Posts tagged with Tripodophobia

Six photographers in search of a security guard

This is great stuff – six photographers see what happens when they take their cameras round the financial district of London. Best of all, the police know and enforce the law.

Via Duckrabbit

Mass shooting at City Hall

Last year's I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist mass gathering in Trafalgar Square, London

Photographer Not a Terrorist is organising another event on at 12:30 on Tuesday 3rd May at City Hall, London SE1 2AA:

PHNAT is concerned about the role of private security guards in the prevention of terrorism. Their role has been promoted by police, with the result that many privately employed guards are illegally preventing citizens from taking any photographs at all.

Areas designated as public realm are often privately managed spaces that are subject to rules laid down by the private management companies. Most insidious of these is the outright banning of photography in some of our most widely enjoyed public spaces, such as Canary Wharf and the Thames Walk between Tower Bridge and City Hall.

The mass gathering will highlight the restrictions on street photography in a public space. Photographers are encouraged to bring a tripod.

It coincides with International Press Freedom Day and on a weekday, which may depress numbers attending, but as my own perfectly-legal and harmless . . .


Uniformed officials seem to have an unnatural fear of tripods. I’ve observed this before, at City Hall, the Swiss Re, and more pleasantly at the Tower of London. But my recent enthusiasm for digital infrared has meant I’ve needed to use the tripod as the infrared filter is opaque and you have to compose the picture and then place it over the lens. Exposure times are over a second with the lens wide open, and I like to stop down and use times of up to 30 seconds which blur clouds and trees.

So I’m introducing a new “Tripodophobia” category to highlight jobsworths and to encourage other London photographers to visit the locations and lay down their tripods.

On a couple of occasions, at Nunhead Cemetery and at the Thames Barrier, the officials were pleasant and only asked if I was photographing commercially. Of course I say no and that it’s a hobby, and of course this is being economical with the truth – if someone wants to buy the shots, I’ll sell them, and I’ll use them in future books. On . . .

Paranoid androids

After my recent brush with authority at City Hall, thanks to Charles for drawing my attention to this letter in the Independent about a guy arrested for sketching near a railway station in London. What seems especially suspicious and worthy of police involvement was that he had a book on Iranian philisophy and a foreign newspaper.

Reply from the Mayor

A few weeks ago I posted that I had written to London’s Mayor about a guard trying to stop me using a tripod to photograph London City Hall. I got an answer, and here it is in full:

Dear Mr Beardsworth
Thank you for your correspondence. The site is run by our landlord More London who operates the external security. The landlord who privately owns City Hall and its area also funded the development.
We assume the More London security guard incorrectly believed you to be a member of the press. We actively encourage the public to visit and enjoy City Hall and its surroundings and are confident that More London will address this issue.
Yours sincerely
(name and position)

So, I’d encourage anyone to photograph this interesting building, use a tripod, and if a little man in a uniform tries to stop you, just ask him how he is actively encouraging the public to enjoy the building and its surroundings.

Give a man a uniform

London’s new City Hall is one of the city’s more photogenic recent developments. If you don’t know it, the Norman Foster-designed building stands alone on the riverside and is surrounded by an open paved space laid out in swirls echoing the building’s strange shape. The area is completely open to the public.

Early Sunday morning – so early no-one else was about – I was at City Hall with my camera and tripod. As I had already got the pictures I wanted, and the sun was now causing flare with the 14mm Sigma wide-angle, so I was going to move on, but first I just wanted to try some alternative compositions and had the camera in my hand and the tripod over to one side. A security guard passed me and stopped about 25 metres away, and as I had the feeling he was watching me I decided to put the camera on the tripod.

Within seconds he came over and asked (politely) if I had a permit to photograph with a tripod. I told him very firmly but politely that I . . .