Jan 2, 2008 :: Peachtree Street. Taking it up a level.

I feel your frostbitten pain, Audrey. It was 20-some degrees outside at noon when I hiked to the sandwich shop for lunch--apocalyptic, global-warming gone-very-very-wrong cold by Atlanta standards. By the time I arrived, 20 minutes and a zillion blocks later (I wanted a particular type of sandwich that was kind of far away), my glasses had frosted over in a really amazing, crystalline way. I really regret not photographing that, actually. But the people behind the counter (who hate it when you don't pay attention to them) were demanding my complete focus and I don't piss people off who will be soon touching all over my food.

Of the things I considered on the street today, beyond the ice-pick pain in my ears from the wind, was how much suspicion a lone person with a camera attracts these days. Time was (near about ott-two, ott-three) when I was continually thrown out of random locations for wielding a dangerous Canon. The reason was always some kind of vague national security. I was told "You can't photograph that," and asked "Do you have permission to be here?" more times than I can count, and since I was often part of a group photographing for a company that never asked permission for anything, I spent more time than I'd like to admit being interrogated by homeland security, rent-a-cops and city police. In the Port of San Francisco. In the train station in Winnipeg, Canada. In an abandoned lot in Los Angeles. We were usually in the public domain, and never caused any disturbance, but since apparently snapping a picture of graffiti or sidewalks or public transportation can be construed as anti-patriotic, suspicious behavior, our arguments usually fell on deaf ears. We learned to set up and shoot fast, talk a good game (I was fond of claiming to be a student and smiling winningly, or talking marketing-speak until the cop got bored and told us to just hurry up), and never be afraid to sneak back after the shift change to get the shot.

Today I took the picture above. It's a manhole cover for some kind of communications pipeline, I guess. I just enjoyed the fact that a road crew worker had taken the time to paint just the center day-glo orange. But you watch. Somewhere on a terrorist watch site, my pictures is there. A lone, freezing girl in a blue flowered coat, bending over in the middle of the busiest street in the south.

If I don't post again, someone please grab my "papers" and come find me, please?

1 comment:

Northern Constitutional said...

Ooh, even if it's by accident that's so cool and disestablishmentarianism of you. And let my adjust my suspenders and push my glasses up my nose, "Hoth" is the icy planet on which the rebels are hiding at the beginning of "Empire Strikes Back".