One Bush

One Bush So I’ve been hassled and harassed many time in the past for shooting photographs in privately owned public spaces (Starbucks, PF Chaings, Toys ‘R Us, the new burger spot on Sacramento St. at Drumm, Tosca, Grand Central Terminal in New York, etc.) but yesterday was the first time I’ve actually been harassed on a public street over photography.

Yesterday I was shooting some photos of One Bush St. (the building where Bush and Market Streets intersect) when their security guard came out of his little glass jewelbox lobby hut to ask me to stop taking photos of the building. He said it was illegal. I moved to the sidewalk and continued taking photos and he again asked me to stop. When I told him I was on a public street sidewalk he said that actually they owned the sidewalk and that I was going to have to stop taking photographs.

At this point I told the little guy to call the police and have me arrested which he said he did. He then proceeded to follow me around the building, from Bush St. to Battery St. to Market St. to Sansome St. and try to physically put his hand in front of the lens of my camera as I shot the building. Fortunately I was taller than he was so I was able to hold the camera out of his range. It was kind of comedic actually.

Although I’ve been harassed many, many times for taking photos (the camera goes with me virtually everywhere) this was the first time I was accosted by a security guard on a public sidewalk.

I was looking forward to the interchange between myself the security guard and a cop (who I doubt he could really get to show up even though he kept insisting they were coming to arrest me) but I had to get going and was done shooting the building. So after about 10 minutes I was on my way.

I’d encourage anyone with a camera to stop by One Bush if you’re in the neighborhood and fire off a few more shots to annoy this guy.

I know I’ll be back.

Update: Boing Boing picked up this story and of course from there the traffic goes nuts. There is now a photo contest to shoot photos of the building and a meet up planned on Saturday at noon to shoot the building. Also if you think it’s stupid that a building’s owners would try to prohibit you from taking photos of it from a public street feel free to drop them a line. I got a couple of bounce backs (apparently Jerry Speyer and Peter Berg are on vacation, go figure) but here’s some contact info:

Alfred Palmer,
Peter Berg, Managing Director,
Jerry Speyer, President and CEO,
Robert Tishman, Chairman,
John Miller, Regional Director – West Coast,
Theodore Schweitzer, Chief of Staff, Assistant to the President,
Carl Shannon, Regional Director for Silicon Valley and San Francisco,

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  1. Tom says:

    Don’t forget to provide directions!

  2. Boris says:

    You should arrange a meetup for photographers there and have a shoot-out! Like a Flickr meetup or something.

    That, of course, may have some legal ramifications that I’m not anticipating.

  3. Yuriko says:

    So long as you are on public property you are free to shoot (and the side walk is in fact public property). My understanding is that if you meet up, so long as you keep moving, stay on public property and don’t harass or impede anyone then you are within your rights to peaceably assemble. (note: This is just what I’ve gleaned of the law as a citizen; I’m not a legal professional.) That said, give ’em hell!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah I work at a law firm in Downtown and they don’t even allow photos to be taken of the areas around our building. I see them stopping tourists every now and then but it’s not heavily enforced like this SF building.

  5. B2 says:

    Actually, the building owners usually own the sidewalk right in front of the building; I’ve had this problem with other properties in the past. If you go across the street (or just into the street) they can’t hassle you.

  6. Opspin says:

    Sometimes I’m glad I live in little old “never had any loonies blow up stuff” Denmark.

    But I would take every oppertunity to take photos of a building if there was any crazy sequrity guards telling me I couldn’t.

    The Flickr photoshoot sounds like a wonderful thing, maybe you could get the sequrity guard to pose for some of the photos 🙂

  7. nothalo says:

    out of curiousity have you ever been mistaken for looking like a terrorist Perhaps the the hypervigilance was in due to fears of terrorism.

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Actually it shouldn’t matter if I look like a terrorist or not, but in fact I’m a 38 year old clean cut white guy. I was wearing a suit and tie no less. Not the typical terrorist fashion get up.

  9. Well, gee, that’s not at all ridiculous. I wonder if they every go out and hassle cops as they drive by, since the cameras in cops’ cars would undoubtedly record pieces of the building as they drive by it–heaven forbid! Or if, in panoramic shots of the city, they request that their building be blurred out.

    Speaking of Flickr, mayhaps you could start a group of shots of this building, with the comments on each shot being about the shooters’ experiences with twerp security guards…heh.

  10. You might be interested in this guide to photographer’s rights written by attorney Bert Krages. It’s a pretty good plain-language summary of what your rights are.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You are retarded. Respect these peoples jobs; I’m sure they don’t want to do them just as much as you don’t want to be retarded.

  12. Anonymous says:

    One Bush is a superb building – it is by far Architectuerally-speaking the very best modernist commercial office building ever constructed on the west coast of the United States, as every architect in san francisco, at least,, will tell you. i think every architect i know has a picture of this little builing. it is the Inland Steel (chicago) or Lever House (new york) of san francisco. SOM, the classic 50’s-modern thin-tie-white-shirt firm who designed it, are right across the street at 444 market/1 front street. sad that it looks cleaner and more modern than anything around here built since, and it’s almost 50 years old!

  13. tree123xyz says:

    Could have a guy taking pictures of the building and another guy taking pictures of the security guard harrassing the first guy.

    Have the security guy brought up on charges and his arrest published.

    The only way to remind people this is not a police-state is to send some messages out that lead this sort of thing to stop.

  14. Cowicide says:

    Oh no… terrorists will see the pictures on your website now and realize the building is tall and made of glass. We are all screwed now. Well, at least our faithful security “forces” are out there at least trying to slow you infidel photographers down. Thank God we have this kind of protection while our new energy bill with billions of republican pork barrel money to oil companies goes forward with ease today.

  15. Looks like this building is managed by Tishman Speyer. Contact information for One Bush Street is Allen Palmer:

    Phone: 415-344-6622

  16. Jonathan says:

    Wow.. I know this building well and will now make it a point to go take photos of it. Unbelievable.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Got a bit of this last year by the TransAmerica building.

    The windows about 20 feet up give great reflections of Telegraph Hill. The guard asked politely what I was photographing: I politely mentioned the reflections and then showed him a thumbnail.

    He, now more friendly, then said they don’t want ground level shots of the lobby. I gently pointed out that that my G3 from the sidewalk can’t capture nearly as much as a long-lens from way down the road.

    But being a white chick obviously on her lunch break helped more than anything.

  18. Brenda says:

    the security guard lifted his hand in your direction, that’s an assault. File a police report and send a copy to the building management.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for a meetup/mass photo shoot.
    Maybe we can get the rent-a-jerk to try to have us ALL arrested.

  20. Anonymous says:

    To b2’s comment, I often see areas of sidewalk that are owned by the building marked with plaques in the concrete denoting the perimeter. These usually have some “Right to Pass is revokable” language, basically allowing them to enforce trespassing if they want to.

    One place I know I’ve seen them is on the sidewalks through Infinite Loop.

    I’ve never looked at the sidewalk at One Bush, but I’m guessing those plaques aren’t there on the sidewalk proper, though they may be around an entry area.

    I also don’t know if those are actually required, but they can’t be cheap, so some lawyer obviously thinks they’re necessary.

  21. a “Flickr meetup,” would that be a Flick-up?

    I’ve never been chased away or told not to photograph something. Ever. Apparently I’m not trying to photograph the right things.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ya don’t try it down the street in front of 101 Market (the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco), the gaurds in there have machine guns and will actually take your camera away.

  23. Anonymous says:

    So where’s your picture of the guard? 🙂

  24. Ben Masel says:

    It doesn’t matter if the land under the sidewalk is privately owned. It’s the right of way which creates the public forum.

    See Hotel Sidewalk Is Public Forum Under First Amendment—Court

    and UNITED STATES v. GRACE, 461 U.S. 171 (1983)

    c) The Court grounds are not transformed into “public forum” property merely because the public is permitted to freely enter and leave the grounds at practically all times and is admitted to the building during specified hours. But where the sidewalks forming the perimeter of the grounds are indistinguishable from any other sidewalks in Washington, [461 U.S. 171, 172]   D.C., they should not be treated any differently and thus are public forums for First Amendment purposes. Pp. 178-180.

  25. Erik says:

    I love the idea of a photo meet-up! In fact, it could be turned into a photo tour of downtown, which could be fun on it’s own *and* make a point.

    How about high noon this Saturday, July 30th, at 1 Bush?

    Anyone who’s interested can email me at erik AT multipledigression DOT com.

  26. Jimski says:

    I had a similar experience taking a picture of the WUSA building in Washington, DC. I was out at lunch taking pictures and walking back to my office I had one shot left, so took a reflection picture of “Broadcast House.” I found it ironic that a broadcaster’s employee would try to intimidate someone into not taking a photo from a public sidewalk.

  27. Anonymous says:

    In case you’re not yet aware of it, Bert P. Krages II offers his “The Photographer’s Right” brochure free for download here:

  28. BWJones says:


    The same thing happened to me just a little while ago at a convention center no less.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I went down under the eastern span of the bridge on treasure island to take sunrise photos once and someone called and had a cop come out to remove me. There was one sign saying that the area was off limits that I didn’t see because there were about 10 different ways to walk under the bridge. When I told her there was no way I could have been expected to know I was tresspassing with no fence or sign she pointed to a tiny concrete barrier covering 1 of the ways in, kindof, and said, copsyle ‘there’s a barrier’. I tried to point out the alternative routes that weren’t marked and she pointed again and said ‘there’s a barrier.’ I was in a good mood so it was funny. At least she didn’t take my camera away.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Since people in public are allowed to be photographed, maybe you should create a Flickr photo set of Security Guards who oppose photography and their buildings.

  31. Anonymous says:


    Bravo! I’m headed past there in about an hour and can’t wait to photograph the building. It’s important to push back against these little violations of our rights before they snowball into much bigger crimes. This guy crossed well over the line. Tell me when the meetup is and if I’m in town I’ll be there.

    Thomas, remember that the most dangerous terrorists on the planet are clean cut guys in suits. But you’re allowed to photograph buildings from public sidewalks even if you’re dressed as a terrorist…

  32. neil says:

    That’s weird. I wonder if it’s anything to do with the Australian Consulate being in that building.

    (I used to work in the Shell Building, the building reflected in the shot. Now I work in the Mills Building diagonally across the street.)

  33. I had a similiar experience shooting pictures of the exterior of the Woolworth building in New York City. A $6 an hour rent-a-cop came out the front door ranting and screaming. I explained to him that I was a resident and taxpayer in Manhattan and that I was on a public sidewalk so there was no reasonable expectation of privacy and I could shoot whatever I liked. He was unrelenting (as people of that social class and level of education are when given the chance to put on a uniform and step on the necks of anyone they can). When he threated to “knock me out” I called the NYPD and had them send two officers over. They refused to file a complaint but suggested I complain to the management company of the Woolworth Building. I did but two phone messages went unreturned. Building security in the current climate is a very serious matter and I am willing to be patient to a point. But art and the photographic recording of architecture and history simply cannot stop and wait.

  34. Anonymous says:

    “He was unrelenting (as people of that social class and level of education are when given the chance to put on a uniform and step on the necks of anyone they can).”

    Eh. Was it really necessary to bash a whole class of people? The security guards I’ve encountered around my work neighborhood have been generally unfailingly nice. The guy you’re talking about may just be a d*ck. If he was of a higher “social class and level of education”, he’d probably just be a d*ck with money.

  35. El Serracho! says:

    word to that. i’m right there with ya on your right to take a pic if you want, but some of the biggest assholes on the planet are also the richest.

  36. B. Durbin says:

    This is not a result of the current security climate (though it might have been stepped up in accordance with some people’s anxieties.) This sort of attitude has long been present.

    As an example, when I was in college, one class assignment was to put together a short documentary. My group chose to document “things to do in this little town” as lack thereof was a common complaint. We filmed the outside of a mall for a few minutes from the farthest corner of the parking lot and got a talking to by a security guard. They are VERY protective of their image; we might have been across the street and still gotten a talk. (We’d already gotten the necessary footage but neglected to tell the guard that.)

    In other words, I don’t believe it is a security concern that is motivating the guard (though they might have little idea of what the reason is). It’s mainly a blanket rule laid down by the owner of the building because they want to control all image rights, and the simplest way to enforce that is to discourage picture-taking.

    I’d imagine that the recent explosion in digital picture-taking and blogging is causing such folks concern, if they’re even aware of it.

  37. Lane says:

    I’ve posted a picture (click my name) I took of the building last August. Not the best picture, but who cares. I was well away from the building, so they would not have been able to hassle me. I also suggest any photographers go read Bert Krages site for an overview of our rights.

  38. For the record, my use of the term “social class” has nothing at all to do with money. Money does not equal class. Are there assholes in all social classes? Yes. Did I have to bash the social class of this security guard in particular, um, yes, it was my comment and this is (almost) still a free country. If you choose not to bash then don’t bash. Your choice. Don’t choose my words, thank you very much.

  39. Anonymous says:

    chris puts the “ass” in “class” methinks. Nobody was telling him not to say what he thinks… he just may wish to reexamine his thoughts and the way he chooses to express them. But it is a free country and you’re free to be as big a jerk as you like!

  40. wahoonation79 says:

    amen to that anon. Hey chris, the term “social class” is an expression that is directly derived from the ammount of money one is worth. Class, on it’s own, means what I think you were trying to convey. As it is though, you came off as the arrogant pr*ck you probably are. NO one but YOU chose your words. on another note, why involve the police if the guy didn’t even touch you? Don’t you think they have more important things to do (i.e. catch REAL criminals not some self important security dork doing his JOB?) in the city where you live? People like you make me sick Your arrogance and evident lack of respect for anoyone who makes less money than you is a testament to what is a downward spiral of degridation in our country, and you sir (or madame) are no better than the arrogant a**holes that own the buildings WE, as artists,historians, or tourists wish to photograph for posterity. People like YOU run the companies that own the buildings we photograph. no wonder they are so anal about those with our perceived “social class” or “lack of education” photoging their buildings. They think of YOU like YOU seem to think of US, the “great unwasheded masses”; beneath contempt

  41. Anonymous says:

    And what “social class” would that be, Christopher? I suppose whatever it must be, it’s far, far below your own that you feel so free to look down your nose at “them”.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that your social “class” and amount of education is irrelevant to being a boor. Christopher, of whichever far superior social class, has proved that point beautifully.

    Given the sheer arrogance he displays, I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to find out that he’s a professor of economics at some ivy league school, probably Yale or Haaaaavaaaahd.

  42. Tom says:

    Dress doesn’t matter, nor does the visibility of the building — I was stopped once while wearing a suit and tie as well, and I was taking a picture (from about a block away) of a building that’s not only visible from miles around (it’s on a waterfront) but also has a web site full of photos with much greater information value.

  43. Again, class has nothing to do with money but about taste and values. You should all go back and study your Sociology. Actually, there was a fairly interesting article in the Times lately about these definitions. You should find it. The anger and anxiety you all seem to be demonstrating your own social classes. You know nothing about me and are making presumtions of your own. I’m sorry if my comments offend you but I am simply not as comfortable as you seem to be at pretending we are all the same and that social classes in this country do not exist. Look how pissed off you all get when someone doesn’t think the same way you do. Tocqueville put it aptly when he said that the greatest threat to Democracy comes not from government’s abuse of power but by the tyranny of the majority. I think that applies in this case.

    PS: The NYPD was involved because this “guard” threatened me with physical violence and was harrassing and intimidating me.

  44. Anonymous says:

    What about some “covert” operations here, guys? You’ve all got small, hidden camera’s avaiable at Best Buy. Aiptek makes some great ones. You could photograph the “security” guards and deliver their pics to them, annon..that would really frost them.

    I suppose video taping is also out of the question? Make em’ the star of their own video and burn a CD! Distribute it on the web. Give em’ the website address.

    This is, of course, madness.

  45. mat says:

    I went ahead and created a One Bush group on Flickr.

  46. Anonymous says:


    It’s not a matter of pretending different social classes exist. It’s YOUR ATTITUDE toward people you apparently believe are your inferiors.

    I’ve known plenty of people from all of the social classes, and they have one thing in common: no matter how much money you have, whenever you put someone in a position of authority, that person gets arrogant. Hell, I’ve done it myself. It’s a universal truth. To say that people of a lesser class are more prone to it is ludicrous. Indeed, I’d say the more money you have the more priviledged you behave and the more arrogant you become.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I work in a building in Los Angeles which is run by Equity Office Management (they’re everywhere these days in LA, and other parts of the country too, I assume) and I asked a friend of mine who works security about this. He said as long as you have permission, photography indoors (and bear in mind this is taking pictures of the BUILDING itself, not just casual snaps of friends and coworkers) is permitted. Taking photographs from the sidewalk is fine too, since it’s public property.

    Without permission, however, they will ask you to stop. I didn’t press to find out what would happen if you didn’t, but I expect you would be ejected from the premises.

    And you know what? I think that’s perfectly reasonable. It’s private property, and if they want to set those kinds of rules, well, why can’t they?

    I’m a little disturbed by this idea I’m seeing expressed here that anyone should be able to take a picture of whatever he wants whenever he wants to.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Ideally, you should divert a bus load of camera-toting Japanese tourists to this location, tell them a story about its historical significance (exercising a certain latitude with the truth) and watch the madness unfold.

  49. Hmm. That’s funny. I can’t seem to find the place in my original comment in which I said the security guard was in a low class and I was in a high class. The mere mention of class and I’m getting flamed as being elitist. And for the last time, money has nothing to do with class. It is a mistake to think this is how the subject of class is defined. But anyway, I want to stop now because we’re only eating up space and this really shouldn’t be the forum for something like this. My final comment is this: Thomas Hawk’s photography is incredibly beautiful and really inspiring.

  50. burtonator says:

    I’m totally down for a group meetup. We should all meet down there tomorrow at like 2PM or something.

    Or maybe next week so that we can get a BUNCH of people to go!


  51. dann says:

    dude, i’d be there if it weren’t for the distance isssue (i live in PA) however, i’d love to know how the meetup goes – ect. if you’d be so kind to shoot me an e-mail or something i’d love that.

  52. Art says:

    I’ve had two encounters.

    One morning in New York I’m shooting down near the Woolworth Bldg.. A guy in a real nice coat gives me a NYC good morning, “Don’t you know taking photos down here is illegal asshole!” So, I walk over to one of the _many_ uniformed officers in the area and ask, “What’s up?”

    The officer was all right. He explained about the area being under terrorist surveillance. Said taking photos of key buildings was not illegal but was discouraged. He won my heart by noticing that I had a telephoto lens and observed that I could always shoot stuff from across the street. He advised me that the primary concern was people documenting entrances and security features.

    Second time was Philly. BEAUTIFUL building called the Customs House. I had shot the heck out of it from the south (back) side (where the light was) one evening. Next morning I got asked to knock it off when I tried to shoot the front. Now I’ll admit, the cool stuff was either around the doors or up on the walls where it was pretty hard not to get a camera in the shot. This guard made points with me by cracking a big smile when I asked, “Don’t you think that people being unable to do this gives a small victory to the terrorists?”

    I am all about rights and I am concerned about their erosion in “the land of the free”. (I find the NYC subway searches chilling. I seem to be in the minority.)

    BUT… These are troubled times and I am willing to offer some sympathy and cooperation.

    Ian Spiers had a tougher time than we did.

    BTW. I love the idea of photographers photographing the photographers photographing. Wish I were on the left coast so I could come out. ..and play that is.



  53. Jordan says:

    The Federal Reserve has guards with machine guns? Funny, I walk by there nearly every weekday and I don’t remember seeing anyone with machine guns before. Heck, the only guards that are visible are the ones in front of the entry gate to the loading dock in the back. Then again, unless they’re waving it in my face, I probably wouldn’t notice.

  54. m_duckworth says:

    I have been living in San Francisco for about five years now and have had a few encounters with security officers while out shooting.

    The first one was in the park next to the Metreon. In this case the guy was right. It is private property. While his approach could have been a little less rude, at least I was able to convince him to point out the location where I could obtain a permit to shoot on the grounds. (But of course that process takes far too long and I had a deadline, so I just busted out the telephoto lens.)

    The most recent happened just a couple days ago. I was out getting reference photos for a project I am working on when I found this little alley way (near 5th Street and Mission I believe) that was perfect for one of the shots I needed. That is when the guard walked up to me and told me that I couldn’t take pictures there. This guy was rather polite about it, but I still had to press the matter. When I stated that I was standing on a public street, he simply said that it was company policy. Policy? What obligation do I have to a company policy? Especially when I don’t work for said company. (BTW- he wouldn’t tell me the name of this company, so I have no idea what building he was “protecting”.)

    At this point I said something to the effect of it being a bull sh*t policy and walked past him down the alley. As I walked I could hear him behind me. Of course I wasn’t detoured. I just ducked out of his site then shot the alley from the other end. Just as I was finishing I saw him heading my way again. I didn’t stick around for another “chat”.

  55. webcat72 says:

    I’d love to take part in the summon. But it’s too far away. So I send you a supporters picture-link from an other continent.

  56. webcat72 says:

    Oh, excuse me !!! The link failed: … You can visit my Solidarity-Picture here

  57. Chris says:

    This appears to be happening more and more. I encountered to such instances (in the same night no less) in Niagara Falls. I wasn’t even shooting the building the guard worked for, I was shooting detail shots of chains and cable, rebar etc, on a construction site next to the guards workplace. Unfortunately, they are charged with a mandate that they believe extends well beyond where their rights to serve stop and where our rights to shoot begin.

    Details of my incident can be found at I only wish I could get down there for the shoot…

  58. Anonymous says:

    Try to take a photograph of a greyhound at the Hinsdale, N.H. racetrack and see what happens…security guards will ask you to leave. Where are the PETA Photographers (PETAPs) when you need them?

  59. mike says:

    I was walking around the B of A building a few weeks ago and saw a security guard come out and chat with a tourist family taking pictures of themselves in front of the building. When I started taking some pics he came up and chased me off. Only then did I realize what his chat with the tourists was about. I can’t understand what this policy. They put a really nice building with beautiful architecture. Very nice artwork and sculpture and then a family of tourists want to take a picture of themselves in front of this great “American” building and they are chased off. Now rather than going back to France or wherever with pictures and memories of some of the nice artwork in San Francisco they’ll go back with an interesting story to tell.

  60. Boris says:


    Art, I understand what you’re saying about sympathy and cooperation – why not just change the laws, then? That way, we’d all know what we’re in for when we go out and take photos.

    I think this would be the best solution, because if we start enforcing non-existent laws and not enforcing existing ones, the laws become meaningless, right?

    I realize that we’re talking mainly about security guards here, not the police, but there have been similar run-ins with the police, no?


  61. Anonymous says:

    You people are fucking rediculous…

  62. Anonymous says:

    This Saturday meetup sounds like a `neat’ idea, but you’re all setting yourself up for a bit of a fall. If 20-30 or so people show up and start taking photos of One Bush at the same time, and onlookers stop to ask you why, and everyone is generally lollygagging, you all can (legally) be asked to disperse as your assembly could create a public nuisance or impede traffic on the public sidewalk _ the same sidewalk you’re trying to protect your rights to. If you want the meetup to be a protest, and stand up for your rights in face of arrest … rock on and make your statement! But if you’re just trying to be catty about it, you’re going to effectively prove the security guard to be right. That said, the guard was wrong to harrass a single photog snapping shots. But your event creates a different legal environment.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I’m not even a photographer, but I am an American worried about the erosion of our civil rights. This kind of thing is becoming more and more common, and not just in San Francisco or the U.S.A.

    I suppose it’s to be expected. When people feel less than secure, those responsible for security have the opportunity to flex their muscles. It’s up to the rest of us to politely tell them how much muscle they’re allowed to flex. So if we do nothing because the security folks are “just doing their job” . . . .

    Why not have “photo meets” in cities and towns all over the country, a kind of “Cameras Across America?” Photographers in all cities could get to gether to take pictures, have a good time, and, by the way, excercise their rights. Just remember to keep moving, keep it happy, and stay on public property.

    I hate being anonymous, so sign me

    Bill in Pittsburgh

  64. Russ K says:

    I had something similar to me happen here in Charlotte. We have a building called the Hearst Tower and my daughter and I where next to it taking a walk. When I turned around to grab a picture of my daughter I was informed I could not take a picture since I was too close to the building. It was so riduclous since my daughter is just over 4 feet and I’m 6’2″ and I was not even facing the building. So worst case is the terrorists would have a downward view of the sidewalk with my kid. Wish I could be in SF this weekend for the GTG.

  65. Anonymous says:

    TO: ‘8:43 a.m. Anonymous’ — Not to worry. At Noon on a Saturday, there’s virtually no ‘traffic on the public sidewalk’ around 1 Bush to be impeded. That said, I’d love it if you could explain just how a gathering of citizens attempting to demonstrate how mindlessly stupid attempts at “enforcement” of a private company’s policies impinge on people’s constitutional rights will “prove the security guard to be right.”? People need to start speaking up against insanity and this is as good a place as any to start.

  66. rootlesscosmo says:

    The Nevada appellate opinion made a point of distinguishing the Venetian situation from those in two (unnamed) US Supreme Court cases, so I wouldn’t rely completely on that. Fact is there are “private property” plaques on the sidewalks next to many downtown SF buildings. The reason they’re there is to attempt to restrict labor pickets, as the Venetian tried to do. Are they constitutionally permitted? Good question; I don’t know, and the answer is likely to be, “It depends on a lot of things, including how an appellate court interprets the law and the circumstances.”

    But one thing it depends on is public outrage. If enough people object to this appropriation of public space by private owners, and their enforcement of corporate policy over the rights of the people, they’ll back off. In other words, they’ll take what they can, and they’ll concede what we make them concede–as ever.

  67. Art says:

    First, one quick thought about this thread. Two issues have to be clearly separated. Photographing from public property vs. being on, or in, some one else’s property.

    Boris, re: other run ins. See the link in my previous post to the incident with Ian. Also, there was a guy who got in trouble for taking pictures of a west coast subway. His memory sticks were returned. I think I found his site through Ian’s site.

    Yes, I agree with you completely. Our leaders constantly preach to us and the rest of the world about “the rule of law.”

    A land where people in uniforms arbitrarily tell “free” citizens what to do or not to do is not the land of the free; it is a police state. This is not an opinion; it is an objective look at the definitions of those terms.

    Yes, if they don’t want us photographing public faces of buildings it should be dealt with via legislation that is the result of public discussion. Regrettably, our leaders understand that primates who are fearful are very willing to surrender their freedoms to someone they think will make them safe. There is a philosopher named Strauss that has influenced (created?) many of the neocons. Strauss believes that peasants are too ignorant to make correct decisions and should be manipulated, so as to allow ‘leaders’ to do what they want. That is not a representative democracy.

    You no doubt saw the survey that said today’s students think the press has too many rights. A much more frightening one came out of Latin America. Down there over half of the people surveyed (IIRC) said they would go back to the dictators and scum who used to rule them if it raised their standard of living and brought ‘security’.

    I saw nothing to gain by being less than civil to the people I’ve dealt with. I have not yet been confronted with the level of ignorance and abusiveness others have described. Even if I should be, my goal will be to let THEM be the assholes/criminals. I plan/hope to remain calm and absolutely polite. Any of us will only hurt ourselves if we raise our voices, crowd personal space or become insulting.

    Please understand that this does not mean that I will just arbitrarily comply with someone who is possibly egotistical, possibly ignorant, maybe just misinformed or poorly trained. I am not looking to just pick a fight. …but I am willing to choose my battles.

    Speaking of which: My best wishes to everyone at the Bush building this Saturday! Who is the official bail bondsman for the event? ,>)

    I love the idea of having so many witnesses and cameras. A conga line of people 15 or 20 feet apart parading past would rock.

    One small thought; even though it might be legal, why not avoid zooming in on any security features? Cameras, guard stations etc. It would make it even harder for anyone to claim that the photos offered _any_ public danger.

    In any case I trust that everyone will keep the event lawful. Let the others be in the wrong. Keep it real and keep it legal.

    The idea of other peaceful, lawful events is very interesting.

    -Art (Who’s wife says he is verbose.)

  68. Anonymous says:

    it seems if a terrorist wants a photo, he could figure out how to get one, so ordinary art/architecture loving artists are being inconvenienced and threatened…i think this eems wrong, un-cultural, and narrow….i belive if the building managers feel this is necessary for protection, they should be quiet, and photograph the photographers..both being legal to do, and if you wish to photo inside, show a driver’s license, and understand that it may be for terrorist protection, and we should be glad they are watching out..if that is what they are doing…i was in the bakery dept of the safeway in rockridge/oakland, and the cakes looked like diebenkorn( thibault?) and they told me not to take potos…i said, are you crazy, i am just photographing what i see, it is public, i am an older woman, what are you saying?..i said call the amager, i took the photo, and the manager affired that i was not allowed to take pictures in the store…i like to take photos of home oriented things like food….i said i was appalled….it was crazy and mean and stupid…he “let” me go…( it occurred to me that if he touhed my camera, a little digital olympus c-50…we were talking trouble….i was very scared, and angry…if i can’t photograph it, than i shouldn’t look at it, then i shouldn/t be in there, and i wouldn’t buy any dinner products….whole earth foods also forbid from taking a photo of a big oozy , delicious wheel of chees on the counter top, right in front of my eyes as i was buying some cheese..i flipped!..are you nuts? this could not have anything to do with terrorist plots, so why tell me not to photograph the cheese….no reason, store policy…what are these people hiding?..i was not stealinga secret of window , or cheese display…just to be mean and bossy..i toook the photo i was so ad and told them to call whomeer they wished ..i could just see myself , and older lady going to prison for taking a picture of cheese..jeez….i don’t buy there if that is their policy…i am happy to comply and be understanding in these myself, just in case, more to protect myself from suspicion than provoke it, these are scary times, and i appreciate the vigilance..but let’s get real, cheese. louise?..i think photographers should be thoughtful, comply with id requests, or know that they are being recorded, but ultimately taking a photo is an artist’s job, and should be protected under the constitution..i think you sould file a formal complaint, and make this very public….we need to have a discussion about this, nd also let the authorities do what is helpful,too…it can be a win-win.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Ummmm… OK crazy cheese lady.

  70. Anonymous says:

    thats not a very nice thing to encourage, especially since it’s the security guard’s job to stop such a thing, i dont know why you would want to harrass him, and especially belittle him..i think its bullying….not very nice..

  71. owen says:

    thats not a very nice thing to encourage, especially since it’s the security guard’s job to stop such a thing, i dont know why you would want to harrass him, and especially belittle him..i think its bullying….not very nice..

  72. Anonymous says:

    thats not a very nice thing to encourage, especially since it’s the security guard’s job to stop such a thing, i dont know why you would want to harrass him, and especially belittle him..i think its bullying….not very nice..

  73. Anonymous says:

    thats not a very nice thing to encourage, especially since it’s the security guard’s job to stop such a thing, i dont know why you would want to harrass him, and especially belittle him..i think its bullying….not very nice..

  74. Anonymous says:

    That’s nuts – I take photos everyday all over the city!

  75. Anonymous says:

    This also happened to me while I was visiting my son in prison.I was taking a picture for my scrapbook when a prison guard came out and told me I was not allowed to photograph the prison.

  76. Anonymous says:

    it one thing to actually take pictures of security features like cameras, metal detectors, etc. but if your taking pictures of regular nice things then cops, or security guards shouldn’t bother you.

    Certainly if the security guard harrasses you or assault you, press charges don’t let them think it ok for them to do that or else they might do it to others.

    Another thing if they are just bothering you and won’t leave you alone even though you are on public property have them bring they supervisor over to them, and if they don’t want to just tell them to get lost until there supervisor talks to you.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Since the Australian Consulate General’s office is in the building, it seems reasonable to assume that the whole point of this policy is to protect people’s lives. Your being a clean-cut white guy is irrelevant. Would you suggest they enforce this policy based on race?

    The point of this whole meet-up thing seems to be to harrass a guy who is just doing his job.

    I’d like to see people getting together to harrass Thomas Hawk.

  78. prelude619 says:

    I had this happen to me in Los Angeles in front of the Libary Tower in Downtown LA (US BANK TOWER). I had gone 2 yrs prior to take photos there and I had no incident. I went in 2004 and some security guy told me I could not take pictures of the building. I just walked away disapointed. I live in San Diego so I can’t go there often to get away with taking pictured but I incourage anyone to do the same at the US bank tower in downtown LA (its the round building).


  79. rootlesscosmo says:

    “Just doing his job” seems to be the excuse for anything, and protesting an infringement on freedom is equated with “harassing” the enforcer. This is remarkable. Of course the security guard is doing his job; his job is to carry out an objectionable policy. Should we accept any and every abuse of power rather than inconvenience the people who do the work? The goons who attacked union pickets in the 30’s, the cops who beat the Freedom Riders, were doing their jobs, too. Should they have been shielded from protest? This attitude of blind submission to authority–irrespective of the justice of what it enforces–is deeply disturbing.

  80. Anonymous says:

    We live in a world where there are some screwed up people called terrorists… we as a nation should be concerned about publicizing photos of well known buildings. I would not blame the guard for telling you not to take pictures. I know it is your right to take pictures but please also consider the world we are living in . Thanks.

  81. Anonymous says:

    One Bush street is actually owned TSOF, and Australian listed proerty trust linked to Tishman Speyer (

  82. Anonymous says:

    There are no property plaques in the sidewalks at One Bush. I circled the property before taking any pictures.

  83. Anonymous says:

    If a building’s security measures are so trivial that they can be defeated merely by observation from the street, perhaps the property managers should re-examine their security measures?

    Prohibiting photographs can only be admitting that the building has but “Blind Man’s Bluff” security in place.

  84. Anonymous says:

    We live in a world where there are some screwed up people called terrorists… we as a nation should be concerned about publicizing photos of well known buildings. I would not blame the guard for telling you not to take pictures. I know it is your right to take pictures but please also consider the world we are living in .

    Excuse me, well known buildings are already publicized in newspapers, post cards, advertisements, et. al.

    A jihadist intent to murder people by setting off a bomb doesn’t need to take photographs. He could just go down to the library and look up photos of possible targets.

  85. Anonymous says:

    I’ve dealt with this plenty of times here in San Francisco as well.

    And I used to want to get all pissed about it, all outraged or whatever… but in the end it comes down to minimum wage earning security guards who honestly don’t know laws, and are in most cases doing what they assume has to be done.

  86. Anonymous says:

    Doing one’s job, if it is infringing on other people’s rights – and in effect their own, is no excuse.

    In addition, standing up to the small infringements may be more critical than standing up to the big ones.

  87. Anonymous says:

    —-“Just doing his job” seems to be the excuse for anything, and protesting an infringement on freedom is equated with “harassing” the enforcer.—-

    Thomas Hawk said, “I’d encourage anyone with a camera to stop by One Bush if you’re in the neighborhood and fire off a few more shots to annoy this guy.” Hardly a noble protest for to protect one’s freedoms. It’s a call by Hawk for people to harass the guard because Hawk felt harassed himself. Note that Hawk says he’s been “harassed” many times before. Yet still he has no respect for other people’s property rights.

    Why is it wrong to respect their desire not to be photographed? It’s their private property. It would be no different if it were a picture of your home or a picture of you.

    Just because they can’t physically prevent you from taking pictures from across the street doesn’t mean you have a right to take those pictures. Where you’re standing isn’t relevant.

    As for the relevance of this policy on terrorism, note that dozens of photos of four buildings in the New York City area, including the Citicorp building, were found on an al Qaeda laptop along with detailed analysis of the sites – vulnerabilities, exits, traffic, building structure, security cameras, etc. This type of security policy doesn’t *prevent* terrorism; it makes it less convenient and that may be enough.

    What really bothers me is that Hawk ( publishes the email addresses of numerous managers and encourages people to harass them too. Joel Franusic ( adds the email address and phone number of another manager.

  88. RK says:

    Don’t shoot the messenger. It seems on both sides of this argument that the big picture is being missed. This really isn’t about the security guard or Thomas Hawk. It’s about being told that you don’t have rights that you do have. It’s about the undermining of people’s rights (not to be confused with priviledges). This isn’t the only situation that’s happening. It’s happening throughout the whole USA. So I say, don’t show up for Thomas Hawk, and don’t show up just to piss off that security guard. Show up because as an American, it’s not only your right to stand up when you’re being harrassed, it’s your duty. In singles, we’re strong, but in numbers, we’re stronger!

  89. m_duckworth says:

    OH-MY-GAWD! There seems to be too many people saying that they are willing to give up their right to photograph to feel safe from terrorists. Our freedoms are slowly being taking away and you are okay with this?! THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!!! How many of our freedoms need be taken away before you stand up and fight for your rights?!

    There are those who would bash Mr. Hawk because of his encouraging of people to stop by One Bush and annoy this one guard. I can’t say as I fully agree with this position in singling out this one individual, but I applaud him for standing up for his constitutional rights and bringing his encounter to public attention.

    “Just because they can’t physically prevent you from taking pictures from across the street doesn’t mean you have a right to take those pictures. Where you’re standing isn’t relevant.”

    WRONG! We ALL have EVERY right! As long as you are on public property (ie- the sidewalks and streets that our tax dollars pay for) then we have the right to take as many photographs as we like.

    In regards to the “Cheese Lady”, when you are in a store, management or an employee can ask you not to take pictures. A store is private property. Same as inside any building or even homes for that matter. When on private property, you must respect the wishes of the owner. In this case, just ask first. Yes, many will say no, but you would be surprised at how many will be fine with it. Just be polite and show a little respect. It will go a long way.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Christopher Boffoli says “…art and the photographic recording of architecture and history simply cannot stop and wait”.

    I have to say I think that’s the most pompous and idiotic thing I’ve read in a long time.

  91. Christie says:

    WOW! Much of what is being said is not only rediculous, but hilarious as well!

    Yes, terrorism is a reality, but it is true that terrorists have succeeded if we allow this to continue without concern for and fighting for our freedoms.

    Architectural photography is my passion (having studied both Interior Architecture & Design as well as Photography) and I have shot many well-known buildings in SF, NYC, etc. I have never faced a problem that wasn’t resolved to my liking. (I first get permission to shoot interiors of ANY building or ANY SPACE that may not be public). There are often ways to come to a reasonable agreement between parties. Although, I haven’t really encountered any as*holes (yet).

    I wish I were still living in SF right now…I’d love to shoot (er, “photograph” – not meant to appear as a terrorist threat) this building and many others. Instead I will visit my own slightly-less-famous skyscrape (Dallas).

    There is A RIGHT WAY and A WRONG WAY to handle encounters of this sort!!!!! Always consider BOTH sides of the situation…put yourself in the other person’s shoes. As has been said before, be smart, take the high road, and KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT before spewing off about who is and isn’t right!!!

  92. Antoin says:

    If the security guard tells you it is against company policy to allow photos, you should just explain that you’re sorry about the trouble, but that your boss sent you down here to take some photos of the building, and that you’ll be in a lot of trouble if you don’t get the photos.

  93. Art says:

    I’m guessing most of these places that won’t let you take pictures have security cameras taking pictures of the people outside. Ironic that they don’t see a problem with that, eh? 🙂

  94. Anonymous says:

    I have seen signs embedded in the sidewalk in front of buildings in Los Angeles essentially telling you that they have the right to tell you what you may do on the sidewalk in front of their building. You can see an example of it here.

    I have wondered if this is legit.

  95. Jane says:

    I just blogged our little photomobbing adventure in downtown San Francisco! You can check it out here:

  96. Jane says:

    I just blogged our little photomobbing adventure in downtown San Francisco! You can check it out here:

  97. Who are these anonymous, cynical trolls who cowardly flame other commenters without identifying themselves? Instead of contributing anything to the dialogue they just snipe. Why do I care what moron trolls think is pompous? Photobloggers, especially those with the talent and eye of Mr. Hawk, are producing photographs that are indeed art. The images they produce are also tiny vignettes of what our world looks like right now. Imagine not having any photographs of what San Francisco looked like, in the 1940’s for instance, simply because there was just too much of a risk of Nazi spies seeing the images. A reasonable degree of security and caution is understandable. But it does quickly get to a point at which power is abused. I was a resident of lower Manhattan in September of 2001. I watched the WTC fall and I will never forget the smell of the fires that burned for months. I will also never diminish the tragedy of even having to lose one life that day. But as horrifying and wrong as that event was, about 3,000 people died there. We are a nation of, what, 300 million people? The odds of any of us being killed in a terrorist incident, even those of us who live in large US cities, is remote. 18,000 people in the US will die this year from the flu. Ten million people around the world will die this year from lack of access to clean drinking water (that’s more than 10,000 people a day). Aren’t we blowing things just a bit out of proportion? Could all of this money being spent on the illusion of security be put to better use? Why do we Americans seem to insist that life should be risk free?

  98. m_duckworth says:

    I was glad to see so many of you show up today! It is good to know that not everyone is willing to lie down and let their constitutional rights be stripped away!

  99. Roger Krueger says:

    Did it ever dawn on anyone that the guard you’re going to be annoying may well not be the same one who caused the problem in the first place?

    I have zero sympathy for someone who lies about the law and harasses people. If your employer demands you be a jerk it’s not rocket science to find another job at this bottom rung. Besides, I’ve seen way too much overt agression from these rent-a-thugs to believe that “just following orders” malarky.

    I have as a contrast police officers. Shooting at night I’ve been questioned by the San Diego police a few times. No lies. No aggression. A few business-like questions, maybe a request for I.D., when I start talking about art they roll their eyes and leave. Nothing about security requires you to be a jerk. That’s a CHOICE, one well worth condemning.

    Even if their locality lets them eject people from a sidewalk easement they own, that does not give them the right to give arbitrary orders like “no photos.” It give them the right to ask you to leave and that’s it. Until they make that request you’re free to ignore them. Then you step off the curb into the street and you’re set.

    It’s also worth noting that California has no state law enumerating an offense of trespassing on private premises open to the public. You’d have to look up city ordinances to see what the deal is.

  100. It’s worth actually reading Civil Code 1008:

    In rough terms, it says that if they put up those signs, the property will never become an easement.

    Section 1009 goes on to explain that Section 1008 is intended to *encourage public use of private land.*

    I don’t know the details of the Venetian case, but I suspect that they’d have a hard time if anyone pushed this issue in court. (Also, I realized that CA != NV, but the basic issues are similar, and ultimately Constitutional.)

    (Sorry I missed the meetup, I was at the SJGP clicking away.)


  101. Anonymous says:

    “Then you step off the curb into the street and you’re set.”

    I had thought about that. Then I got to wondering, “But what about jay walking laws?”


    Gongrats on the event and the cool photos!

  102. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if chris still checks this out, but here it goes

    The social class you were bashing earlier, well keep in mind his education is about the same as most men and women in the armed forces protecting your right to argue this issue.

    And BTW you said social class, not class. Also you were bashing his education and pay as a refrence to his social class. Just admit when you are wrong.

    If I was the security guard I probally would have walked over to the photographer and said in a very stern voice “IF YOUR GOING TO TAKE PICTURES, (wisper Go to the other side of the road).”

  103. Anonymous says:

    Oh and Chris, dont bother with a witty and very well written, educated come back. I dont check here at all, just caught a link and thought you needed to be straightend out.

  104. Anonymous says:

    In DC, a lot of the government places around here won’t let you take photos of their buildings or even of the barriers. Not from the sidewalk, the street, anything like that.

  105. Anonymous says:

    It is endlessly distressing to me
    how many “normal” Americans don’t understand the implications of losing civil liberties…or just don’t care.

    It’s just PIG IGNORANCE. Sorry.

  106. Danny Television says:

    So, you think its OK to take pictures of any public people in any public place? I do too. But since I’m not a hypocrite I won’t complain when Big Bro installs cameras on every street corner.

  107. Anonymous says:

    One Day Iwas Taking Photos of a local cemetery and train station.

    To make a long story short, a month later a police man knocked on my door and questioned me about that day. Why I was taking photos, etc.

    Crazy world we live in.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Similarly, I got accosted by a security guard in Chase Tower in Dallas. He told me that people hadn’t been allowed to take pictures since 9-11 (false: I’d taken pictures there on my previous trip to Dallas AFTER 9-11) and that if I tried taking pictures of the building even from public grounds, they could still call the Dallas Police and have me arrested. Never mind that they are always hosting wedding parties up in the Sky Lobby and if you needed to get photos of the Chase Building, I’m sure there are plenty of pre-existing photos already online. Jesus.

    They don’t have the right to take away your camera or to expose your film or take it. If you are on private property, they can ask you to stop taking pictures while on the property, but they can’t prevent you from taking pictures while off-property.

    I’ll head to One Bush sometime in the next couple of weeks. 🙂


  109. Anonymous says:

    If a rent a cop Haraases you saying its policy tell them to show you a copy of the policy and give you a copy. If they can’t come up with the paper work then take the time the next day or even that day to go to city hall and talk to a city or town officals about these policys. If Rent a Cops are inforcing Illegal laws then they and the buildings owners are breaking public laws. ANd I read in another part of this blog that a Rent a cop threaten someone and the police officer did nto do anything well don’t take it that the police office won’t do anything go to the police station and file charges and make sure you have the officers badge number and name. If this is what we call security then thats bad security when a police officer does not do his job. The way to win is do the end run around everyone public property is everyones property not the private corporations. Also if you do it this way then its in the public record and you can use that to embrarass these places.

  110. Anonymous says:

    I have heard elsewhere that some buildings are copyrighted. Is this true? If so, where can I find out which ones are? I am scanning my older pictures and would like to post them, but don’t want to be sued.

  111. Anonymous says:

    Check out these “Amateur Photographer, not a terrorist” t-shirts. Maybe that will help.

  112. Roger Krueger says:

    Architectural copyright law has an explicit exception for photographs/drawings of buildings on public view (that is, almost all of them). Anyone who tells you that you can’t shoot or post their building due to copyright laws is feeding you enough BS to fertilize 40 acres.

    scroll to paragraph headed “limitations…

    See also:
    scroll to “Pictorial Representations…”

    Some buildings do claim trademark protection, but unless you’re selling something with the image on it you’re safe. And the one trademarked building vs. photographer case I know of, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Gentile, the photographer won, although there are some folks scratching their heads about this one.

    Actual Gentile decision:

    Someone who thinks the 6th circuit lost its marbles:

  113. monkeyc says:

    There are those of us who don’t live in the US who watch with alarm every day the erosion of civil liberties that has vtaken place in your country.

    But to me what is far more alarming is the way people defend this rubbish – the government and business now seem to get away with anything by claiming its terrorism.

    Here is a simple fact of life : A security guard wont stop a terrorist taking pictures of a building. Its that simple. Being parnoid and running around mindlessly wont discourage terrorism in any way – its moronic to think so.

    Wake up and smell reality – using a fear of terrorism to strip away your rights is not a good thing – it wont help you, it wont win some mythical war on terrorism and it wont do anything but leave you with less rights.

    I am an aussie. On the wall of my office is a framed copy of the US declaration of independance and the bill of rights – these are here because they are living documents, statements of freedom – and they are slowly being subverted by a government that seems to have little to offer but fear mongering and panic. Its sad and you should not accept it.

    To people who think this will help i advise reading about terrorism without concentrating on 9/11 – The government of the UK spent 70 years fighting a terrorist battle without any success as an example until it learned to sit down and listen to what was being said and begin a dialogue.

    America – a great country with a worrying government right now. very worrying.

  114. Fact: Social classes do exist in America. Whether that is right or wrong is not up to me. Fact: Your aversion to recognize this demonstrates tremendous anxiety about your own position in this strata. You anonymous trolls can be in denial all you want. But I doubt any of you are capable of “straightening me out”. (I know you’re reading this you cowardly troll and I also know that you are too inarticulate to actually make a valid point on this topic) My original statement has been loaded with a lot of false assumptions and presumptions. I was referring to a security guard, apparently over-worked by sitting on his brains all day, who took intense pleasure in storming out the door to rant and scream that I was not allowed to take pictures of the exterior of the Woolworth Building. In fact, he was wrong and I told him so. If he had walked out calmly and addressed me politely, asking me instead of telling me, there would have been a different outcome. Again, he clearly had some issues. I just know his kind and yes I am generalizing. He feels a lack of empowerment in other parts of his life and feels the need to put on a cheap, polyester uniform, ride the train into Manhattan from the South Bronx, and shit all over any and all of the people he sees as being below him for the time he is ruling over his desk. He has a need to do this because any kind of power is lacking from the rest of his life. I’ve encountered plenty of professional/cool security guards while checking into buildings all over Manhattan. Very few are like this guy was. There can be dignity in any job whether it is making art or sweeping the floor. But stop trying to load all of your baggage into the point I was trying to make.

  115. lisa howard wade says:

    A lot of you are adding a lot of your own assumptions to Christopher’s point. It is quite a stretch to say that people in the military have the same level of education of the security guard he is describing. I know people serving in Iraq who went to really good schools, some of them Ivies. None of these super-dick, uber-aggressive security guards are acting the way they are because they love their jobs and care about protecting the buildings (apparently from the make-believe dangers of people actually looking at these buildings). They are being jerks because they think their jobs entitle them to be. He could have been a bit more generous with his fellow man, but that’s what I got from it. Oh an yes, specifically those soliders at Abu Grahb who led prisioners around on leashes, they probably are of the same “level of education and social class” as some of the security guards who have been described here.

  116. Anonymous says:

    I agree with everyone who says we should give up our rights because we live in a different world. God knows the twin towers would still be up if we werent allowed to take pictures. Oh wait, that was about the dumbest reasoning i have seen. If you want to give up yoru rights, i know alot of people who would like them.

    tony in wisconsin

  117. Maucca says:

    yes that kind of treatment is absurd.. I don’t know what the securityguard was trying to achieve.

    People have rights, but that securityguard did’nt even have the right to jump in front of the camera or harrassing mr. Hawk. Anybody has the right to not be harrassed in the street by anyone when taking pictures.

    Saying it is against the law to take pictures is abusing ones authority (as a security guard! again what was this guy thinking…) and ridiculing the constitution..

  118. Anonymous says:

    Truly an excellent idea, holding mass shoots of places. I would only suggest having literature explaining what was going on to pass out to everyone who wandered by.

    Usually when I get stopped, I have the advantage. I ask for them to cite the law forbidding photography. When they don’t know the cite, I tell them there is none, and as a paralegal and state trial court officer, I know this to be fact. Police are nice about things, and understanding. It’s corporations and such that usually aren’t.

    D. A. in Nashville TN

  119. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe all these dumbasses response. Besides, it’s not like you took a great picture or anything.

  120. Anonymous says:

    I hate all the random, anonymous posts from people who obviously have no intrest in photography… Why Post Your Opinion??? And there actually are great pictures in many of the links from this site… But you all really need to let chris rest… the whole conversation with him has nothing to do with pictures, rights, infringement of rights or anything even related to the original blog… its all just a bunch of chris and anon telling each other they are wrong when nobody else cares and we all just sit here and roll our eyes at the idiocracy of their posts… thats what i think… any objections? jk.

  121. Anonymous says:

    I am an amature photographer(very amature) I am also an Account Executive for a very large Private Security Firm in the Metro NY area. Now as far as being accousted by the security officer he should not have done that. But people let’s understand a few things here, #1 before anyone makes light of or demeans the important job that the nations 1.1 million security officers perform on a daily basis, we need to remember the 250 lives that where lost on Sept 11. And yes they all where SECURITY GUARDS. We need to remember the thousands of lives, including children that where saved by these brave men and women whom stayed at thier posts guiding people out of the burning towers and guiding them to safety. Only to lose thier lives themselves! We also need to realize that security officers are following the directives of clients and bussiness owners. We need to also realize that these men and women whom put on a security uniform and in some cases put their lives in danger do so for not the highest paycheck in the world. While this paticular incident should not have taken place if the security officer followed proper proceedures, but to demean all security officers is just not fair. Since Sept 11 the country as we knew it changed, which is unfortunate just remember when you come accross another security officer maybe cut him a little slack, these guys and gals get abuse all day long and they are human as well.

    Thanks for allowing me the space to post my comments.

    R Tremblay

  122. J. C. says:

    If a terrorist REALLY wanted to get pics of a particular building, I’m sure a Google search would give them all the information they need. There are even TV shows that show exactly how a certain building was built, giving terrorist the perfect opportunity to plan an attack. They show exactly where support beams are located and where the weak areas are.

    And as it was written before, thousands more people die from countless other things. Every two days in the US, 3,000 people die from tobacco related diseases. But nothing is done to stop tobacco companies. But when 3,000 people die because of a comparatively rare terrorist event, everyone goes crazy and freaks out about security. If the recent London to America Camera/liquid explosive attack would have suceeded, maybe at most, 2,000 people in the planes would have died. McDonalds and other fast food companies contribute to the death of 2,000 per day of obese Americans who are hooked on their food.

    Now, I’m not saying I don’t care at all that those people died at the WTC. I am very much saddened. But I am saying that in the long run, their deaths aren’t important for the nation as a whole. Security shouldn’t be THE most important thing that we focus on when there are so many other problems to be addressed. But no one cares about these other things. Everyone just goes along with the crowd and supports outrageous policies such as the banning of photography around tall buildings, and Bush’s plan to catch Osama Bin Laden. As for planning attacks, it will just be the responsibility of another nut case.

  123. taylor says:

    Yeah I myself have had a run in with a security guy. In this run in with a security personel walmart security person, which was not uniformed, I guess under cover?My friend goes “hey its the security guy” the security guy then stops my friend and gives my friend and I a chat, ” I’ll make sure you wont get into another walmart again , if you dont stop” things like that. I wonder if I have the right to know if a person is a security guard or not especialy when one is not uniformed. PLEASE THOMAS HAWK’S YOU GOTTA READ THIS I NEED SOME REAL LAWS ETC. ABOUT THIS SITUATION.

    Thank you.

  124. Anonymous says:

    I was walking on a public sidewalk in a dilapidated,
    small downtown with my mother, people are usually
    absent. I saw an old sign on the side of a building
    and took a photo of it, then I heard some angry man in
    a blue suit say “You can’t do that!” or something like
    that. I put my camera away, looked at him, and then
    he motioned with his finger to “come closer” angrily
    as if I were a child, he seemed to think that I needed
    a scolding (I look young). I didn’t know him, nor his
    intent so I thought it best to “walk away quietly”. I
    was wearing dark sunglasses at the time and I did not
    think his command was very polite nor professional so
    I ignored him as is best to do with people with a
    temper. A fence separated him from me, he was on the
    side of the building, talking on a cell phone at the
    time. I continued walking with my mother on the
    public sidewalk, not saying anything to the man, who
    did not state who he was or who he worked for. He
    then called on his ‘talkie’ to someone else saying to
    watch out for a guy (me), he was blowing it out of
    proportion. I walked on the public sidewalk, crossed
    the street and looked behind me, another man in a blue
    suit was on the sidewalk looking for ‘me’. Nothing
    happened to me but I became very frightened, as did my
    mother, she’s very sensitive. I’m sure the cameras in
    the area filmed me and probably think they are
    “analyzing them” for this incident.

    The building where this man was situated is a Federal
    courthouse, also to note, it has a plaque on it which
    denotes it as a historic building. I never took
    photos of the courthouse, just an old building next to

    I don’t want to seek any action, just know where I
    stand in this situation because it seems pretty absurd
    but I understand the current paranoia of the “security
    state” as well. This could have gotten out of hand
    for no reason, as they “guards” were big and didn’t
    look too friendly. Are they private guards or fed

    Any response is appreciated.

  125. EMDX says:

    2 years ago, in Ottawa, I was hassled by transit security for taking this picture of an old bus, while standing on an extremely and very public sidewalk. When I refused to identify myself to them, they called the cops on me. What followed was a very entertaining shouting match for the bunch of nearby construction workers who were ending their shift, as the coppette (120 pounds of very hot bitch) would not let me place a word as she gave me shit (of course, none ever said which law I broke). It finally ended when the cops realized that by every minute that passed, they looked more and more silly.

  126. Snappy says:

    Hello, I enjoy reading everyones stories on the rights to take a photo, I had been harass many times, I was in Tipton, Missouri. On assignment to take a photo of the front of the prison with the name on a sign in the foreground, after about 12 frames of shooting I was approch by a guard telling me that I cant do that and I needed to come in to see the warden, I was polite about it, so I proceed to the warden office with a smile and introduce myself, the warden was nice too, the warden had to get a clearance through the state capital about me, so I was in the warden office for 30 min. I ask why is it not ok to take a photo of just the front of the place, the warden said for security reason so no one can plan a escape, even if i was on public sidewalk still cant take pictures, I could have been a prick and said that I have the right to, but I decided to play it cool and hope everything will go smooth. After that the warden got a phone call from the state capital and said that I was cleared and ok and Im free to go.

  127. Snappy says:

    Hello Shutterbugs,
    I called the Dept. of Homeland Security, to find out what they had to say about photographers and what can or cannot be photograph. They said that no federal building cannot be photograph unless I go inside and get permission. I said even if im on the public sidewalk, still need permission even if on the sidewalk. I ask if theres any webpages on this topic on their website, they said it in the works. ummm. Now are they right about shooting federal buildings from the public sidewalk, or are they making up their own laws and abusing their authority? Can they do that? ummmmm!!!! After the conversation I ask is their some kind of permit I can get to photograph such places? They told me to go to http://WWW.ICE.Gov, cant find anything there, must’ve started to give me the run around.
    Im gonna keep trying to get some straight answers out of the again. If Dept of Homeland Security is so concern, why dont they give background check and offer a photo pass to honable citizens to photograph anything.

  128. earcaraxe says:

    I was also recently harassed for taking photographs. I was taking photographs of the public waiting area inside of the Greyhound station when security guards told me I had to delete the pictures from my camera. They said that because of 9/11 I can’t take pictures inside a transit area, because it’s a “Threat to the president.”

    Full story here –

  129. Anonymous says:

    More likely, the reason they’re jumpy about photographers around One Bush is that it houses a major telecom exchange.

  130. Anonymous says:

    This was a refurb from Apple. I got the Aluminum skinned, 20 in Imac. Oh wow! And I thought I loved my old Macbook! Financial ManagementCie La Vie Macbook- I love my new Imac!

  131. […] wording of the plaques, mixed in with a little Post-9/11 hysteria, have had a chilling effect on the use of public space. Here in San Francisco, citizens are savvy enough to not leave well enough alone, but the message is […]

  132. I am a 65 year old taxpayer in Cleveland , Ohio. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has a new building here. I was standing in an area that our local politicians vacated a street to give to the Cleveland Clinic. Suddenly 3 marked police cars pulled up and ordered me to leave, saying that taking photos of their buildings was prohibited. I walked to my car parked in a lot at 9500 Euclid. The signs in the lot stated that Key Bank controlled the parking area. Since it was 10:30 PM, Key Bank did not ask me to leave. I started shooting from the parking lot. The three police cars with the 3 armed officers fol-lowed me and instructed me to leave again. I asked them what right they had to order me from a public area. I was afraid I had made a sharp left and ended up in Moscow. Complained to the Cleveland Police and they claimed that the Clinic Police ruled that area of the city. NO HELP. Complained to Mayor’s action line and was sent an e-mail thanking me for writing. GLENN BECK AND RUSH LIMBAUGH ARE RIGHT. WE ARE LOSING OUR FREEDOMS.

  133. […] on making photographs in public and publicly accessible spaces. The reports of photographers being harassed, detained, and threatened with arrest are now legion (my favorite anecdote being Keith Garsee’s […]

  134. I was polite about it, so I proceed to the warden office with a smile and introduce myself, the warden was nice too, the warden had to get a clearance through the state capital about me, so I was in the warden office for 30 min. I ask why is it not ok to take a photo of just the front of the place, the warden said for security reason so no one can plan a escape, even if i was on public sidewalk still cant take pictures

  135. jeannie says:

    This was the funniest story of a harassment I have read.
    and the photo you posted is beautiful.
    As for those who are so willing to give up your rights, go right ahead, I’ll fight for mine.
    it is not illegal to take a photograph, its a hobby and for some a profession for gods sake.
    stop and think where it could go from there if you don’t stop it now.

    thanks for this info and for making it public

  136. […] blogged about three of these incidents that crossed the line. One was when a security guard at One Bush was following me around the sidewalk trying to put his hand in front of my camera and not allowing […]

  137. […] blogged about three of these incidents that crossed the line. One was when a security guard at One Bush was following me around the sidewalk trying to put his hand in front of my camera and not allowing […]

  138. […] blogged about 3 of these incidents that crossed the line. One was when a security guard at One Bush was following me around the sidewalk attempting to put his hand in front of my camera and not […]

  139. […] blogged about three of these incidents that crossed the line. One was when a security guard at One Bush was following me around the sidewalk trying to put his hand in front of my camera and not allowing […]

  140. I found your blog web site on google and verify just a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the excellent operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for forward to studying more from you in a while!…

  141. […] I blogged about three of these incidents that crossed the line. It was when a security guard at A Bush followed me around the sidewalk trying to his hand in front of my camera and did not allow me to […]

  142. taylor510ce says:

    Isn’t it funny how people accept the erosion of our rights as photographers due to protecting us from terrorists, but everyone is appaled if we start profiling guys with beards and turbins?

  143. […] of my photos appears in the magazine and I wrote up a brief essay on my experience when harrased for trying to shoot One Bush St. in San […]

  144. […] of my photos appears in the magazine and I wrote up a brief essay on my experience when harrased for trying to shoot One Bush St. in San […]

  145. […] blogged about three of these incidents that crossed the line. One was when a security guard at One Bush was following me around the sidewalk trying to put his hand in front of my camera and not allowing […]