I was travelling the last couple of weeks, assisting a photographer on some portraits in Boston and Minneapolis. The art director from the Boston shoot knew we were going to Minneapolis later and asked us to get some photos of 'the famous bathroom'.
I think I don't understand 'fame' any more. Or maybe I never did. I'd have thought this bathroom would be notorious, not famous, but I guess it's a matter of interpretation. Like Paris Hilton.
We were on our way out of Minneapolis when we remembered the art directors request. Since the photographer is a woman, I volunteered to take the photos, helpful assistant that I am. I picked up her digital 35MM with the 24-70 zoom and headed over.
I got some views of the outside, and without really thinking about it, moved inside. I was just concentrating on documenting the thing, really, and it seemed some shots of the stalls in question were vital. Once inside, I picked up on some serious vibes. Like, "What the hell are you doing with a camera in the mens room?" vibe. Oh geez. I tried to be discreet, you know, pointing the huge lens at the floor if anybody was nearby, but it was only when I'd come back out that I realized how ridiculous my behavior was.
So, back to the photographer, showed her the pictures, all's well, and I'm repacking the camera. Suddenly, the long arm is right there, the real thing, not a rent-a-cop. He's talking to me in that weird way that's kind of addressing me, but kind of addressing his radio:
"So what's the deal with taking pictures of people in the mens room?" "Ha, ha, well you see....".
I explained, showed him the pictures, told him there were no people in the shots and that they were for nonpublic use. He asked for my ID, and wrote down my address. Said that someone had complained.
Pretty reasonable, all told. I would have done the same thing, I think, were I in his position.Next time somebody asks me for pictures of some infamous bathroom, it's one shot with a camera phone and I'm 5000.