The Photographer As An Instrument of Evil; A Case Study

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Alan K., Jun 3, 2007.

  1. Alan K.

    Alan K. Guest

    (For non .au types, the Illawarra coast runs to the south of Sydney.
    The main city in the region is Wollongong, once a purely industrial
    centre but which has, over the last few years, been trying to reinvent
    itself as a hub of tourism amongst other things. Including,
    disturbingly, as a centre of learning based on its university. The
    following tale does not auger well for success in this, though the
    moron concerned should not be taken as a typical example of the
    region's residents.)

    Come now fellow photographers, it's time to confess. No more beating
    around the bush. We. Are. Evil. Nothing spells malevolent intent more
    than the possession of a photographic device, which is a weapon of
    industrial espionage, of paedophilia and of course, it goes without
    saying... of Terrorism (!).

    I hope you read that last word with the appropriate level of Dread and
    Awe. (Registered trade mark of Protectors Of Freedom (Ours, Not Yours)
    Inc.) If not, go back and read it again. This time I expect to see
    your blood pressure rise by at least 20 points.

    Let me tell you about the latest weapon in the fight against the
    invidious device known as the camera; the mighty intellect of one of
    the security 'droids at Wollongong Crown Plaza shopping centre. But
    first, some context.

    I decided to take a long weekend to get serious about upgrading my
    camera skills in a series of photo shoots along the Illawarra coast.
    Not that I expected to come away with any great or classic shots from
    this exercise; the objective was just to shoot with various lenses,
    various focal lengths, various ISOs, various times of day and so on
    and so forth and try to acquire an instinct for what works and what
    doesn't. Such skills would be my passport; a passport to participate
    in the activities of one of the members of the TRUE Axis Of Evil. No,
    not Iraq, Iran and North Korea, they're just amateurs. I'm talking
    about PBase and Flickr, our Dark Lords.

    Come Saturday morning I'd been doing some shooting at Wollongong's
    beaches. (Which included some shots of the steelworks in the
    background; you know, just in case I wanted to blow it up one lazy
    Sunday afternoon when I was bored, or sell its industrial secrets to
    The Muppets.) After a few hours I decided to take a break, slung the
    camera over my shoulder and capped the lens, and wandered along into
    the main shopping centre in search of coffee and cake. Hell, I was so
    peckish I even considered going to a Starbucks if I could find one.

    There was an Italian Week festival on out in the Crown Street plaza at
    the time. I wended my way through it in search of the main shopping
    centre buildings, which I eventually stumbled upon. Now for those of
    you who are used to new, sanitised but highly ordered Westfield type
    centres, this ain't one. It's a rat's nest which has grown and
    expanded and been jury-rigged across a couple of different buildings
    over the last several decades in such a way that it's almost
    impossible to find anything. If Westfield owned it, its ass would have
    been obliterated and rebuilt from the ground up at least 5 years ago.
    It DID have a multimedia touch screen which told me the way to a
    Gloria Jeans (eh, what the hell, I needed a caffeine hit) but as near
    as I could tell the instructions were "Build yourself a Star Trek
    transporter and have yourself beamed to the following co-ordinates".

    I roll my eyes, turn away and resume my wandering. At this point I'm
    approached by a security 'droid, bearing all the gravitas that 25-odd
    years of acquired wisdom and a year 10 education with straight D
    passes can bestow.

    'Droid: [Mumble?]
    Me, foolishly thinking that he had seen me at the touch screen and
    wanted to offer assistance: "Sorry?'
    'Droid, pointing to my shoulder-slung camera: "You takin' picshas?"
    Me, with disgusted expression on my face, knowing exactly what his
    point is: "No. It's slung over my shoulder. Cameras generally work
    better when you have the lens cap off and put them up to your eye to
    aim them."
    'Droid: "Butcha got a camera." Clearly there is foulness afoot here
    since a camera IS present, but the 'Droid's circuits are having a hard
    time processing exactly what my evil intentions are.
    Me, through gritted teeth: "I'm a tourist. Tourists have a tendency to
    carry cameras."
    'Droid, whose brain is trying desperately to parse this piece of
    information but finding that it's still locked in an endless loop of
    "Do Camera = Trouble While Universe Exists", feels his synapses
    overheating. He then gets a divine flash of inspiration: "Bud idza big
    camera for a tourist! Are you with the media or somethin'?"
    Yes, that's right you freaking moron, I'm going to lie about being a
    tourist because the media is just SO interested in getting images of
    the archaic pile of metaphorical dog $hit that passes for the shopping
    centre that employs you.
    Me, with a "mate if I was even an eighth as evil as you think I am,
    you'd be a smouldering pile of ashes right now" look on my face: "Let
    me enlighten you. This is a Canon EOS 300D. (Rebel, for any USAians
    reading this; not the current model (which is the 400D to us), nor the
    previous one (350D), but the one before that with 6.3 Megapixels Of
    Doom.) It has a silver body. That colour alone usually signifies a
    pro-sumer model, something which is for enthusiasts, not
    professionals. If I was a professional I'd have a 1D. A 1D IS BLACK,
    AND AT LEAST 25% LARGER THAN A 300D. THE MISMATCH BETWEEN THE SIZE OF
    THE LENS (it's a 24-105 f4L) AND THE BODY IS ALSO A CLUE THAT THIS IS
    NOT A PROFESSIONAL KIT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
    'Droid: "I was just askin' is all... Maybe ya were takin' pickshas of
    the Italian festival an' started takin' 'em in here."
    The Italian festival is out in the Plaza, genius. In here are cut
    price-clothing and junk food stores. WHY would I take pictures in HERE
    of something that's happening out THERE? However were I to raise that
    question, it's entirely possible that the 'droid's brain would have
    exploded. Despite the minute quantities involved, it can be a bitch to
    scrape 'droid-brain off a lens hood. I decide to ask a different
    question.
    Me: "Do you think that there's any value in becoming INFORMED before
    'just asking'?"
    'Droid: "Yeah, yeah, I was just askin' is all..."
    Me: walks off in disgust and shaking my head that this is what the
    world is these days; entirely devoid of common sense and so fracking
    paranoid that you'll eventually be required to submit to a colonoscopy
    before leaving your front door to prove that you're not concealing
    anything which is capable of Eeeevul Intent.

    The 'Droid and I again crossed paths as I continued to meander through
    the retail labyrinth, but on the next occasion he couldn't look away
    from me fast enough. As well he might. FEAR THE AWESOME POWER OF MY
    EVIL 300D, 'DROID, AND BE PREPARED TO BE SMITTEN!

    And that's NOTHING compared to what I could do to him once I got an
    image of his shopping centre into Photoshop CS2. Mwu-hu-ha-ha!!! All
    praise Deke McClelland, high priest of CMYK!

    Remember boys and girls, while digital compacts are evil incarnate,
    DSLRs are the precursor of the Apocalypse. Thank the Dark Lords of
    Flickr that I left my Manfrotto tripod back at the hotel and that I
    didn't have a 70-200mm f4L white bodied lens attached to my 300D;
    either one would have completely given the game away. As it was, the
    presence of my 24-105 f4L was almost enough to have me wrapping my
    head in a tea-towel, formally changing my name to Alan Bin Kaden, and
    booking myself on the first flight to Gitmo with a bag full of Semtex.

    Still, the rest of the world, not to mention the whole of the
    Illawarra region, can sleep soundly knowing that it's protected by...
    SECURITY 'DROID! [Insert appropriate fanfare here.]

    (And just to tick me off even further, I got a sodding spec of dust on
    the sensor this weekend while changing lenses...)
     
    Alan K., Jun 3, 2007
    #1
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  2. Alan K.

    cgiorgio Guest

    Why did'nt you tell him the truth: that you are a free lance photographer
    for Perfect Security magazine, seeking to take pictures for the Security
    Guard of the Year feature?
     
    cgiorgio, Jun 3, 2007
    #2
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  3. Alan K.

    Rob Guest


    Thats well put.

    So you don't believe what they say?

    "Wollongong City Centre is a dynamic Business Improvement District,
    modelled on many successful districts throughout USA and UK. It is the
    regions major retail centre and home to a vast range of facilities and
    attractions for the tourist and residents."
    Where were you exactly in the mall or the shopping centre????

    There are two security firms, one for the mall and the other for crown
    central shopping centre.

    Gloria jeans is on the mall.

    thats about right.

    Ill pass that on to the mall management Plus you should contact them
    yourself. The mall is a council run business.


    Paul Fanning.
    Manager
    Wollongong City Mall
    http://www.wollongongcity.com.au/contact/
    Phone:(02) 42 261188
    Fax:(02) 42 261317

    This should go also to the City Councillors.

    Ann Wood
    Mobile:0417 650 392
    Email:
    Fax:4229 8136

    Carolyn Griffiths
    Mobile:0407 294 039
    Email:
    Fax:4225 8253

    Andrew Anthony
    Mobile:0411 969 365
    Email:
    Fax:4271 4764

    David Brown
    Mobile:0417 223 609
    Email:
    Fax:4226 3791
     
    Rob, Jun 3, 2007
    #3
  4. Alan K.

    Rob Guest

    Alan

    pls contact - photoptic at gmail dot com

    r
     
    Rob, Jun 3, 2007
    #4
  5. Alan K.

    Alan K. Guest

    This was in the shopping centre itself. Oh believe me, I WOULD be
    complaining through channels if it had happened in a public place like
    the street/plaza/mall whatever it may be called, but shopping centre
    managements DO have the right to ask you not to take photos inside
    their premises.

    This, I have no problem with. It's stupid, it's paranoid, and I think
    that in 50 years or so there will be people lamenting the fact that
    there are few candid shots of daily commercial life in the early 21st
    century. (As opposed to glossy, airbrushed set-ups of impossibly good
    looking people with impossibly white teeth and impossibly clear
    complexions smiling and laughing orgasmically as they swing their
    shopping bags (having just achieved their life's true purpose via
    their purchases) as they make their way through the halls of BigStore
    Mall.)

    So yes, stupid, pathetic, paranoid... but their house, their rules and
    I have no problem with that.

    What I DO have a problem with is being interrogated by a mindless
    drone just by virtue of the fact that I was CARRYING a camera despite
    it being (clearly, if the drone put any thought into the matter at
    all) just a dead weight slung over my shoulder at the time.
    Yup, I stumbled across it eventually. Presumably it's still built into
    the outside of one of the shopping centre's buildings, though, since
    it DOES come up if you do a search of the shopping centre's useless
    multimedia directory, as I did. That directory was somewhere in the
    bowels of the shopping centre itself (don't ask me to be more specific
    than that; it took me long enough to find my way out and I was almost
    tempted to start leaving a trail of breadcrumbs) and it did tell me
    that I had to go to another building, but it was less clear on how I
    should get there.
     
    Alan K., Jun 3, 2007
    #5
  6. Alan K.

    Alan K. Guest

    See, now YOUR mind is evil enough to qualify for a Flickr Pro account.

    I must aspire to this. 8^>
     
    Alan K., Jun 3, 2007
    #6
  7. Alan K.

    Prometheus Guest

    Tale of mindless security cut for the sake of our sanity. If I was
    planing anything I would not draw attention to myself by walking around
    taking photographs, I would walk around and then go away and make a
    drawing. I can see what comes next, "you've got a pencil!", "wot yer
    do'in wid paper", etc.
    At least it keeps them of the street, warm, dry, and save them feeling
    useless.
    That I can feel for...
     
    Prometheus, Jun 3, 2007
    #7
  8. Alan K.

    Joan Guest

    Jeez, Alan, all he wanted was for you to take his picsha!

    Not sure how he would benefit from your having a picture of him,
    though.

    --
    Joan
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/joan-in-manly

    : (For non .au types, the Illawarra coast runs to the south of Sydney.
    : The main city in the region is Wollongong, once a purely industrial
    : centre but which has, over the last few years, been trying to
    reinvent
    : itself as a hub of tourism amongst other things. Including,
    : disturbingly, as a centre of learning based on its university. The
    : following tale does not auger well for success in this, though the
    : moron concerned should not be taken as a typical example of the
    : region's residents.)
    :
    : Come now fellow photographers, it's time to confess. No more beating
    : around the bush. We. Are. Evil. Nothing spells malevolent intent
    more
    : than the possession of a photographic device, which is a weapon of
    : industrial espionage, of paedophilia and of course, it goes without
    : saying... of Terrorism (!).
    :
    : I hope you read that last word with the appropriate level of Dread
    and
    : Awe. (Registered trade mark of Protectors Of Freedom (Ours, Not
    Yours)
    : Inc.) If not, go back and read it again. This time I expect to see
    : your blood pressure rise by at least 20 points.
    :
    : Let me tell you about the latest weapon in the fight against the
    : invidious device known as the camera; the mighty intellect of one of
    : the security 'droids at Wollongong Crown Plaza shopping centre. But
    : first, some context.
    :
    : I decided to take a long weekend to get serious about upgrading my
    : camera skills in a series of photo shoots along the Illawarra coast.
    : Not that I expected to come away with any great or classic shots
    from
    : this exercise; the objective was just to shoot with various lenses,
    : various focal lengths, various ISOs, various times of day and so on
    : and so forth and try to acquire an instinct for what works and what
    : doesn't. Such skills would be my passport; a passport to participate
    : in the activities of one of the members of the TRUE Axis Of Evil.
    No,
    : not Iraq, Iran and North Korea, they're just amateurs. I'm talking
    : about PBase and Flickr, our Dark Lords.
    :
    : Come Saturday morning I'd been doing some shooting at Wollongong's
    : beaches. (Which included some shots of the steelworks in the
    : background; you know, just in case I wanted to blow it up one lazy
    : Sunday afternoon when I was bored, or sell its industrial secrets to
    : The Muppets.) After a few hours I decided to take a break, slung the
    : camera over my shoulder and capped the lens, and wandered along into
    : the main shopping centre in search of coffee and cake. Hell, I was
    so
    : peckish I even considered going to a Starbucks if I could find one.
    :
    : There was an Italian Week festival on out in the Crown Street plaza
    at
    : the time. I wended my way through it in search of the main shopping
    : centre buildings, which I eventually stumbled upon. Now for those of
    : you who are used to new, sanitised but highly ordered Westfield type
    : centres, this ain't one. It's a rat's nest which has grown and
    : expanded and been jury-rigged across a couple of different buildings
    : over the last several decades in such a way that it's almost
    : impossible to find anything. If Westfield owned it, its ass would
    have
    : been obliterated and rebuilt from the ground up at least 5 years
    ago.
    : It DID have a multimedia touch screen which told me the way to a
    : Gloria Jeans (eh, what the hell, I needed a caffeine hit) but as
    near
    : as I could tell the instructions were "Build yourself a Star Trek
    : transporter and have yourself beamed to the following co-ordinates".
    :
    : I roll my eyes, turn away and resume my wandering. At this point I'm
    : approached by a security 'droid, bearing all the gravitas that
    25-odd
    : years of acquired wisdom and a year 10 education with straight D
    : passes can bestow.
    :
    : 'Droid: [Mumble?]
    : Me, foolishly thinking that he had seen me at the touch screen and
    : wanted to offer assistance: "Sorry?'
    : 'Droid, pointing to my shoulder-slung camera: "You takin' picshas?"
    : Me, with disgusted expression on my face, knowing exactly what his
    : point is: "No. It's slung over my shoulder. Cameras generally work
    : better when you have the lens cap off and put them up to your eye to
    : aim them."
    : 'Droid: "Butcha got a camera." Clearly there is foulness afoot here
    : since a camera IS present, but the 'Droid's circuits are having a
    hard
    : time processing exactly what my evil intentions are.
    : Me, through gritted teeth: "I'm a tourist. Tourists have a tendency
    to
    : carry cameras."
    : 'Droid, whose brain is trying desperately to parse this piece of
    : information but finding that it's still locked in an endless loop of
    : "Do Camera = Trouble While Universe Exists", feels his synapses
    : overheating. He then gets a divine flash of inspiration: "Bud idza
    big
    : camera for a tourist! Are you with the media or somethin'?"
    : Yes, that's right you freaking moron, I'm going to lie about being a
    : tourist because the media is just SO interested in getting images of
    : the archaic pile of metaphorical dog $hit that passes for the
    shopping
    : centre that employs you.
    : Me, with a "mate if I was even an eighth as evil as you think I am,
    : you'd be a smouldering pile of ashes right now" look on my face:
    "Let
    : me enlighten you. This is a Canon EOS 300D. (Rebel, for any USAians
    : reading this; not the current model (which is the 400D to us), nor
    the
    : previous one (350D), but the one before that with 6.3 Megapixels Of
    : Doom.) It has a silver body. That colour alone usually signifies a
    : pro-sumer model, something which is for enthusiasts, not
    : professionals. If I was a professional I'd have a 1D. A 1D IS BLACK,
    : AND AT LEAST 25% LARGER THAN A 300D. THE MISMATCH BETWEEN THE SIZE
    OF
    : THE LENS (it's a 24-105 f4L) AND THE BODY IS ALSO A CLUE THAT THIS
    IS
    : NOT A PROFESSIONAL KIT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
    : 'Droid: "I was just askin' is all... Maybe ya were takin' pickshas
    of
    : the Italian festival an' started takin' 'em in here."
    : The Italian festival is out in the Plaza, genius. In here are cut
    : price-clothing and junk food stores. WHY would I take pictures in
    HERE
    : of something that's happening out THERE? However were I to raise
    that
    : question, it's entirely possible that the 'droid's brain would have
    : exploded. Despite the minute quantities involved, it can be a bitch
    to
    : scrape 'droid-brain off a lens hood. I decide to ask a different
    : question.
    : Me: "Do you think that there's any value in becoming INFORMED before
    : 'just asking'?"
    : 'Droid: "Yeah, yeah, I was just askin' is all..."
    : Me: walks off in disgust and shaking my head that this is what the
    : world is these days; entirely devoid of common sense and so fracking
    : paranoid that you'll eventually be required to submit to a
    colonoscopy
    : before leaving your front door to prove that you're not concealing
    : anything which is capable of Eeeevul Intent.
    :
    : The 'Droid and I again crossed paths as I continued to meander
    through
    : the retail labyrinth, but on the next occasion he couldn't look away
    : from me fast enough. As well he might. FEAR THE AWESOME POWER OF MY
    : EVIL 300D, 'DROID, AND BE PREPARED TO BE SMITTEN!
    :
    : And that's NOTHING compared to what I could do to him once I got an
    : image of his shopping centre into Photoshop CS2. Mwu-hu-ha-ha!!! All
    : praise Deke McClelland, high priest of CMYK!
    :
    : Remember boys and girls, while digital compacts are evil incarnate,
    : DSLRs are the precursor of the Apocalypse. Thank the Dark Lords of
    : Flickr that I left my Manfrotto tripod back at the hotel and that I
    : didn't have a 70-200mm f4L white bodied lens attached to my 300D;
    : either one would have completely given the game away. As it was, the
    : presence of my 24-105 f4L was almost enough to have me wrapping my
    : head in a tea-towel, formally changing my name to Alan Bin Kaden,
    and
    : booking myself on the first flight to Gitmo with a bag full of
    Semtex.
    :
    : Still, the rest of the world, not to mention the whole of the
    : Illawarra region, can sleep soundly knowing that it's protected
    by...
    : SECURITY 'DROID! [Insert appropriate fanfare here.]
    :
    : (And just to tick me off even further, I got a sodding spec of dust
    on
    : the sensor this weekend while changing lenses...)
    :
     
    Joan, Jun 3, 2007
    #8
  9. Alan K.

    Avery Guest


    Yeah, yeah, yeah

    but did you get a picture of him?
     
    Avery, Jun 3, 2007
    #9
  10. Me, with a "mate if I was even an eighth as evil as you think I am,
    And there you have it.
    You walk into a town in a country where weapons are controlled carrying a
    Big Black Cannon on your shoulder.
    What else do you expect but to get attention from the "peace officers"?
     
    Jeroen Wenting, Jun 3, 2007
    #10
  11. Alan K.

    Alan K. Guest

    Ahem, silver...
    Heh, you have a point, the 'droid probably couldn't spell and didn't
    know the difference...
    Yes, I probably shouldn't have walked around dressed like Clint
    Eastwood in Pale Rider either, causing him to do the best Richard
    Dysart impersonation he could: "Youse is trouble, mister!"

    In an interesting coincidence, however, the Sydney Morning Herald's
    web site did a photo gallery of lives of quiet desperation lived at
    Erina Fair shopping centre, a region which has no aspirations of
    reinventing itself in any way. Gods preserve us from this kind of
    life.

    Story:
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national...1180809340821.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

    Gallery:
    http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/2007/national/erina-fair/index.html

    I wonder whether the photographer got permission, or whether he just
    dodged the 'droids for the day...
     
    Alan K., Jun 4, 2007
    #11
  12. Alan K.

    Rob Guest

    I've had some interesting feed back of this incident.

    r
     
    Rob, Jun 4, 2007
    #12
  13. Alan K.

    Alan K. Guest

    Well, do tell, do tell...
     
    Alan K., Jun 4, 2007
    #13
  14. Alan K.

    Terryc Guest

    I think you're drawing a long straw there. This would be any shopping
    centre where "the workers" commute to other areas for employment. The
    whole Gosford/Central Coast area has been a commute to Sydney for work
    area for over fifty years.

    Also always had a large retirement population. Erina would have been on
    the edge of the Kincumber, Davistown, Avoca area that was very popular
    with retirees.

    Busy times would be Thursday nights and Saturday morning/weekends when
    the workers are home.


    Actually very few shots and lots of people seemed happy for him to take
    shots, so the droids probably figured he was "family"
     
    Terryc, Jun 4, 2007
    #14
  15. Alan K.

    Rob Guest

    I have given you the opportunity.
     
    Rob, Jun 5, 2007
    #15
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