The naked office

Darkness has fallen and this office block still hums with human life. You can see everything standing out like a beacon of industry. Some people are sitting at their desks, a jacket hangs on a coat hook and every item of office furniture stands out. A meeting takes place in the ‘penthouse’. They’re exposed to the world.

Click to enlargeThe naked office

Shortly after taking this in the shiny new development of London’s King’s Cross, I was warned by an official for taking photographs. This has never happened to me before.

He was pleasant and jovial, but still told that this public space was privately owned and they had rules. Apparently my use of a tripod made it look like my activities were commercial and I might need to ‘fill in a form’. All other photography was fine, but I looked a little more serious about it.

I carried on regardless and no form materialised. But it’s enough to put you off your creative stroke. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Please let me know…

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13 thoughts on “The naked office

  1. Oh yes – had quite a few of these experiences a few weeks ago, all in the same day. Was given the evil eye for taking pictures in a back alley which turned out was private property but had no sign saying so, was being accosted in a very unfriendly way by someone for taking a picture of their dog, and by a shop owner for taking pictures around the shop. After being told by someone who owns a shop, though, that they immediately think you’re staking out the place, it made sense to me. Still, it can be – as in your case – said in a friendly way…

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    • Wow! That’s quite a catalogue of occurences, Kiki. I was told there were signs – saying quite what I’m not sure. This area is essentially a public place, so I was bemused. It was the tripod at full stretch that did it – an iPhone snap and they don’t care.

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  2. Any journalist who has tried to speak to members of the public in a shopping centre, station or similar will recognise the phenomenon of the over-zealous twat with a badge. A true menace to freedom of expression, particularly as more and more previously public spaces are privatised.

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    • I think that’s the rub, when the public space is on privately owned property. If I’d popped my tripod away, it would have been fine. But of course I didn’t. This ineffectual soul melted away, but my concern is if it turns a little nasty.

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  3. It’s a bit unnerving, but yes, I’ve been warned off before now. Most recently in Christiana in Copenhagen, when a local said I’d better put my camera away as the other inhabitants would not like it and would be likely to grab the camera and smash it up…

    It’s another reason I avoid taking the kind of street photos that Richard G does – but I think that’s more a sense of rejection in me than anything else…

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  4. Great shot Mike and I have to have a rye smile as I go thorough reading some of the comments.
    Why do we have public spaces or public art ? if it is not there to be enjoyed how we please, whether it is adjacent to private offices with a public thoroughfare no jumped up so and so in a ill fitting uniform will prevent me from exploring the public space or the adjacent buildings until there is a sign indicating a private space or property. A long as I am in a public space/ or on a public thoroughfare then I feel that these .******* as James Savage commentated should stay in their glass boxes.
    Whoops did not mean to go on so much but I feel that you have touched on a raw nerve here with this post. Hope you have a less confrontational weekend……

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    • I’m glad you feel as strongly about it, James! I was quite annoyed and didn’t like even a hint of being pushed around and told what I can and can’t photograph in what you would consider to be a public place. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on – creativity shouldn’t be stifled. Have a good weekend too and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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