One Bush Street

one bush street Local photographer Thomas Hawk was harassed by security goons when taking photographs of One Bush Street:

Yesterday I was shooting some photos of One Bush St. (the building where Bush and Market Streets intersect) when their security guard came out of his little glass jewelbox lobby hut to ask me to stop taking photos of the building. He said it was illegal. I moved to the sidewalk and continued taking photos and he again asked me to stop. When I told him I was on a public street sidewalk he said that actually they owned the sidewalk and that I was going to have to stop taking photographs.

The security guard then followed Hawk as he took various photos of the building on the public sidewalk.

This saga, however, is far from over. It seems that another guy is holding a contest for a variety of One Bush Street photos. Mat Honan will give the winner a $10 iTunes certificate. Word on the street that a litany of photographers will be meeting this Saturday at high noon to take several photographs of the One Bush Street building.

I’m going to try and be there myself. Failing that, I plan to introduce a new weekly feature to Return of the Reluctant: the One Bush Street Photo of the Week. Photos will be appearing on these pages every week until this ridiculous enforcement is waived in its entirety.

Taking a photograph of a building is neither a terrorist act nor a copyright infringement. The time has come to take a stand against this irrational fear and unreasonable (if not outright illegal) prohibition. I urge anyone with a camera in San Francisco to exercise their rights to free expression and snap a photo, if you happen to be in the Financial District.

(via SFist)


  1. Anarchist.
    Be warned, I will be filing a Writ of Corpus Dileciti (Lorum Ipso Facto)*, Pre Face, declaring God in contempt of Homeland Security for violations of the DMCA for giving humanoids (& possibly Chimpanzees) the ocular facility to process protected light waves.

    * On behalf of “the children”

  2. This has been going on for years (well, since 2001). I have many similar stories from my photographer friends. I myself was harassed in San Jose when I (for God’s sake!) tried to take a photo of my girlfriend and like an 8′ x 8′ chunk of a Very Important Building happened to be inframe in the background.

  3. As a former security guard I can say this without hesitation, security guards are jerks and companies over-react to the extreme. We had a mall security guard prepare to cut a lock and impound a bicycle because he didn’t think a courier should be able to park his bike on the sidewalk.

    I can see being worried if a person was obviously probing the security system or something but taking pictures? Sheesh.

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