Here we go. Classic example of security having a go at photographers.
This is the tallest building in Liverpool, Beetham Tower. I’ve photographed it a few times from a distance as part of skyline images. This was the first time I’ve gone right up to it to capture it at 10mm for a potential HDR. I’ll be honest, I did step off the pavement and about 2 meters onto their little path in front of the building to get this photo. A whole 2 meters there. I noticed the security guard was watching me all this time. I was just waiting for him to come out but he didn’t, then. I walked around the building, using the public pavement and then stepped about 5 meters down a side road between Beetham Tower and the passport office to get another close up wide angle shot. That was it. Security came out. I had moved back to the pavement by the time they reached me. I saw him coming and waited. I wasn’t going to walk or run off. I knew he was coming for me to tell me I can’t take photos. I was going to stand my ground and see what he had to say.
“Do you have permission to take photos of this building?” he asks. Here we go. “I’m standing on public property, why would I need permission?” I tell him. He continues to explain how I need permission to photograph it, and I continue to explain that I’m standing on public property and I can legally photograph the building. He doesn’t believe me. He says the passport office security called him because they saw me on cctv. He radios them and says that I’m refusing to leave to which I tell him flat out that I’m not at all refusing. He never asked me to leave so why would I be refusing? 2 more security guards descend from black ops helicopters ;) One in a suit waves the other guy away. Now it turns nasty.
Mr Suit asks me if I have permission and I ask him why would I need it when I’m on public property. He says that I’m not on public property, but as far as I’m aware the pavement was. He continues to argue about their property and land. Ok so they do have me stepping 5 meters down a side road between the 2 buildings. Oh god I’m such a bad boy. I concede that point to them but continue to stand my ground about public property. He says he’ll call the Police on me. At this point I came very close to saying “Go for it.” but it was late and I didn’t want to spend hours arguing about this. It was after all the Passport office and I know I can’t take photos of it, which is exactly why I didn’t. It occurs to me just why is the guy from the passport office here when I was photographing the building next to his? Why is he pushing so hard? Its all a bit silly. He tells me to walk away or he’ll call the Police and I say I’m happy to walk away. Of course I continue to argue my point, me being me and all. I ask them to clarify the line of public and private property. He can’t. He continues to be argumentative and strong minded. He tells me to walk away and that he’s allowing me to keep the photos. Haha! Again I nearly tell him that he has no right to get me to delete them anyway. However, I figure that if after 10 minutes I haven’t got them to admit that I can take photos from public property I doubt I’ll win any point I make. I assert that I can take photos of Beetham Tower from public property, they say I can’t and that I need permission. He tells me to get lost. I figure I’ve said my peace, and that I know I’m legally in the right to take photos of that building. I decide to walk away, slowly. I watch him, he watches me. I look around in case there are any more nice shots as I head back to my car. He continues to watch me. I stop across the road from him and send a few txt’s, just incase I’m suddenly disappeared or something. He’s still watching, talking to his colleagues. I head down the road and off to Sainsburys for some Milkyway Magic Stars as a reward for sticking it to the man.
This is now the 4th time I’ve had security telling me what I can’t do on Old Hall Street in Liverpool. I can’t take a photo of your building? O rly? What about the millions of tourists who already have because it forms part of the bloody skyline? What about Google Earth? Oh look, all your precious buildings are already online for anyone to see. Look at this too. All those photos already taken. All from public property I assume, which is perfectly legal.
Its just so darn silly. You build the tallest building in Liverpool and then get security to harass people when they want to take photos. Why? Of course people will want to take photos, its the biggest building. Are you going to have security patrols running around town stopping people taking photos? Its pretty damn visible from almost all over Liverpool, what with being the tallest building and all. I’m sure with the height a sniper team could take out that kid and his girlfriend on Everton Brow who accidently get it in their shot with their 1 megapixel camera phone.
C’mon guys, just lay off the photographers whose only crime is capturing light. I think it’d be quite fun to have a McHammer photography flashmob outside these buildings. Everyone in parachute pants taking photos from public property. “Can’t touch this.”