I fought the law ….

I’ve been doing a lot of different work these days. Working to overcome my weaknesses while  improving my strengths. For some time now I’ve been in love with photographing work that I guess could be described asindustrial landscape. Bridges,trains,  factories, junk yards, power lines. You name it. Any time I’m driving home on the Turnpike or RT 1/9 I can’t help but want to pull over and admire the skylines stark beauty.  As of late I’ve been putting aside time to go off road and explore areas like Newark, Kearney and the outlying areas. Often time stopping to walk around and shoot pictures as the tractor trailers, semis and delivery trucks rumble past. I know there are a lot of people who would go out of their way to avoid this kind of thing. I know a lot of people might find it downright ugly. But for me there is something peaceful about it.

As I was headed into Newark this afternoon I took a wrong turn and got a little sidetracked. I passed through the Ironbound section of Newark and onto a series of bridges, power lines and factories. I found a nice secluded place to park, got my camera and started shooting. Within A few minutes two Police SUV’s pulled up. (Business as usual) I knew why they were there. I just wasn’t sure how they got there so fast. One of the risks of taking the kind of pictures I often take is these areas are often considered off limits to pedestrians. Especially pedestrians with cameras. Needless to say I’m used to having to explain myself. Though security guards are often quick on the draw or to pull out the knight stick. Police are usually a lot nicer and just question you and get your information. In the past I tended to be a prick when I got pulled over which in turn invited hostility and prolonged detention. These days I’m a lot more mature and understand that it’s just par for the course. I know they have a job to do and I know that there are crazies out there that might have some sick plan to blow up said bridge or factory. These officers were totally cool. I explained what I was doing and even gave them a business card along with my drivers license. I even told them I understood their concern and that I was living in New York City  during 9/11.After what seemed like a lengthy time he let me go on my way with a warning. Before I left I showed him the pictures I had taken which he seemed to like. I offered to erase the card but he said it was appreciated but not necessary. Not a terrible experience overall. Most of the time if you just act right and explain yourself people will be cool with you. I intend on taking more trips into the industrial areas to explore the opportunities and I am sure the law won’t be far behind.

Photographers Rights

Terror AlertLast week while taking pictures in Hoboken (my town) I was swiftly pulled over by three Police cars. They came up on me quickly and boxed me into a corner.
An officer came up to me and very politely asked me what I was doing. They had received calls about a “suspicious looking photographer taking pictures near the trains and overpass.” The officer was cool. he just asked me what I was taking the pictures for and if i was working on any project, which I was. I told him I was a photographer and gave him a card which displayed an image like the kind I was shooting. He complimented my work and asked “Don’t you listen to the news? There’s a heightened terror alert today.” I laughed and told him I try to stay away from the news since it all seems bad. He radioed back “It’s just a photographer who’s working on a project. He’s legit.” Within a few seconds they raced off and I continued on my merry way.
I wouldn’t consider this a bad experience but it just goes to remind me how often this happens. I’ve been confronted by Police, Security Guards and just random people about where I can and can not take pictures. All the while our every move is being watched, filmed and documented. All so we can be protected from “ourselves”. I understand the fear that 9/11 created. I lost friends and family as did so many people. Yes, I understand the fear and the need to protect people but I don’t want to live in fear and be kept from doing the things I love because of it.