Today, July 24th, 2008 at 3:40pm, I got harassed in Downtown Los Angeles at the TCW Group building on W 8th Pl and S Figueroa St. I got nine photos in before I got approached by Daron [last name withheld]. He told me I couldn’t take photos of the building, despite my being on the sidewalk.
He radioed in and said something.
Me: Am I being detained?
Me: Well, I guess I’ll wait.
A few seconds later, someone else arrived. Nick stated that he was the head of security and reiterated what Daron told me. Plus:
- This building is proprietary and is prohibited from being photographed.
- He muttered something about since 9/11, we can’t take photos of buildings like this.
- If I didn’t stop taking photos, they would call the police.
I mentioned Google Maps and he said that it wasn’t as detailed because it’s a bird’s eye view. (Apparently, he hasn’t heard of Street View. I could see it from the street perfectly — without even being there!)
He gave me the phone number to the property management and told me to talk to them. (Want to call? It’s 213-389-0813) They would confirm what I was told.
I could have stayed to shoot more, but I didn’t have the time to wait for police and stuff. I introduced myself (just my first name, though) so I could get Nick’s name. He didn’t have a name tag like Daron.
Nick: What’s your last name?
Me: I just go by Bryan.
I told them I’d leave and I walked away. (Again, only because I didn’t have time to wait for police and whatever else.)
This isn’t a gigantic deal because I wasn’t arrested. I didn’t take photos of the security personnel, either. I’m sorry. But, I’ll definitely go again and draw the “fight” out longer.
If you want to check it out for yourself, the building is close to the Metro Red Line (public transportation friendly), a couple blocks off 7th and Metro Station.
Photography is not a crime. (See the Photographer’s Right guide in PDF format from Bert P. Krages, Attorney at Law.)