Various Times that I can remember being told to stop taking photographs, or stop doing something else artistic…
– New York City on Spring Break back in college. I was trying to photograph something in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was told to not flash the camera. Apparently, there, you are allowed to take photos, just not with the flash on.
– Turbosquid. I had a photo of building on there. It had a car somewhere in the photo, taking up a very small portion of the picture plane. Ford sent Turbosquid a Cease and Desist Letter asking that it be taken down, and so they took it down and emailed me notifying me that that was done and why. Nowadays, I try to avoid anything with logos or trademarks on it if possible, or if I shoot them, I purposefully try to just hone in on some image that is not clearly apparent what the picture is of… for instance I might zoom in on spokes of the wheel hub but avoid taking a photo of the entire hub that shows the name of the company, or I might take photos of brick textures and avoid the name of the brick manufacturer, or just go for something natural that no one has the right to – like tree bark, cement, asphalt, grass, clouds, or similar textural type of things.
– behind Columbiana Apartments. I used to live at Columbiana Apartments in Columbia, Missouri, several years ago. It’s near Stephens’s Stables on Old 63, right next door to the BXR Radio Station. I took photos of some clouds out there sometimes, especially when crazy Spring weather came around. I was shooting some upside down tornado-like clouds one day (looked like twisters, but they were funnelling upwards instead of down towards the ground) and got told to stop shooting back there by a lady next door because she thought I was aiming the camera too close to the place back there, which was violating privacy. Apparently, there’s a homeless shelter back there. I didn’t know prior to that incident that that is what was housed in that building…
– Columbia Mall. I was taking some pictures of clouds. I love taking pictures there or in similar places, like overpasses, where there’s no trees in the immediate vicinity blocking the view to the sky. Some guy thought I was taking a photo of him and yelled at me as he drove by. I simply told him that it’s a digital camera and that I hit delete… He gave me the bird and yelled some obscenity before driving off. Kind of funny that someone would do that when the mall itself is constantly taking security pics of everything in the place. If I ever do get someone in a photo, I try to not put that online, or if I do, edit that person out unless I have permission because I don’t want to get hit with privacy lawsuits later.
– A few times people have seen me drawing in crowded locations, and came up asking me about it. Usually, when I used to draw people, such as in the mallsmall sketchbooks – mainly drawn on breaks in cafeterias, at the mall cafe court, or similar public locations, I did quick sketches so it was hard to tell who I was drawing and/or there was so few details, and I could quickly close the book. Usually, most people are actually happy to figure out I’m drawing them if they do put 2 and 2 together… admiration type of thing. I’ve never had someone tell me to directly to stop this sort of activity. However, it is a little embarassing if you do get caught red handed doing that sort of thing. I have not done this type of thing for several years now, but might get back in to it someday since my drawing skills have gone downhill lately due to lack of practice.
– Once back in college, I did a quick little “show” that was not publicly announced or advertised. I simply asked the Art Department for permission to put up an exhibit in one of the halls where there was room for that sort of stuff. When I put it up some people looked at me weirdly and talked about it at a distance as if I could not hear them. No one actually said don’t do that though.
It was very interesting seeing how people going between classes reacted. I didn’t put up a nameplate or anything explaining who did the work or the title. I just walked the halls on various occassions when it was up to see reactions.
It was a small series that I called “Work In Progress”, or WIP – it was a series of parts of a canvas stretcher. The first part was one board, the next part, two boards forming an L shape, the next side, 3 boards, and the last part 4 boards. It was colored with acrylic paint that I airbrushed on there. No actual canvas was on the stretchers. It was just the idea of putting together the stretcher, and the work involved in that that was the focus/theme of the work. I painted the first part a light blue, next part blue on first part of the L and faded in to red on the second part of the L with a nice transition… Third part that had 3 sides showing more of the fade, and start of orange, and 4th part showing full color spectrum with primary colors faded from one in to the other… the idea was sort of that the creating of a canvas is in and of itself a work of art. Some parts of that still exist. Other parts have been torn apart since I kept it at my parents house for storage, and dad found another use for some of the 2x4s in it without asking me if he could tear it apart first… 😦
Someday, I would not mind doing another progressive piece like that again.
Luckily, I didn’t offend anyone directly with WIP. About 2 weeks after I took that down, another art student put a painting up in the same location, and it irritated the someone enough that the painting got taken off of the wall and thrown in to a trash bin below the balacony walkway between the building that this hallway that was on the second floor of Baldwin hall, and the next building over. If I remember correctly, that was Kjell Hahn’s painting of a nun in a slightly erotic pose or something similar to that. It was rumored at the time that the janitor did it, but no one had any proof… (edit 6/25/2014 – edited the link to Kjell’s site above to an internet archive version. Kjell is on facebook if you need to contact him.).
The janitor of Baldwin hall made himself appear to be a bit grumpy at times, but I think honestly, he was just a quite guy… and he actually had a bit of an interest in the arts or else he would not have kept that job, being seen listening to some of the music from the music students and looking at some of the art from the art students.
Back then in the 1990s (things have changed now) Baldwin Hall was the main art building at Truman State University… The top floor was the art student’s realm. The second floor was the music student’s realm, and the first floor and basement were the theater department’s realm. Across the quad, Ophelia Parish is where the art gallery was, but most of OP was just a big storehouse that was never done. Since then, they’ve converted OP in to the main art building… Not sure if sculpture classes are there though. Sculpture used to be in a building all the way on the other side of the campus, across the street – probably a half mile walk or so down the road. It used to be a pain to carry portolios and art toolboxes from Baldwin to the other building and back, so I put a bookbag strap on my portolio, and another on my toolbox that carried my art supplies and walked all over the place with that… One of the biggest gripes I had about Truman when I left was that the art students didn’t have descent sized lockers anywhere, and could not really store art supplies in dorm rooms – at least not legally if they went 100% by the contract with the housing people… major pain for those of us that liked to make big works of art. Most of my painting back then were around 2-3 feet wide, One was actually 6′ x 6′, and some of my sculptures were similar lengths in size…
The last two years I was up there at Kirksville, I actually had to rent a storage shed out on the edge of town to store my stuff.
I highly doubt that storage problem has gotten any better since then, but for the amount of money that college kids give the school to live there, they should fix it someday… if nothing else, the school should get in to some sort of discount deal with the storage places in the area to get college kids a discount.