Warning: Illegal image

Today I was photographing the sort of place that forms the bulk of my subject matter, the concrete heaven that is St James’ Shopping Centre in Edinburgh. Whilst I was getting terribly excited by the super abundance of fading concrete grandeur, a small but stocky security guy complete with serious-looking earpiece emerges from nowhere and swaggers over to me.

– Excuse me.

– Hi.

– Why are you taking photographs?

– Because I’m a photographer.

Thought I might confuse him with a bold statement of fact.

– You can’t take photographs here. Who gave you permission?

– Nobody. It’s the law of the land. I can take photographs in a public place.

Clearly not keen to get into a debate, he turned to go away.

I called after him.

– Sorry, I would just like to make sure I fully comply with any of your regulations.

I admit I was being a little sarcastic here.

– You can’t take pictures here without the authority of the marketing department. You can ask them and they can give you permission.

– Um, no. I will be taking photographs. I do not need permission.

With that, he disappeared.

It seems I am clearly not alone in incurring the wrath of bored security guards. One Twitter chum has had similar experiences at Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow.

And this recent piece from the Guardian details an escalation of a similar event in Edinburgh and the subsequent apology.

It will be interesting to see if I get reprimanded again next time I visit the St James’ Centre. For I will return! Far too many wonderful concrete facades begging to be captured.

Anyway, today’s photograph is dedicated to excitable shopping centre security guards everywhere.

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