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

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Documentary Photography 2003
From: "Steve Barbour" <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 13:30:43 -0700
References: <r01050300-0921-8130007FABC611D7A7A72EB9644AA8E4@[]>

George... I am stunned, sad, and angry.... the world in its current
confusion, is turning itself inside out...Steve

> 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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In reply to: Message from George Lottermoser <> ([Leica] Documentary Photography 2003)