens? Want to go test it out?

Be sure to stay away from

  • Canes in Mission Bay
  • House of Blues
  • Fashion Valley Mall
  • Sports Arena
  • (more, this list is growing)

These establishments are not friendly to DSLR cameras. Each establishment had a different reaction to the two different camera form factors:

  • Canes was very condescending, didn’t give me any straight answers. The manager told me “No professional lenses.” I held up my Leica and asked if this was okay. He said “Sure.” I said “I have to warn you, this takes 720p HD video – this is a big deal.” He blinked at me and just turned around and walked away. I realized later that I had my flash on my D300, and went back to ask for it. The security guy by the door asked me why. I said “This camera that you allowed in can accomodate that flash. I’d like to use it.” He sneered, folded his arms and said “No professional lighting equipment.” I’m going to social engineer my way into talking to whoever ACTUALLY makes the decisions. One phonecall into it I found a few names – neither of which were the “manager” who told me to take a hike.
  • House of Blues flat out wouldn’t let me bring my camera inside. They forced me to check it at the store, much like Canes did, but they full on stonewalled me. They didn’t give me any explanation whatsoever. Just told me they wouldn’t let me in with my camera. I was able to ask a couple security guards about it afterwards and they said “Oh you have to be with the band.” I asked the band management and they said “Take pictures, we dont care.” House of Blues is another establishment I intend to brainhack.
  • Fashion Valley Mall went all out military on my ass. I saw a couple security guards riding on segways, and I thought it was funny. I had a very large black man with a straight brimmed drill-seargent-type hat come running at me screaming at me to put the camera away. I started a conversation with him explaining that had there been signs or postings anywhere that didn’t permit photography I would have observed the sign and not brought my camera in. I pointed out a couple taking a self portrait with a camera phone, and I pointed out a gaggle of little teenage girls taking pictures of eachother with a point and shoot. I asked him why for he came to me out of all the people who were also taking pictures, in violation of this alledged no-photography rule. He didn’t have an answer for me, but continued to tell me that I couldn’t take pictures. I put the lenscap back on my camera and slung it around behind me. He told me “You have to leave. You can’t be in here with that.” I told him no. he blinked. He said he’d call the cops. I smiled and invited him to, stating that if hes going to “throw me out because I have a camera” he’s going to have to throw out everyone else “with a camera.” The cops won’t like having to deal with that stupid shit, I’ll walk away scott free, and he’ll get in trouble with his boss. He stormed off in a huff.
  • Sports arena was directly opposite to Fashion Valley Mall. They were specifically looking out for people holding up digital cameras. They weren’t expecting full on DSLRs, so I was able to snap off pictures and nobody noticed a thing. However when I raised my cellphone to snap a twitpic, I was approached by a security guard who told me to not take photos. I walked away with a couple hundred photos of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

To make a long story short – people are intimidated by DSLR cameras, and I for the life of me can’t explain why. Nobody cares about cellphone cameras and point and shoot cameras – but carry a DSLR somewhere and you may as well be carrying a .45.

More to come – this is far from over.

5 Comments so far

  1. Peggy Gartin (thepegisin) on April 8th, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    Photographers aren’t terrorists, but @cannibal clearly is. Just look at him! ;-D

  2. alpinemaps on April 8th, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

    Do a search for the ‘Photographers Bill of Rights’. It’s the first thing that comes up on Google, and something every photographer should have with them all the time.

  3. Dan Tentler (viss) on April 9th, 2009 @ 10:18 am

    Im pretty familiar with the photograpers bill of rights. the problem is that the 8 dollar an hour security droids at all these places dont adhere to any ‘rules’ they plug their ears and go LALALALA! when you try to explain things to them.

  4. Camera Shops San Diego (pingback) on April 11th, 2009 @ 7:54 am

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  5. richandcreamy on April 15th, 2009 @ 3:29 am

    Hey I got into Cannes and HoB fine with a D80. Cannes I suppose depends on the acts during the show, HoB you have to sign a form and get a photo badge. If the band said yes the box office should of handed over the paper work.

    Fashion Valley, well that’s odd!

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