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Neo

Rondesvous with a Wachovia security guard...

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Yesterday my wife and I made a trek from Concord to downtown Charlotte so that I could take some photos with a couple of newly acquired lenses. I've done this countless times before, not only in Charlotte but other cities including Chicago (for which I've taken thousands of photos without ever once being stopped by police or security). I will admit that when I first started taking my camera downtown I was told I could not take photos from property that was deemed private of which I abliged but having since followed up on the rights of photographers I know very well that taking photos from a public space is legal.

We usually park in the 7th street deck and we made our way around the city by heading to the construction of the Avenue, over to Trademark, over by the stadium and finally to Tryon/College where we stopped at The Green park before heading back to the car. I took several pictures of flowers, art, the church, fountains and of course the condos facing The Green which no doubt had the Charlotte skyline in the background.

The Green is a public space and one of my favorite places to take photos as I have taken hundreds at that location before, all without being approached by a security guard or law enforcement. This time it was different. As we were walking to College St. to exit the park and head to the parking deck I was approached by a security guard who claimed to be with Wachovia. He made no short talk and got right to the point that I would have rid myself of all images that I had taken that had buildings in them. I refused to delete the images that I had composed. This is my way of being creative and I have no desire to sell these particular photos. This is my hobby and what I do to express myself, yet here was a security guard that said I couldn't.

The security guard talking on his walkie talkie was apparently conversing with either another security guard or with his superviser. Moments later the person on the other end came back and said that I could keep the photos I took but that I could not take anymore. While I was done taking what I wanted to this really ticked me off to no end. The problem is that many photographers will get discouraged by someone such as this and cease their love for photographing buildings and architecture.

The security guard that had stopped me followed us out of the park until we were out of sight. No doubt we were plastered on the Wachovia security screens as we walked down College St. I consider this a HUGE invasion of my rights as a US Citizen. I am no terrorist and plan no wrong doing with the photos I took. The problem I have is that I apparently could keep all of the photos that I took but that I couldn't take anymore. What does this prove? I can keep some but not others? What about skyline shots from individuals that make it into the Charlotte Observer during their annual competition? I suppose Google Maps should delete any satellite images containing Wachovia property? This was afterall the security guard's reasoning. I apparently cannot take photos of Wachovia property, even though I was on a public space.

This flat out violates the rights I have and thinking back to the incident, I should have requested a law enforcement officer instead of talking with this clueless security guard. I do carry around a photographer's rights paper that I did not show last night for the sole reason that he let us go. :rolleyes:

I would love nothing more than for the Charlotte Observer to pick this up and run it to make a case for all photographers in Charlotte and surrounding cities. It is an absolute disgrace that one cannot go out and take photos of architecture and developments in Charlotte without being hassled by a clueless security guard. If Wachovia treats the community in this way then I would love nothing more than to change my account from Wachovia to another bank. I refuse to do business with an incompetent company.

On a side not, I should have the photos I took during the walk in a photo thread either today or tomorrow.

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Well....just to clarity...The Green is not public space....The Green is owned by Wachovia......you could however, stand in the street (or sidwalk within a certain distance of the street) and take pictures, and security guards would be powerless except for calling the police.

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Man, First they put of a firewall so their poor overworked peeps can't read UP anymore. Now they put the smackdown on the owner of UP. Makes one think they might have an issue with us. :lol:

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Well, regardless if the Green is public or private, having a picture from your own camera or having a picture from the internet is really no different when it comes to "terrorist planning." In these post-9/11 days, things like this still tick me off. I mean, sure, they're trying to protect themselves as well as us, but taking away the ability to take a picture is a bit much. Maybe they had their secret plans for their new tower next to a window and realized it only after noticing you had your camera with what probably looked like an ultra zoom lens. :ph34r:

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Its not just Wachoiva. I have been harassed by Security Guards at the Gateway Parking Deck, 7th St Station Parking Deck, and the Odell building. The ones in the parking decks I could understand as they are private property, but the Odell one really got on my nerves. I was clearly standing on the public sidewalk taking a picture not of the Odell building but of people and cars going down the street. And yet the security guard came out screaming at me to "cease and desist" I told her that I was on public property and her response was the threaten to call the Police...at which point I crossed the street and took the pic from there.

I have also been harrased by Wachovia security guards for taking pics near the Wachovia Atrium...the guard actually tracked us down across the street in the Visit Charlotte store and reprimanded us for taking pics and told us to cease and desist. It really is annoying.

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Yep, happens all the time. It really adds to the clean, sterile stereotype that Charlotte has. You could take the same pictures in NYC but not in Charlotte? This last christmas I was in the BOA corporate atrium and was taking pictures of the beautiful hanging lights they had. A security guard told me to stop, and said I could only take pictures straight forward, not looking up. Now I understand that I'm inside their building, but found it very funny that he was watching what angle my camera was pointing at. He said anything past parallel to the floor was a no no. Ha!

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Maybe they think you guys are doing some "banking espionage". Sounds as though those guards are a little uptight. I'm sure it has something to do with the rival banks and stuff like that. I am giving them benefit of the doubt here. I do agree it doesn't make sense that one could take pics all day in NYC but it is frowned upon in Charlotte. Well I guess I know where not to loiter and take pics when I go home and start my photo tour..

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Sounds like a serious overreaction to me. Over a year ago there was a local incident of groups of men taking pictures of high profile buildings in Uptown. I think the FBI investigated and everyone was cleared. I am sure it made Wachovia and BOA etc even more paranoid.

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It makes one wonder how often this goes on and how many tourists they have driven out of Charlotte, never to return.

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The biggest problem I have with this is not that I was questioned but had it been someone else who was just getting into photography or a tourist as metro mentioned, they would be absolutely discouraged and would have a bad taste left in their mouth for the city of Charlotte and its beloved banks. This type of reaction by security guards not only make the company look bad but the moreover the city IMO.

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Indeed. Yet somehow they are unable to control people at the 4th of July event. It's amazing where the priorities are placed.

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I think it the July 4th was a problem of errant flashes from photogs. Was it a moir

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I hate Wachovia since they were eaten by First Union. Case in point, last time I was in Charlotte, I walked around taking rather bad pictures of the city, and my girlfriend, my brother, his girlfiend, and myself all walked into the Bank of America building on a Sunday afternoon. My brother, who is insane, proceeded to do a belly-flop on this sqaure couch that probably cost more than my house, and then we attempted to access the elevators, which were, of course, blocked. A security guard was standing right there the entire time and didn't care one way or the other. Then we walked across the street to a hotel looking for an observation deck or something and the attendants in the lobby told us to go to the top floor and try to find a window. Very hospitable and laid back reactions from everyone we encountered that day--I'm just happy I didn't get close to the Wachovia Building. :)

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To be fair I can understand their reluctance to let strangers wander around their corporate HQ. It's a bit different that going up to look at a hotel room. None the less, it does point out the lack of observation platforms on the skyscrapers here. It's another of their faults in not being a very people friendly design.

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The hotels are quite friendly to taking pics. I have had no problems going to the top of the Holiday Inn (where you have a great 360 view), or the Westin. The people at Bentley's are also very friendly...as long as you buy a coke or something from the bar :)

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In all my years of photographing downtown Charlotte, I've never had any hassles from the security guards.

Sounds like you really found a winner Neo.

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The hotels are quite friendly to taking pics. I have had no problems going to the top of the Holiday Inn (where you have a great 360 view), or the Westin. The people at Bentley's are also very friendly...as long as you buy a coke or something from the bar :)

I'll keep that in mind next time I'm up!

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I remember when we were in Charlotte in 2004 and a guy was taking a pic of BOA and was too stopped by security from somewhere (it was around the Charlotte Observer building but not right on the property).

When will this end, it's getting stupid.

We waited around for a bit, walked a block closer to the stadium after the photographer and security left and I then took a bunch of great pics of the outside of BOA - the stadium I had come all the way from Canada to watch my NFL team play in.

What's next, no pics at the game or pics outside the stadium during? PLEASE.

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