Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/07/01

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Documentary Photography 2003
From: Patrick Jelliffe <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 12:42:19 -0700 (PDT)

The irony of this occuring at, or outside of, a
Michelle Shocked concert, is indeed rich.  Why
couldn't the disgruntled father have approached you? 
When did we stop communicating with each other, and
start looking to a higher authority to take care of

Keep On,


- --- George Lottermoser <> wrote:
> Yesterday I took the afternoon off to see and hear
> Michelle Shocked perform at 5:30pm at Summerfest in
> Milwaukee, free admission between 1 and 3. While
> waiting for the concert to start, my Leicas tried to
> find photographs in the fountain where children
> played - the sun beginning to set behind them -
> backlit water - children laughing - lovely to a
> fault - how to avoid the clichés?
> ³‹ except, in the case of dystopias, in the relative
> and ordinarily tragic sense of life in some
> extremely unfortunate place. In the mirrors of our
> darkest fears, much will be revealed. But don't
> mistake those mirrors for road maps to the future,
> or even to the present. We've missed the train to
> Oceania, and live today with stranger problems.² _
> William Gibson
> Joe Olla, supervisor, thatıs what the I.D. hanging
> from his neck read, and on his red polo shirt the
> white letters read Summerfest Security. He said to
> me, "Could you step over here?" I did. And I asked
> him, "Whatıs the problem?" He said, "Thereıs been
> complaints about you." I feel stunned. Complaints
> about what? Iım photographing children playing in
> the fountain near the front entrance gate of the
> Milwaukee Summerfest grounds. Joe and at various
> times 1 to 4 other security personnel, all young,
> big and brawny "detain" me for over an hour because
> some dad said that I photographed his son.
> 	The security personnel would not allow me to speak
> with my loving partner, Ann, nor her with me. Their
> attitude and demeanor brought her to tears.
> 	Ultimately these security men said that I could not
> remain on the grounds with my cameras, even though
> no such rule is posted publicly nor printed in their
> brochure. Eventually the security personnel brought
> a Milwaukee County Police officer into the
> situation; and she informed the complaining dad as
> well as the security folks that I broke no law; that
> I have the right to photograph in this public place.
> However the security people continued to impress
> their authority upon me, stating that, "you cannot
> be on the grounds with your cameras."
> 	These same security folks again would not allow me
> to find or communicate with Ann before escorting me
> outside the gate, where I waited for her to pass by,
> as she waited in the first row, saving my seat, at
> the Michelle Shocked concert.
> 	After about an hour waiting for Ann outside the
> gate a pair of security fellows told me that I would
> have to leave the sidewalk or be arrested for
> loitering. They said that anyone whoıs in a place
> for over an hour is either planning on robbing the
> place or hurting someone. I asked one of them if
> they could escort me into the Michelle Shocked
> concert where I could communicate with Ann and put
> an end to this entire fiasco. He said, "No, I canıt
> do that."
> 	I continued my waiting and contemplated my
> potential loitering arrest and watched my fellow
> human beings being patted down, having their day
> packs searched, and being told that they canıt take
> water onto the groundsŠ thatıs rightŠ no water. They
> want you inside with nothing but your moneyŠ
> preferably hungry and dehydrated. I experienced very
> clear visions and feelings of all those whoıve
> experienced discrimination, false accusations and
> humiliation at the hands of authority figures. I
> watched the hundreds and thousands of Jews climbing
> onto the cattle cars "for their own protection." I
> saw the Japanese Americans walking through the gates
> of their internment camps. I thought about the young
> Iraqi students currently being arrested for yelling
> things to their American occupiers and about the
> Iraqi elections which are not being recognized
> because the occupiers donıt like the results.
> 	I wondered where on this earth I could run to,
> where I may find some children playing in water in
> the heat of summer time, back lit by afternoonıs
> setting sunŠ a place where I might create a joyful
> photograph of that simple pleasure which would bring
> a smile to every viewer and allow them to remember
> those times in their own lives when water and sun
> and time were free to enjoy.
> 	No longer will we see images of these spontaneous
> activities in their reality where a group of
> children composed of all skin shades and ethnicity,
> rich and poor, play together in reality. Weıll have
> to rely on the stock subject photographers, who will
> rent the fountain, pay the kids parents and give you
> that bland crap that appears in every stock shop
> catalog; plastic overworked smiles, too perfect
> lighting, costumes courtesy of the gap in over
> saturated color.
> 	At some point in this 3-hour ordeal I thought,
> "Itıs time to sell all the gear. Documentary
> Photography has died when you have to rent the
> cypress tree, and get detained by rent-a-cops for
> photographing children playing in water in the
> summer sun set.
> Fond regards,
> G e o r g e   L o t t e r m o s e r,    imagist
> <€>Peace<€>   <€>Harmony<€>  <€>Stewardship<€>
> Presenting effective messages in beautiful ways
>                                      since 1975
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> web	                          <>
> eMail              
> voice                              262 241 9375 
> fax                                262 241 9398 
>                       Lotter Moser & Associates
> 10050 N Port Washington Rd  -  Mequon, WI 53092
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