Photo365: July 27, 2009

I work in an ordinary run-of-the-mill commercial office building in Newark, New Jersey. There’s nothing special, or even particularly photogenic about it, but what with this photo-a-day project, I’ve shot my share of images there. In January, I grabbed a shot of the old Firemen’s Fund building from the parking lot. In February and in April, I shot a number of images from my 15th floor office window. In June, I got what I thought was a pretty good shot of a nearby building reflected in a puddle in the parking lot. I’ve taken a lot of shots that didn’t turn out well enough to be included in this project. And nobody has ever said a word about my photographing in and around the building… until today.

I was a little late getting out of the office, the light was fading badly, there didn’t seem to be much around to shoot, so I grabbed a quick couple of shots of the building itself while standing next to my car in the parking lot. Put the camera away, started to walk around to get into the driver’s seat, and a voice rang out: “Ma’am, would you hold up a minute please?” Sure enough, a police officer wanted to know who I was, whether I worked there and why I was taking pictures, took my name, the floor that I worked on… A substitute security guard for the building (not the regular, who knows me by name and I her by name) came out, and I still can’t figure out whether he was the one who called the police, or whether he just wanted to know why the police officer was talking to me, but he certainly didn’t vouch for me as a long-time building tenant (long time as in more than 10 years!).

Now it turns out that Rutgers University has taken up space in floors 2-12. The officer was from the campus police and repeatedly told me she was asking me only because, after all, it’s now Rutgers and security is tighter now. (Really? I teach part-time at the law school, six blocks away, and have taken pictures there for years inside and outside the building with security watching and not so much as a whisper…)

I hate to tell the campus police this but… the Rutgers Graduate School of Business is not… repeat NOT… a terrorist target. And they certainly don’t need to be protected from the likes of an amateur photographer who happens to be a long-time tenant of the same commercial office building…  (I now officially want one of those t-shirts that reads: “I am a photographer, not a terrorist.”)

And worse… it isn’t even a very good photo.

NOT a terrorist target

NOT a terrorist target

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