Photowalk or Photoarrest?


What a Friday... I was slated to meet up with Tim King for a industrial/ghetto photowalk in downtown San Diego but things sure took a turn for the more interesting. The fun of these walks is to get out of your element and comfort zone with shooting and force yourself to think outside of the box and have someone to bounce some ideas off of. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was a blast and it started out with a few speed bumps - and an arrest for trespassing.

My practiced disclaimer is that Tim King and James Law (hereon refered to as "we") were just wandering around downtown, talking to each other while shooting whatever we saw. I had no intent to walk into a gated and secured area of the MTA and San Diego Trolley repair yard, which is private property and guarded as fiercely as an airport. I'm talking full grown, froth mouthed German Shepards equipped with stab vests accompanied by their disgruntled (short), masters/Security team.

It happened quickly....

Tim and I were beckoned from beyond the outer gate by a larger mexican dude insisting us to stop. We complied by turning our attention to him and waiting for him to meet us, very confused. My initial thoughts were that this guy, whoever he was either wanted to take my camera equipment or he actually worked for the company whose property we were innocently roaming. As he walked towards us, I could see the anger seething from him like a dark jedi; He sped up to us and demanded that we show him our ID's without any initial introduction of who he was and who he worked for. In my book, if you don't identify yourself, I won't take you seriously, and try not to look like a fatter and more greasy Carlos Mencia. Nothing screams authority like a fatter/greasier looking guy who looks like the stunt double for the guy whose weapon of choice is the knives in "Desperado".

I swear, he looked like a bald version of this guy

After 6 or 7 official security guys came, some on foot, some by bike and others by car we realized that this was not a small misstep on our part. Things eventually escalated before they calmed down and we ended up in handcuffs and in the back of a security vehicle. Luckily the Sargent was level headed enough to figure out that we weren't terrorists, weren't a threat and didn't want to make his day any more difficult.

I have never in my life been in handcuffs, and really didn't like how helpless and humiliating it is. I couldn't text, surf the web at 3G speeds or itch my nose! Good fortune smiled on us and we were released after a citation and thumbprinting. I was ready to go home becuase I was pretty shaken up, but Tim still wanted to shoot - so we made an afternoon of it.

Kids, the moral of this story is, don't do drugs and stay in school. And don't trespass in a post 9/11 world, if only by accident.

Probably not a good idea to stand around to wait and see what happens if you've got a gut feeling that something is going to go terribly wrong. But don't try to run away after all the squad is there and you've already given them your ID's. I'm not going to name any names here.


Check out the gallery for some more artistic shots. I really need to grow as a photographer and will be taking every chance I get to do that. Thanks for looking.

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