Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shop It. Live It. Love It.

Moon(s) Over Macy's
While T did some shopping at Hilldale, I amused myself by trying to capture some of the sense of unreality that always seems to set in there after dark. I was intrigued by the way the street lamp seemed to create a second moon over Macy's.

I was going to call it something like "Moon(s) Over Macy's." That was before the security guard drove up and asked me what I was doing. After our little conversation, "Terrorist Spy Photo?" seems more appropriate.

"What are you taking pictures of?" he asked. I considered saying something like "working on a photo essay about the shallow transience of our materialist values and the consumer culture they promote," but thought better of it. "I'm just shooting the buildings and the lights," I said. "Just passing time while I wait for my wife."

"Well, you do know that looks very suspicious, right?"

"Why? This is just an ordinary camera," I said, waving my camera at him nonsensically -- a Nikon D90 equipped with a Sigma 10-20mm zoom, the butterfly lens hood still on it from some afternoon shooting making it look even bulkier.

Safe and SecureHe sighed, shook his head, and slowly drove off. At least he didn't ask me to delete the pictures. But I always wonder what these guys are doing. Why would an actual evil-doer scope out the place with a big, bulky, highly visible SLR? Wouldn't a cell phone camera be more prudent, or even a small point and shoot if detail is needed?

It's probably more about keeping people focused on what they are supposed to be doing in a shopping mall. There seems to be only one legitimate purpose for being there -- and that's shop till you drop.

Of course, I should have known better. Hilldale's slogan on their website says "Shop It. Live It. Love It." It does not say "Photograph It."


Swhise said...

Huh, I've never had trouble with security at Hilldale when I take pictures there, or anywhere else for that matter. I'm betting they aren't as threatened by girls.

Joel Lawson said...

This does not appear to be a shopping mall, but rather a system of national retail spaces built in and around public space. If this is so, and the development company and local gov't signed easements that contain no language regarding photography, then they have zero jurisdiction over photographers. A very similar situation erupted in Silver Spring, MD, where the developer assumed the right to control behavior in the public space, prohibiting photography and instructing their security guards to shoo away people distributing campaign flyers for Obama, among other illegal attempts at controlling public behavior on public space. The public won in that situation. A private retail development does not overrule constitutionally protected behaviors on public space (street and sidewalk). More details:

Rich said...

I hate when that happens to me. I usually tell the guy to smile and I will shoot.

Anonymous said...

I was checked out while photographing manhole covers near the UW power plant several years ago. A UW officer (I still have his card) ran my name through the system. And I'm female.

George H. said...

Shades of your fed building photography, eh?

Loren said...

The security guards at Hilldale are notorious for stopping photographers... nothing better to do I guess. They need someone to bully lest they feel bad about being rent-a-cops.

Dr Bud "Shop it.Live it.Love it. Bomb it." Diablo said...

MadGuy, you seem to have found your way into some database. You can't photograph a duck without an agent stepping from behind a tree to ask what you think you're doing. Maybe somebody misread your sobriquet as "Mu'ahd Guy."

The trouble with security guards is that they want to be seen as "cops," but have no aptitude for the part. They all seem to be inspired solely by that famous photo of J. Edgar Hoover arresting Alvin "Creepy" Karpis at gunpoint, failing to realize that this is an appropriate way to confront, say, a customer who carries his ice cream cone into Macy's.

You might consider investing in a tube of pepper spray. The next time a "house dick" accosts you, you can drop him where he stands. It would only be a misdemeanor.