Thursday, July 10, 2008

Post-911 Photography

Now that I've committed to posting an alley per week, I realize that I have to hurry up and take pictures of 50 of them before the short Seattle summer ends. So the plan is to go on long walks on good days and get as many alleys in as possible. Today in two hours I got pictures of 9 of them. I also experienced my personal first camera-related post-911 paranoia incident.

Naturally I wasn't just taking pictures of alleys. I see something, I take a picture. It's amazing how being able to take pictures changes your sight. For instance, I never really appreciated this window of 1st United Methodist on the Marion St. side so much before.

On my way to Uwajimaya I suddenly realized, camera at hand, that the sidewalks around this rounded triangular wall don't actually go anywhere. I went to the apex of the triangle, marveling at it. I'd been by there maybe half a thousand times, but I'd never thought of it before I could photograph it.

The post-911 paranoia incident occurred as I was taking this picture of a decoration of the 605 Union Station Building. The building houses offices of among others. I was struck by this use of the circled cross (several times along the length of the building) which is a popular pagan sun-sign and also regarded as the prototype of mandalas.

And, it's a favorite symbol of neonazis! Usually it appears thicker, as in this flag of the Swedish Neonazi Party.

Anyway, as I was preparing to take the picture, I heard a voice behind me, saying, "Sir? Sir!" I knew it was a security guard that had just passed me. I first took the shot, pretending not to hear, and then said, "Yes?"

He said, "Photographing this complex is not allowed."

I said, "Really?! Why is that?"

He said, "Since 911, you know -- it makes them nervous."

So I said, "Oh. Sorry." And walked away. With the camera. With the dangerous picture on it. And now, I've put it on the internet!

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