Troy had heard the reputation that the 555 California Building's security guards had for hassling photographers, so he tried out the experiment of photographing (legally) the building, and was met by potty-mouth security guards who threatened to break his "fucking camera" and punch him in the face. A rep from property managers Voranado Realty later apologized and said that this wasn't "typical of our security team."
No photography, they stated clearly. Why, we responded. Safety, they said.

I decided to challenge this statement and the older of the bunch (left) asked me if I wanted to be punched in the face. No, I replied, I have to go back to work and a black eye would make things awkward for me. He then asked me how I would feel if he broke my camera. I told him I would be bummed, but that I needed an upgrade and if he touched me or my camera I would seek monetary legal action to the extent of a brand new Canon 5D Mark II.

Shortly after, my internal voice of reason set in and I decided to leave. The conversation was going no where and a definition of "safety" was unable to be produced.

One of the security guards did give me a phone number to call for more information, which I called this morning. Strangely, the number has nothing to do with BofA or 555 California, but in fact belongs to a woman in Chinatown who had no idea what I was talking about.

If you're in San Francisco and want to go by 555 this weekend to get a photo, do drop by the comments on this post to let us know whether this is "typical" or not.

"I Will Break Your Fucking Camera"

96 Responses to “555 California security guards in San Fran threaten to punch sidewalk photographer, break his f*cking camera”

  1. The Chemist says:

    >>This shit clearly calls for some mass action: a “photo-in” — like a sit-in, but with cameras. Tens (or more) of people show up with cameras (and with accompanying press!) and start taking photos. (I wish I lived in S.F. to get the ball rolling.)

    >>We need to organize a flash mob and photograph the hell out of this place. Gives new meaning to the term.

    I don’t live in SF, but I’m glad that great(?) minds think alike.

    Come on guys, do you really want to let 4chan have all the fun?

    • Gilbert Wham says:

      The flashmob won’t help, here’s what you do: Get a vet. to take pics and subsequently be harrassed by these jerks. Publicise it. Get it picked up by the press. Make ‘em look like assholes. Unfortunately, a bunch of photographers is going to come off in the public eye as whiny liberal arts majors kicking up a fuss. A soldier on the other hand, a goddamn war hero being hassled by the jerks whose freedoms he’s out there protecting, just because he is enjoying his innocent hobby, now THAT will get someone, somewhere’s ass kicked.

      You could try a particularly telegenic small child small child, but I reckon a war vet would work best. Preferably wounded in the line of duty.

  2. VagabondAstronomer says:

    You think they take security theater to an extreme outside the building, try working inside. For instance – if you happen to be an hourly employee, you cannot have any “data recording” device on your desk. This includes your cell phone, because, well, you know, you might take some customer’s information and do naughty things with it.
    Of course, they forget about these high tech devices known as pen and paper.
    It’s all theater, of course.

  3. nick_o says:

    I live in the bay area and would be up for a “photo-in”.

    :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    just wanted to say i think the actual picture is lovely. tho they maybe assholes i wouldn’t mind dressing up and hanging with those gentlemen for a day

  5. Micah says:

    Is it just me or does it look like the older guy (the one who allegedly threatened to punch the photog in the face) DOESN’T HAVE ANY HANDS?!

  6. fool says:

    I didn’t say that I thought a confrontation didn’t happen, that’s obvious enough from the photo posted. What I find unlikely is the unseemly dialogue from the security guards that was reported.

    If you’re a security guard being paid to enforce a “no photos” rule, and some guy with a camera is taking photos of you while you are telling him to not take photos, I imagine you’d look a little peeved too.

    Just like the other post regarding the SF cop that arrested the skateboarder, these situations are often edited to just present one side of the story. It made me wonder what the skateboarder said to the cop before the the video starts, and in this instance if the security guards actually did harass the photographer, I wonder what smart ass comment he made to provoke such a reaction.

    I’m not entirely uninformed about security guards and cops in SF. I lived in the city for over a dozen years, and I used to work (and live) just a couple blocks from 555 California. I used to meet my GF at the time almost daily at 555 (where she worked) and never witnessed any incidents dealing with the security there.. so as for it being “notorious”, that also seems unlikely to me.

    • zikzak says:

      What possible thing could he have said that would have justified this kind of reaction from security?

      You trot out the old “we only know half the story” so reflexively that you don’t even stop to consider what that other half could be. But you’re confident that it could quite possibly justify illegal and threatening behavior by security guards, and we should therefore reserve judgment until the facts are in (i.e. never).

      • fool says:

        I’m not taking sides one way or the other. I’m just saying that I think it’s unlikely that these guys said what the photographer alleged they said. I’ve noticed that a good portion of the posters in these kind of threads are anti-authority without really considering the facts. I seriously doubt that’s what these guys said to the photographer, and if they did, then what did he say/do to provoke it? I’ve probably been to this building in excess of 200 times, and walked past it over 1000 and I’ve never seen or even heard of the security there being rude.

        Just from the look of the guards they don’t seem the type either. If it were a photo of stereotypical nightclub ‘roid goons, I’d be more prone to believe it… but these guys are dressed professionally, diverse in both age and ethnicity, and probably don’t have a lot in common with each other outside of the job. My guess that if one of them acted that disrespectfully, that the others would have a problem with it.

        Maybe it’s just me, but my BS detector is chirping pretty loud on this one. And with BoingBoing being as popular as it is in SF, it’s pretty lousy that these three guys are getting a public flogging over behavior they probably didn’t commit. If your going to subject people to judgment of the mob, then why not post a photo of the photographer too?

        • Elvis Gump says:

          As a photographer I’ve seen all sorts of security guards who act this way, little fascists once they get a tin badge.

          Walk around with a camera and start taking pictures in place with security guards and you’ll see what I mean.

          I only knew of one place where this wasn’t the case – the old K&B Plaza in downtown in LA that back in the day was scattered with sculptures and a corporate mindset that knew people would enjoy taking pictures outside and encouraged it.

  7. readbot42 says:

    If I lived in SF, I’d totally be down with Chemist’s “flash mob,” idea. ;-)

  8. Pyrokinetic says:

    Let’s do a photographers’ meet-up. I did this in Los Angeles when I lived there… I’ve since moved to the bay.

    Anybody care to create a Flickr group or stand up to be the organizer in one way or another? I’m free pretty much every weekday next week. Shit, I’m free tomorrow all day. Let’s do something.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was there the other week, enjoying a beer in the bar next door with my lovely wife, and popped outside for a ciggie, and got rudely moved along by the chinese fellow in the photograph. I was not even outside their establishment.

    They were also taking far too much interest in our car parked up on the meter also. What with photo stopping guards, BART employees and everything, how the hell is a chap meant to photograph anything these days?

    I can see their points, but the way that they operate is not good. They should be forced to take those wanky customer relations courses, and do “role play” for their sins :)

  10. MasterSauce says:

    Bah! If these men were serious about their job they would have stopped Google too: http://bit.ly/1xSpEN

    And…all of these people:
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=555+california

  11. Shithead says:

    lfrancis@vno.com looks to be the person to complain to.

  12. PrairieChicken says:

    its like a Benetton ad for security guards. Only they don’t like rainbows and free speech. They like skull busting and confrontation!

  13. Shithead says:

    Roz? Is that you?

    !

  14. fenriq says:

    I buy this story. Security guards are wanna be cops who couldn’t make it. They have huge chips on their shoulders, no power and people know it. So they are the equivalent of the tiny yap dog trying to pick a fight with everyone that happens to come into their area. Losers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is no body talking about the guard’s horribly ill-fitting suits? THAT is the real crime here! sheesh.

  16. Zadaz says:

    555 California building (aka the Bank of America building, AKA the Towering Inferno) is not right up against the sidewalk. It has 50-100 feet of open area that needs to be crossed inside the sidewalk before you can get in the front door of the building.

    However this area inside the sidewalk is private property, and as dickish as these guys are, they’re still within their legal rights to kick people they don’t like off their private property. (Though as humans they fail.)

    I’ve taken a number of photos of this building, some from the sidewalk, some on the private property and have never bee hassled or even had anyone notice me. (They have a decent Christmas light display.)

    I walk by this building twice nearly every day. I have never seen the guards hassling anyone. I’m not even sure I’ve seen the guards.

    I think this is just a few photographer’s shtick: Pissing off guards for attention. I know over a dozen professional Bay Area photographers and none of them have ever had any problems photographing anywhere.

    I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but the why it really the crux of the mater.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Seems like what we need is a good ‘ol fashioned flash mob of “tourists” with cameras. :) Post it, I’ll be there.

  18. TheHikingStick says:

    I think it’s time for a flashmob–with cameras!

  19. TEKNA2007 says:

    Grumpy, Sleepy and Sneezy?

    I really hate making fun of people’s appearances because for the most part we can only work with what we’re born with, but they’re really begging for it.

    I bet we could find the four others elsewhere on premises.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This really is a hilarious photograph. And how much do you want to bet that the squinty guy in the back is Fool?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Google maps has some photos of the building too, just enter: “555 california san francisco ca”.

    There seems to be a sort of courtyard inside an open entryway before you come up to the revolving doors in the photo. That is private property, the public sidewalk in front is public property you can legally photograph from.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Have run into the same problem at Altamonte Springs Mall near Orlando Florida Mall security guard came and ran us off , apparently photographing sunsets from the mall parking lot

  23. Drew says:

    If there were really 555 of them, this would be a much more interesting story.

  24. Anonymous says:

    SKR | October 23, 2009 5:33 PM |

    “A sidewalk however is a public right of way.”

    A lot of buildings in that area actually own the sidewalk area too (for whatever reason, old city… who knows.. maybe it was a holdover from before cities bought up space for sidewalks). So, just step in between some parked cars in the street…. its SF so the street is lined with parked cars / there are safe places you won’t get hit by a car.

  25. jjasper says:

    I’m not taking sides one way or the other. I’m just saying that I think it’s unlikely that these guys said what the photographer alleged they said.

    So, you’re calling him a liar, which is taking a side. And you’re implying that, because he’s ant-authoritarian he’s more likely to lie, which is further taking a side.

    • fool says:

      I’m not calling anyone a liar, I’m saying I find it unlikely. I also believe that it’s wrong for Cory to publicize images of these guys without knowing for sure that’s what they did.

  26. Anonymous says:

    “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
    I always think of these two quotes from Thomas Jefferson whenever Americans lose the many freedoms they once had. The only time I faced photographic restrictions was in Communist Romania many years ago…

  27. zikzak says:

    That picture totally looks like the opening to a badass kung-fu scene.

  28. mickeyIII says:

    If I lived near SF I would love to go to a photography-in. I would, however, take some more of my veteran friends or someone who is not actually afraid to be threatened with or be punched in the face – - I’m just sayin’

  29. Anonymous says:

    Please people of San Francisco make a trip out there and test the waters. I can’t stand power tripping d-bags that try and walk over people.

  30. mickeyIII says:

    P.S. and is it just me or does the black guy look like he’s wearing two left shoes.

  31. dcg says:

    Yes, 555 guards would have been like a real life Burly Brawl.

  32. LB says:

    Vornado, not Voranado. They own a hella lot of property in New York City:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vornado_Realty_Trust

  33. wrybread says:

    Good Lord, Fool, why is every posting from you so moronic? The last time I read something from you, you were talking about punching the teeth out of any 12 years olds who insulted you. Give it a rest. The guy’s got a frickin picture of the guards being dicks, it seems pretty obvious that this happened.

    • fool says:

      Wrybread, just because you don’t agree with my position doesn’t mean I’m a moron. And I don’t think from the photo alone that these guys are being dicks. It’s their JOB to enforce the policy, and that’s what they’re doing in the photo – nothing more, nothing less.

      If they did in fact say the things that were alleged, okay then.. that’s VERY dickish. I find it unlikely, and I think it sucks that Cory would cause trouble for these guys without knowing the facts. It’s a mob mentality to rush to judgment in this manner, and I don’t have to agree with it.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Access into The Electronic Tenant® Handbook is possible on their website, but the document is passworded.

    http://www.555cal.com/tenant-services

    That is, to get the link to the PDF file, one must know the password.

    However, it’s not hard to find the unsecured file using a simple Google search.

    http://555californiastreet.info/pdf/555CALIFORNIA.pdf

  35. jackl says:

    Re: “Private vs. Public Property”

    A number of comment posters draw a distinction between the sidewalk (public) and the adjacent “plaza” in front of the 555 California St. building entrance.

    These posters then go on to incorrectly assume that the plaza is “private property” like one’s home and the security goons were within their rights to hassle these “anti-authority” photographers, or that we don’t know “all the facts”.

    Please read the original linked blog post for a more detailed discussion of property rights. Bottom line; while the plaza and spaces like it are indeed technically private property, they must, by law, allow the same public access as public spaces. So if photography on the sidewalk is legal, taking photos on the plaza is legal too, and is not trespassing.

    Hopefully, the security officers will be disciplined by Vornado Realty and the blogger will be apologized to by that company publicly.

  36. Anonymous says:

    “I buy this story. Security guards are wanna be cops who couldn’t make it. They have huge chips on their shoulders, no power and people know it”

    I’m quite willing to believe that these guards acted inappropriately, but you don’t have the faintest idea of what you’re talking about.

    I’ve worked in private security for several years. Most guards are actually either semi-retired, or trying to supplement their income while going to (or back to) college. Police work entails exposure to a lot of liability and government-related BS; the only former LEO’s I work with are those who had to hang it up for medical reasons. A lot of these “imbeciles who couldn’t get better jobs” are excluded from other work due to various gunshot wounds and whatnot. While you may find the occasional idiot wannabe-cop, they’re generally not tolerated – no one wants to work with a douchebag.

    In the meantime, the powers of private security are an extension of the property owner and therefore are not really less than that of the police, just *different*.

    It varies by state, but generally the right of a property owner – or a guard, by extension – to search, seize, or detain someone on their property exceeds that of the police. If you refuse to leave (or even be subject to search in a number of instances) the guards may arrest you and hold you until the police arrive, at which point you will get a criminal trespass warning on the first offense and arrested on the second. (or arrested if you do in fact have something you should not, such as the case of store security catching people on camera shoplifting).

    If you’re on public property, by all means tell them to piss off; it’s none of their damned business. But if you are not, the law is very much NOT on your side. Requirements to allow public access are to prevent property owners from discriminating against people for certain reasons – they do not impair the ability of the owner to set rules prohibiting items or behaviors.

    A last thing to consider is that you never know when that ordinary looking office building with the dorky guards in blazers outside actually has 3 dozen more guards inside armed with assault rifles and shotguns. Places that require that sort of security – typically due to handling large amounts of cash, diamonds, or sensitive data – do not advertise what is inside. I know of many places that have very legitimate concerns about random people taking exterior pictures or loitering.

    (For whoever it was complaining about not having cellphones at work – grow up, and blather away with text messaging, etc., on your own time. You cannot steal proprietary software and massive databases with a pen and paper, but you most certainly can do so with any modern phone and a USB cable. If you don’t think people steal these things, well, welcome to the real world. People are caught all the time.)

    Some of you people full of assumptions and running around with chips on your shoulders are going to get yourselves into trouble and find that you’re on your own. I see what appears to be 2 or 3 fools with an attitude problem in that photo – but I see quite a few more in this thread.

  37. octopod says:

    maybe something interesting works there.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I totally love that the picture is multiracial, like most US PR imagery. “Punch you in the face the politically correct way!”

  39. Anonymous says:

    Those guys look like they couldn’t break wind, let alone a camera.

  40. Talia says:

    I’d just about pee my pants if I were threatened by 500+ security guards.

  41. friendpuppy says:

    Just leave it alone and quit fucking with them. Grow up.

  42. thorn says:

    the boeing building in chicago has the same rule. i got the desired shot the next day, surreptitiously, by just pointing the camera up without looking through the viewfinder.

    because this is america, and if they wanted to keep their building sooooo secret, they shouldn’t've left it outside.

  43. teapot says:

    fool: shut up and read this comment:

    I work here. This is completely apropos of the security guards that police the building. You’d think it were a prison camp, given how much they like to yell at you if you haven’t remembered your ID.

    Admit when you are wrong.

    I think we should start a fan page for these guards. Make them more famous than they had hoped for. Can someone PLEASE bait these guys and post to youtube? Baiting them and catching on video is what is needed next.

    To those saying we should grow up: perhaps you should tell that to the guards. I’m glad you are happy to let your freedoms get flushed down the toilet at the hands of power tripping guards, but I am not. Baiting and setting these guys up is precisely what is needed to make them behave like humans. Aren’t they supposed to protect us, not threaten us?

    Security guards are just bottom-feeding scum anyway.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I was hassled in a very similar manner at a building very near there.

  45. Elvis Gump says:

    There’s a building in downtown LA that has cool geometric sculptures in a space outside in the late 80′s early 90′s that had such security guards. I tried to take a friend who wanted modeling head shots down there on a Sunday morning when I had a loft in downtown LA and a bunch of gorilla like security guards were on me in a shot threatening violence and telling me I was trespassing on private property. There’s the blazer, the swagger and the empty eyes devoid of the ravages of intelligence that seem to be the qualification for that job. Someplace I have pictures I shot of these guys with my Hasselblad from the hip. I was young and in my twenties and full of piss and wondered who in the hell I was hurting but I retreated the sidewalk with a longer lens and took the rest of the roll of those guys saying “Now I’m on the sidewalk on CITY property!”

    Of course being much older now I know the kind of imbecile who can’t get a better job than security guard is probably not a person to piss off…

  46. VagabondAstronomer says:

    I had to Google Maps this place. Having never been to San Fran (but something I dearly long to do), I have no frame of reference for this buildings or its grounds. From California Street, the entrance to the building is up some steps; in order for that photo to have been taken, clearly the photographer was a good distance from the public right-of-way (though it is likely that, for “security” reasons, Vornado Realty effectively owns the sidewalk in front of the building as well). So, the photog was basically taunting them to begin with, and clearly on their soil (err… concrete). The article states as much. I’m not saying that they aren’t behaving like thugs, clearly they are, and I agree that it was uncalled for.
    But there’s more to this story.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Being a former Photographer this is very disturbing. But why has no group or photo club done a mass photographer encounter? Go there with say 10-20 photographers…take photos, see what happens. This one on 3,4 or more security guards does not work. Just wondering.
    Cindi

  48. KeithIrwin says:

    Let’s be clear about what they do or do not have the right to do if the photographer is on private property. If the photographer is on private property, they have the right to ask him to leave and call the police if he refuses. They also have the right to ask him to do any fool thing they want (delete his pictures, give them his camera, etc.) but only under the threat that if he doesn’t do it, they’ll ask him to leave the property. He does not legally have to comply with any orders from them except for orders to leave the property. They do not have the right to threaten to hit him. Threatening someone with bodily harm is a crime. It could be considered assault or simply disturbing the peace (“fighting words”) depending on how the local statutes are written, but it is not legal to threaten someone with harm. Whether he was on public or private property, if his account of events is accurate, the security guards broke the law.

  49. Anonymous says:

    There’s actually a right way to do this sort of thing (and you should!): one person is the “jackassery bait” taking photos and confronting the security officers (for best results, use a cheap digital that you can stand to lose), another person videos the entire exchange from nearby. The fun part is after the guards snap and punch you or break your camera, you point at your friend and explain what’s going on, then watch their reactions!

  50. Anonymous says:

    I work here. This is completely apropos of the security guards that police the building. You’d think it were a prison camp, given how much they like to yell at you if you haven’t remembered your ID.

    Glad it got publicized.

  51. Antinous / Moderator says:

    That building has been on security overdrive since the 70s. I worked across the street in the International Building and occasionally had to run things over there. The security was obnoxious compared to every other office building that I dealt with. The building has been a target of every flavor of scorn since it was built, and they still seem to have a chip on their shoulders 40 years later.

    And from personal experience, dropping acid, dressing in drag and climbing on the Banker’s Heart at 3 AM doesn’t make them any friendlier.

  52. Shithead says:

    They are simply mall cops with a bad attitude because they don’t get Segways to travel on.

  53. frenchtoastkiss says:

    I wonder how these guys feel about the fact that there’s a photo of it on Wikipedia. Probably pretty unsafe.

  54. fool says:

    LOL about the acid trip.. that’s quite a story.

    Obviously people have had different experiences regarding the building’s security. Different perspectives and varying sensitivities. My main point here, is that I don’t think it’s very nice of Cory to “out” these 3 gentlemen publicly in a neighborhood that has a large Boing Boing audience without knowing the facts. And yes, I do think we should withhold (mob)judgment until we know the facts – even if they never materialize.

    It’s one thing to call out a malignant corporation or government entity.. these are for the most part faceless, or have leaders that are well compensated and expected to take heat. It’s an entirely different thing to post photos of three working stiffs that are just doing their jobs (whether they personally believe in the building’s policy or not)and may have not said the things that were alleged.

    • Elvis Gump says:

      Look at the body language of those three lummoxes! ‘Outing these gentlemen’ you say?

      Three guys sauntering out to fuck up a photographer spells assholes in my book any day.

      I suggest always carry a Mamiya RB 6×7. Very tough medium format camera and when swung by it’s very sturdy strap it’s about 5lbs of pure bully
      discouragement.

  55. Mista Spakuru says:

    I’m not surprised. The tenants of 555 are big banking and investment firms.

    The guards are merely protecting America’s Most Hated. It’s a tough job. They probably hate the jerks inside as much as we do.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Do I smell a flash mob?

    Ever wonder what would happen if 555 were deluged with a couple hundred shutterbugs?

  57. mokey says:

    cops are cops are (security guards are) cops. fuck them.

  58. fool says:

    Finding this story very hard to believe… does the photographer have any proof? Can anyone vouch for his integrity?

  59. Daemon says:

    Simple answer: press charges. Uttering threats is still a crime, even for rent-a-cops.

  60. Antinous / Moderator says:

    And all this time, I thought 666 was the number of the beast.

  61. wrybread says:

    Funny, in that thread about the skaters, where you wanted to punch in the teeth of a 12-year old, you got all indignant with the staff of Boing Boing too, for equally moronic reasons. You really really are a moron. Or maybe just a fool.

    Anyway, I’ve taken the troll bait enough, so bye!

    • fool says:

      I’m trolling? I’m not the one exaggerating and dishing out insults left and right – you are. I doubt very much the kid in the other post is 12 years old, just as I doubt that these security guards used the language that is alleged.

      I may not have the typical “Boinger” perspective on every issue, but I think it’s ridiculous that anytime I present a different viewpoint, I am subjected to attacks by posters such as yourself. Show me in this thread or the other an example where I’ve attacked a fellow poster – I haven’t. But there are several examples of people insulting me because they disagree with my opinion.

      Why isn’t it possible to debate the merits of our arguments without resorting to abusive behavior and name calling? I’ll gladly listen to those who feel differently and try to understand their point of view in a polite manner – I think you should do the same.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        fool,

        You have repeated your unsupported accusations several times. You like authority that much? Fine, leave the thread unless you have something to add to it.

  62. Pye says:

    @fool

    Being a photographer who has had several encounters with security guards I have no problem finding this story to be credible.

  63. demidan says:

    Yo FOol, there have been many many postings to this effect.
    links to pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyholden/4036087411/

  64. IckesTheSane says:

    Clearly they meant the ‘safety’ of the photographer. You know, kind of like how the mafia sells ‘insurance.’

  65. senorglory says:

    Can we all agree to be just a little less safe, already? It takes too much work to be 100% safe, and it’s no fun. We have to act like dicks about the most simple and common of transactions.

  66. StRevAlex says:

    This is the security guard’s “shtick,” if you will. Acting intimidating, threatening, etc. These guys have no real power and they know it, so they have to resort to threats of force. It’s part of the job, I figure.

  67. Tdawwg says:

    At first this read to me as literally five-hundred-and-fifty-five security guards had threatened this one photographer. The scary thing to me is that it seemed plausible.

    • jackie31337 says:

      That’s how I read it at first too. I was wondering where the rest of the security guards were because there definitely weren’t 555 of them visible in that photo. :)

  68. Anonymous says:

    Hey, lighten up. These are security experts, trained professionals. They obviously know more about your rights than anyone.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Nice thug shot!

  70. Anonymous says:

    @fool You fool, there’s a photograph from the confrontation right up there. What other proof do you need apart from its quite notorious for this buildings security to be a bit edgy.

  71. Heartfruit says:

    @Tdawwg

    Don’t feel bad, I read it the same way!

  72. davman says:

    I’m impressed that there’s a debate on the efficacy of a flashmob. This is a gang of security bullies, the countervailing non-violent force is numbers, lots of them. A mass of people with their cameras at the level of their eyes is a profound statement, a camera worn as a mask is an unsettling reminder to those who wish to infringe that right. It stands it’s ground as a legitimate protest. Further, a large well organized flashmob is exactly what will get the press involved. Unreasonable threats captured in a panorama of stills and video leaves the press plenty of video to pick from or the possibly the next viral video.

  73. Anonymous says:

    jeeee, the bunch one photo are secrity guards? soon i’ll be getting to california i’m going to make so many photo’s of that building just to see if they will insult or threaten me. would be funny tbh.

  74. Brandon West says:

    Good story. Next time the guy should actually stand up for his rights and wait until they call someone with real authority before caving in. He’s just making them think the intimidation works, and rightly so.

  75. SKR says:

    The one point about which I would like to caution people regarding circumstances such as this is that you are in a much better position if you stay on the sidewalk while taking the pictures and talking to the security guards. Usually, once you leave the sidewalk and walk into the plaza, courtyard, or whatever, you are on private property and they can justifiably restrict your access. A sidewalk however is a public right of way.

  76. TEKNA2007 says:

    Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Holden… what good is a camera… if you’re unable to see?

  77. Satan Ate My Ears says:

    Wow. Is it just me, or does that one security guard look like the owner of City Wok from South Park?

  78. Anonymous says:

    This shit clearly calls for some mass action: a “photo-in” — like a sit-in, but with cameras. Tens (or more) of people show up with cameras (and with accompanying press!) and start taking photos. (I wish I lived in S.F. to get the ball rolling.)

  79. siliconsunset says:

    Hey, had anyone mentioned that people should flashmob this place?

    I bet the majority of the people who commented on the need for a flashmob, withouth reading the comments, put as much thought into the content of the statement and the idea behind it.

    Though I’m not a big fan of Fool, his ideas or methods, he raises a good point. We only have one side of this story, and on the merits of that one side we’re posting pictures of people to scorn.

    I had a similar experience in front of the Surrey Dominion Nuclear Power facility in Surrey, VA. I took a picture (five image burst, actually) of the entrey point to the facility and I had a number of gentleman with AR15s (those are rifles, the civillian designation for the automatic M16) slung around their shoulders and Sig Sauer 226s (pistols, 9mm semi-auto) strapped to their legs come visit me. Luckily I palmed the memory card as soon as the first one yelled at me. See, normally I would have told them to eat it and just left the property, but I was working for a major package delivery company at the time and I could afford to be banned from the property as this was a big stop nearly every day. They were very polite, but was only after the guy flipped through each picture on my camera five times to be sure that the gate images weren’t there. As annoyed as I was with their response, glad to have the images as I am, and happy to have gotten away with it as I am, I wouldn’t advocate a flash mob on the place. It’s kinda immature. These people have a job to do and I have better things to do with my life than make their job harder. Really.

    If you want images of the Bank of America building (why, I can hardly imagine) go there and take them. If they ask you to leave, step off the property and continue to photograph the building until you get the shot you want. If you want to argue and push the point, grow up. Fighting with security guards is like challenging a low-functioning autistic person to a debate.

    • Anonymous says:

      @siliconsunset: are you and Fool the same person, or just brothers? You both ramble similarly and post at the same time.

      Anyway, I think the deeper point of flash mobbing these guys isn’t that we want to ruin the day of some dopey security guards. The much bigger point is that these guys are enforcing rights that they don’t in fact have. Forbidding people from photographing in public is not only ridiculous, but could be the start of something worse.

      And furthermore, no one thinks the security guards have the power to change this policy, but like it or not they’re the easiest ones to challenge. And challenge them and the word goes to the bosses who make the policy, and if all goes well they’re forced to change it.

      Think of a flash mob in this case as civil disobedience, but very gracefully and harmlessly executed. And besides, it’d be really funny.

      • siliconsunset says:

        We’re neither the same person nor brothers. I just have a jumbled and poorly composed mind, thus tend to ramble ;)

        How very noble of you, by the way, to comment behind the comfort of anonymous.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Ok I’ve never been to Frisco, but I do own a 500/1000 telephoto lens and an old manual Pentax. Now what is preventing me from standing across the street and taking nice pics of the place. That saftey issue line is full of crap. These guys want nothing more than to show off for the public and their bosses. I hate paparazzi but in this case I say take a gang of photogs with riot gear and start snapping away until something happens. My bet is they got a do nothing job for lots of money and no one wants to get laid off because they don’t need half of them to secure the place.

  81. The Chemist says:

    We can haz retaliatory flash mob with cameras nao?

    (T’would be epic.)

  82. UFO Lover says:

    We need to organize a flash mob and photograph the hell out of this place. Gives new meaning to the term.

  83. Teller says:

    Somebody upstairs tells the Security Guards no photography on our property. What do you think a Security Guard makes a month? Have a fuckin’ heart. If the Guard crossed the line and acted all Mr. Badass, he deserves an equally Mr. Badass reprimand. But if he loses his job because you happened to be in the area and just wanted to prove a point – you didn’t even want a picture of the building – you, Troy, may think you’re a hotshit activist. But you’re a jackass.

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