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Thread: Guns/Security?

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    Guns/Security?

    I'm about as anti-gun as they come... I lost my mom to a gun. It's just the way I'm hard wired, I guess.

    But I just got a call to document, photographically, an historic site in New Orleans in a pretty bad part of town. The house is to be demolished, and NOLA has all old structures photographically archived before being demolished. It's going be several hours of work with some of my more expensive camera gear in the lower 9th ward and all of a sudden I feel the need to be armed... I wonder if I should just write the cost of a security guard into my quote?

    How do you guys that work in these areas handle similar situations? Do you hire security? Are you packing? (I don't want to).

    I'm wouldn't normally be scared for my safety in just about any place, but the addition of all this very visible and large camera gear changes the dynamic a bit.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Shelby , unless you went into training - there is bugger all chance of photographing and yet being completely aware of your surroundings. It just takes too much concentration.

    Easiest possible way is to have someone else with you , who will be able to drag you away from camera, if things suddenly would start getting ugly.

    Security or not. And always remember that monopod is sweet hitting club Legal to carry around

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Insure your equipment against theft, even for the duration of the shoot and charge it to your customers. If someone pulls a gun on you, I would rather hand over my stuff than my life. (I don't believe pulling a gun out on someone else is really going to improve the situation, but will give the other guy a reason to shoot.)

    But have a large assistant, which you will also charge your customers.

    I have worked in all kinds of places around the world. I have never had a problem. Usually I work when the bad guys aren't.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Shelby, IMO forget about arming yourself. It'll just be an excuse for some gang member to kill you for sure. Without training and skill with gun handling, you may be ineffective under threat anyway.

    What or who is NOLA? How much "pull" do they have with local officials? One "political" call from someone in a position of authority could have a squad car as your escort.

    Or, depending on local rules and regulations for the police dept., hire an Off-Duty Policeman as a photo "assistant". I've done that in Detroit in past many years ago.

    BTW, make sure your insurance is up to par and covers "work for hire" ... which your homeowners policy will not, even if it is an "all inclusive" rider. Trust me on this one.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    NOLA - New Orleans, LA.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Shelby, as a person who has trained to carry a weapon his entire adult life my recommendation is much the same as others. Since you're "as anti-gun as they come" don't change now. If you really feel there's a need, hire a professional - hire an off duty officer; but check him out first. The best option is to have the biggest guy you can find to act as an assistant with his primary duty to be the eyes in the back of your head; to watch your back and verbally engage people before they get too close.

    Remember, the only time the use of lethal force is ever justified is to protect a life - never property.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    ....The best option is to have the biggest guy you can find to act as an assistant....
    Don
    Both Jack and Don come to mind. But Guy wearing his Dante "shopping ski mask" might be a pretty good scary alternative too....


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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Shelby,

    My 5th Degree Black Belt instructor always said that the best defense was ... do not be there.

    Is this a personal effort that will enhance your career or self? Is the remuneration that great? IF there is an inherent risk...is it worth the hassel?

    Your posts show little to indicate an overwhelming interest in historical buildings that have been trashed....nor a great preponderance of architectural subjects. Do your kids really want to remember their dad going to that last big job, which was what?

    Keep in mind this is coming from one who has seen the rougher parts of the planet ... leaving in two weeks for another visit to an unstable part of W Africa....but I would not do it on the basis of a phone call....and I do not wear even a wedding band nor watch...carry a small camera that is not visible 99 percent of the time.

    I agree with all of the above IF this is something about which you have strong desire and direction...otherwise it may be prudent to think it over...especially if it brings more of the same. Hence more time in harms way.

    As an aside...have you considered something like the NEX 5N or 7...16 - 24 MP that fit in your pocket....not a lot to look at from the street.

    Would love to hear how this play out.

    Bob

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    What Bob said, plus: always be prepared to lose your gear. It can be robbery, theft, an accident or other unexpected occurrences. It's only gear after all, and if you have a proper insurance, it'll cover it.

    I mostly carry my camera visible wherever I go. As an alien to most communities I visit, I'm an obvious target for robbery anyway. Like Bob, I don't wear a watch or anything that would indicate wealth. Even my phone is a cheap model (as if I could afford anything else ). The camera is unavoidable though, and it's only a matter of time before people will know that you have it. You are supposed to take photos after all. Mirrorless cameras are great, since they are relatively small, don't look expensive and offer incredible image quality considering the price and the modest appearance.

    I don't know if this helps on the other side of the ocean, but in Asia, connection with people, being a bit social, buying a snack and something to drink at a local store helps a lot. I've even seen locals protecting me against less likable individuals, simply because I bought a Coke and a bag of chips at their mother's store.

    Oh... and show off your photos if asked, and take a photo of that seedy character who wants his portrait taken, even though he'll never get to see it printed (and don't if he doesn't ask for it).

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Both Jack and Don come to mind. But Guy wearing his Dante "shopping ski mask" might be a pretty good scary alternative too....

    I have a special ski mask for these occasions.

    Seriously look tough carry a monopod and use it to protect yourself if the need arises, screw the gear it can be replaced. Always avoid a conflict never encourage one.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  11. #11
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. New Orleans is a pretty rough in places, but since Katrina is generally well patrolled. It's not dangerous like a war zone, but still has some very rough neighborhoods (which is why I'm photographing for the historic commission before they demolish this house).

    For me, it's worth it to do the work as it will lead to more work and also... as some who has an architecture masters degree... it's fulfilling work. Even though I'm now mostly a professional musician, I have a badass tuba-playing friend who's tattooed all over and pretty big. I think he's going to go with me... plus we're going to call the local police to make sure they step up patrols while we're there.

    You guys are right... no need for me to start carrying. That's just a tragedy waiting to happen.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Use a naf-looking camera that would look unmarketable to an opportunist.

    ¿Sinar P2?

    You could still us good modern lenses and digital back.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. New Orleans is a pretty rough in places, but since Katrina is generally well patrolled. It's not dangerous like a war zone, but still has some very rough neighborhoods (which is why I'm photographing for the historic commission before they demolish this house).

    For me, it's worth it to do the work as it will lead to more work and also... as some who has an architecture masters degree... it's fulfilling work. Even though I'm now mostly a professional musician, I have a badass tuba-playing friend who's tattooed all over and pretty big. I think he's going to go with me... plus we're going to call the local police to make sure they step up patrols while we're there.

    You guys are right... no need for me to start carrying. That's just a tragedy waiting to happen.
    As a former musician myself, I second the "badass tuba-playing friend who's tattooed all over and pretty big" as your best chance for protection tell him to bring the tuba, too, that IS pretty scary!
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Hi Shelby,
    I once shot a music video in Newark, outside of NYC. The production Co. actually hired a couple of locals as "security", and we shot for several days in various locations with no incident. We took the time to introduce ourselves to many who gathered to watch. The locals who watched our gear felt involved in the process and were actually grateful for the experience...dare I say, inspired to pursue a career in film production! The State agency who hired you should provide some sort of security... if not,roll the cost into the invoice if you have to hire someone yourself, but definitely involve locals if you draw attention - like holding a reflector or asking them their opinion. Although, you might have to provide an Ins./equipment waiver, the agency hiring you should provide for your safety.

    Assumptions can be misleading...

    In reading some of the other comments, I agree with taking a Sony Nex or other camera that provides good resolution, and therefore more than adequate documentation, but doesn't garner much attention. I would consider a camera with good high ISO, so no lighting set ups other than a tripod are needed.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 20th January 2012 at 08:06.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    FWIW, I regularly photograph at night in the seedier parts of downtown Phoenix with my MFDB rig and have only once ever had a problem, which I defused by picking up my tripod, collapsing the legs together, and brandishing it as a club.

    Although I do often carry a sidearm in a holster, I've found the best protection is to carry several dollar bills in my front pants pocket and use them to "buy" my way out any potential trouble. "Here, let me help you out," followed by a smile and the gift of a few bucks works well for me, especially if the pocket I reach into to pull out the bills is the one right next to my holster, as it subtlely draws attention to its presence...

    Of course, if you're not comfortable carrying a gun and aren't prepared to use it should an uncomfortable situation turn into a bad one, then you definitely shouldn't do so, because its presence can sometimes make situations worse than they would have been otherwise.
    Last edited by Audii-Dudii; 20th January 2012 at 16:44.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    If you are going to carry a gun for protection, be darn sure you know how to use it and that you are 100% certain you are willing to use it. Having a gun your are not 100% willing to use in any proximity to you is a recipe for disaster; being 100% willing to use a gun if needed, but not knowing how to use it, is a recipe for disaster.
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Insure your equipment against theft, even for the duration of the shoot and charge it to your customers. If someone pulls a gun on you, I would rather hand over my stuff than my life. (I don't believe pulling a gun out on someone else is really going to improve the situation, but will give the other guy a reason to shoot.)
    +1

    Shelby, Terribly sorry to read about the tragedy.

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Since i live in New Orleans, I would suggest contacting the city or police department as asking how they could help. Since you are documenting a historic site, maybe they would be willing to escort and accompany you. They have done it for some people documenting the abandoned Six Flags here.

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    .. I wonder if I should just write the cost of a security guard into my quote?
    +1

    I think either the city or the client should be willing to foot the bill on an off duty officer.
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    Re: Guns/Security?

    My home is located in a very low crime area of the United States. A few months ago I was taking pictures in our city's Central Park. Crime is practically non-existant during the daytime there. As I took pictures, a couple was sitting on a nearby bench. The young man looked at me and said, "I bet that camera cost $5,000.00." That was probably the largest amount he could conceive any camera would cost. But that unnerved me, and to be quite honest, gave me some concern. In the past, I never felt uncomfortable at all, because an H4D is so unusual looking to the average person. Thankfully crime is very low here, but this experience has made me much more careful. One thing I have found is that criminals watch the way you carry yourself. I am pretty tall and strong looking so I try not to project weakness or fear (even if I am afraid). Having a large assistant certainly adds to this projection of strength and is probably a better idea than carrying a gun.

    If anyone ever resorts to carrying a gun, they should have a strong training background in firearms. That background would most likely indicate the time and circumstances a gun would be helpful. It would also dictate times when it would be unwise to carry one. Wayne's solution is ideal, because police officers are familiar with the crime situation in their patrol area.

    Greg

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    I strongly second the suggestion to hire an Off Duty police officer.
    I have on several occasions, and the sense of security is priceless!

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    This might be a dumb question but exactly HOW do you go about hiring an off duty police officer?
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Guns/Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    This might be a dumb question but exactly HOW do you go about hiring an off duty police officer?
    I wouldn't hire them. I'd expect the client and/or city (if this is recording a historical site) to provide it. Most cites have policies regarding off duty officers, and a great many officers augment their income working off duty in bars and private security for various functions.

    this may apply or provide some direction. didn't read the entire thing ...

    http://www.louisianaentertainment.go...Guidelines.pdf
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