Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hidden agenda

Hasselblad 500 c/m, 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar T*, Kodak Ektachrome 100vs, cross processed

Taken on August at Southport Train Station.

As I took it, I had a run in with the train station manager.... When posed with the question, camera clearly in hand .... "Sir, can I ask what you're doing?", there is but one answer, right? So when I said "Er.. taking a photo. What does it look like?!" - he can't have been too surprised. He then said "Why are you taking pictures of the barriers? I'm the station manager and I need to know." and I said, "Because I'm a photographer." - and left that one hang in the air for a moment.  It didn't go down too well. He said I was a hostile individual, that he could call the police over if I so desired and I could perhaps explain to them what I was doing.  I continued to give him the briefest answers possible, as he got more annoyed with me.  Oh, I'm bad.... It went on for a while like that, him adding that for all he knew I could be a terrorist scoping out the place, and that my vague answers weren't impressing him especially given the current climate.

I eventually explained to him, because he looked like he was about to pop a vein (and my train was about to leave), that I had bought the camera yesterday, that I was running a test roll of Kodak Ektachrome through the camera which saturates colour very nicely, and that the red lit up "X"'s on the rear of the barriers were the reason I was taking the photo. (I didn't feel it wise to tell him that I'd fully expected a confrontation and I was in fact taking the photograph as a visual representation of the U.K's increasingly restricted freedom.) I said to him that over zealous security guards, not knowing the law, pissed me off, that I was in fact in a public place - not the station itself - and that I could take photographs of whatever I liked within reason. I added that I understood he was only doing his job, but really.. do I look like a terrorist?, one with a 35 year old film camera?, and surely if I was on a mission to photograph the place for an evil purpose, wouldn't I be a lot more discrete about it? Asking for his photograph as part of my 100Strangers project would have been a stroke of genius, and it's a shame I only thought of this as I'd got on my train....

12:23 AM