Friday, October 19, 2007


Twice in the past week I've been interrogated about my photographic activities by persons of a security disposition.


has been going on outside my office window.

Well, who wouldn't take photos?

Its a set for a costume film with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes and the campus has been full of people with live geese under their arms, baskets of cabbages, straw, horses, large trailers, lighting and film equipment, sedan chairs - and persons of a security disposition.

I just leaned nonchalantly out of the window and took a few snaps while waiting for some photocopying. One of the security persons waved vigorously in my direction. What a friendly chap, I thought, and leaned a bit further for some better shots.

A couple of people with walky-talkies passed me on my way back to my office - and they soon hunted me down there, wanting to interrogate me about the photos I'd taken, the camera, my intentions, blah blah blah.

They hadn't even been filming for goodness' sake. No glimpses of any famous peeps while I was around.

I was told that some actors were rather distracted by flash photography during the previous days filming. Yeah, right. Keira et al are put off their strokes by camera-flash. At a distance. In daylight.

Yesterday morning I was on my way to my weaving class and stopped to take pics of some flats which always attract my attention. I love these corner rooms, the different things they are used (or not) for.

I turned around and found myself nearly nose to nose with a policeman "police community support" officer wanting to know what I was taking photos of, and why.


He did seem like a fairly amiable young man and we chatted about diversity of architecture in the area. I wonder if monitoring of lurker-stalker-peepingtom-paparazzi-snoop-voyeur-noseybonk activities is a clearly articulated part of the job description?

I wonder if I looked like any of the above?

If people don't want strangers looking through their windows, they put up nets or blinds, right?


Wendz said...

One has to wonder who dreams up some jobs...yesterday on the News there was some chap whose job it is to investigate pedophilia in sport,(or something like that) with the most peculiar job title...I mean a worthwhile thing to do but who thought of that specific job and title?

And then, I agree, if you don't have blinds or nets....then you have to put up with nosey parkers (like me) who love to peek in at your life. I am a terrible Peeping Tomasina...and really, it's nice to see how other people live.

Lynette said...

This reminds me of the painting by Avril Paton of 'Windows on the West' where you can see different activities through each window. I have seen the original several times and always seem to find something new which I missed before.

Pod said...

painty head has a cat that they had to rename tomasina. poor thomas of 5 years turned out to be a girl. i never heard anyone else use the name tomasina before la wendz mentioned it.

pesky noseybonks!

tut-tut said...

Of course, the best time to peer at unfettered windows is at night. I wonder who might appear over your shoulder should you try taking any pix then??

Reya Mellicker said...

This is so funny! You know I have this experience often, not only from the Secret Service guys who think I'm about to commit a crime against the government (or something) but oftentimes people who see me photgraphing their cars come up and ask me if something is wrong, or if I've hit the car, or wonder what the fuuuuh I'm doing.

We artists are not well understood by the mainstream, yes?

LOVE the idea of people with live geese tucked under their arms, coming to school. How fun!

Jess said...

Hey that's my flat and I haven't tidied up yet! ;)

Jess said...

Oh... thanks for the tip about posting videos! I don't have a flat but I expect you know that.

Akelamalu said...

How exciting to have filming going on right outside your window. Those are great photos of the set and of the windows. I agree they should shut the curtains if they don't want anyone to see in!

Dizzy said...

Hello Letty, I have been absent - busy, visiting and just lazy!

Funnily enough I had recently received an email about the breast cancer site. Clicking often!

Conkers, just gorgeous, so rich and shiny. I love the autumn and the autumnal colours and just want to come to your park and kick the mountain of leaves...

Love the photo of the dandelion flower, I only recently realised that the weed we blow was a dandelion!

No one mentioned the man leading the yellow camel - clever splodge.

Time, scary. I will be celebrating my 25th in a couple of years - how can that be when I am only 26. I quite like the idea of having no time only motion.

You need to take up covert photography and then you wouldn't get caught being a super snooper snapper.

Just found the bubble game. Must have been written by a man as a woman wouldn't throw a lady around like that. Nor put her in such skimpy undies.

Lots of love and a big hug xxx

kimy said...

had to laugh.... I am quite accustomed to getting hassled by agents of social control. my response, I smile, laugh and start pestering my pesterer with a bunch of questions - usually shuts them up!

movie people I have found are the worse....

of course it's okay if the state installs cameras on every friggin' corner and take pictures! do as we say not as we do!

did you perchance catch what the movie will be about. keira is such a cutie...and I love her in those 'costume' flicks. any chance you can get on as an extra?

Steve said...

Oh, that's a pet peeve of mine. The rule is, if I am standing on public right-of-way, or any place I am legally allowed to be (like my own office, for goodness' sake!) I am allowed to take pics of ANYTHING I can see. People who don't want their movie sets and/or messy apartments photographed should cover them up. Right??

(I am quite emphatic on this subject.)

Gary said...

Before you wrote about the specifics of the top pics I was floored and wondering where you took these. The fact that they are a movie set kinda disappoints me.

There are always film crews around NY and I find them a tad annoying. I question why I should be expected to go "ooh" and "ahh" over folks who are overpaid and always rewarding themselves in ceremonies that are televised. Okay, maybe I am a bit jealous. Teachers don't get paid well and nobody lines up to watch us get awards on the telly.

Also, you are right! If you don't want me looking in yer windows, hang curtains.

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

The managers of supermarkets come off their hinges if they find you snapping pix of displays, as though you were a spy for Bovril or some such. Not to be outdone, owners of small neighborhood markets wax wroth should you attempt to take pix of their establishments. And for some serious jollies, take out your camera in a laundromat frequented by immigrants.

Digital cameras are rated in terms of their pixel coverage; they'd be better rated according to the threat they pose. Makes a person want to carry about a medium- or large-format camera just to stirr up some dust.

Pod said...

yes come on letty, out with it. we know you're a spy for bovril

ramblingwoman said...

Hahahha...all these comments Lettie made me laugh out loud. Spy for Bovril? Taking photos in laundromats full of immigrants. Heeheee.

We, too had a cat called Tomasina. I believe the name came from a book (about a cat). (but the name existed before that)

I think if you examined all these photos Lettie you might stumble upon a crime taking place in some bit of it...that would make a good book/film (oh no wait, it's been done before...heaps of time). But can you tell me which films they were?

Bises xxxx

martin said...

I was asked by two policemen what I was taking pictures of..... I was in Trafalgar Square !!!!!!!. Morons.

Dumdad said...

We really are living in a nutty world!

It reminds me of my post when my son took an innocent photo (

And I'd like to echo Kimy's astute observation:

"of course it's okay if the state installs cameras on every friggin' corner and take pictures! do as we say not as we do"


Bird said...


but this sort of thing is what keeps me from taking the photos i want to take.

i always feel funny, sort of like a voyeur or as if i am intruding - when i want to take pics of various oddities about, or things that intrigue me.

so ... you just do it, right? i need to emulate you.

a few weeks ago, i was at a bluegrass festival and i noticed a fellow with quite a camera (clearly a well-heeled amateur or a professional) and the camera was decidely pointed right at me. i ignored him- and he ignored me in a way - no indication (other than the camera pointed at me) that he was taking my picture or that i had noticed him. i guess the trick is to act as though you, the photographer, is invisible, even when you're clearly not.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Many times I want to take a photo of an interesting place/person/thing but I feel that I am intruding... and the last thing I want to do is make people feel uncomfortable. And I don't want to be challenged by anyone and asked my reasons for taking a photo. That's just too embarrassing.
BTW I posted pics of The Wedding, perhaps I will post some more tomorrow. We had such a great time, I'm exhausted!

lettuce said...

wendy the "police community support officers" look (at a glance) and sound like policemen but don't have the same training, salary or powers. Makes it look as though more money is going into "community policing" than actually is.....

lynette i must google for that painting, it sounds interesting. I do like paintings and pictures of windows.

why "poor" tomasina, pod? some might say LUCKY tomasina.

Haha TT. I'd feel furtive, but i'd probably still give it a go.

Indeed we are not, Reya. Though I think everyone is secretly a noseybonk at least a little

haha Jess. i heard you are a bit messy though?

Klulu, it was exciting. Took them ages to clear away all the straw and hay though

dizzy, hello, lovely to see you again. xxxx

Kimy the film is called The Duchess apparently.. haven't got around to googling it yet. The movie security people were quite obnoxious with some of my colleagues apparently.

Gosh Steve. That was emphatic! though I'm not sure I'd have snapped the flats if there were people in them at the time.

sorry to disappoint Gary. No, London is no longer this medieval looking. :op

Shelly you are so funny. And inspirational! I now have the distinct urge to go and take pictures in supermarkets and laundrettes.....

Pod you should know, it would be a spy for MARMITE, not bovril

Well RW, Rear Window, obviously, such a great film. Lovely lovely Jimmy and Grace. And wasn't it remade recently? didn't see that one tho. Are there more?

Martin that is moronic. I think the correct response there would have been to take pictures of them.

Indeed, DD.

hello Bird, nice to have you swoop by again! Well, I do just do it, yes - but not if its people. I'd like to take pics of people more, but wouldn't generally if they are clearly recognisable - unless I've asked their permission. (which i have now done, once or twice)

Shammie, glad you had a good time! looking forward to seeing your pics.

call me betty said...

Love the pics & a big :p to bored security peeps with nothing better to do.

(Btw, that dandelion head is just gorgeous!)

Lynne said...

hi Letty,
trying to catch you up!

watch for a new film soon to be released:
Letty the Spy

I too was thinking Rear-Window-like thoughts at the flat pics. Interesting to see what different people do with the same space.

it's sad to be questioned on just taking photos! I was taking photos of an old rail station that was in a movie and got yelled at from a distance by a man approaching with a dog. Apparently someone lives there now and wasn't too happy about my being there. oops! I left before he could get any closer. hey, if your home is featured as the main part of a movie you are going to get lookies!

the film set looks interesting ... my first thought was "cool, an old market square still exists ..."

Steve said...

Well, I'm not as emphatic about photographing people directly. I'm talking more about buildings and movie sets and stuff. :)

I have taken some candid shots of people, but I always feel funny doing it, which is why there are usually no people in my photos!

Malc said...

Strange, isn't it, that the authorities question your right to take pictures when they spend almost all their time taking pictures of us.

Well, when I say us, not me, unless CCTV has reached the Orkneys.

lettuce said...

Betty - yes, a big :p

Lynne - there are old market squares not that much diff. from these in parts of the UK actually. But without the whole dead pigs, prob....

steve - yes, me too. I'd like to take more pics of peeps but it does feel kind of funny

malc - hello. Ah now, the orkneys always appealed to me, even before learning of their CCTVlessness. It is very strange. We live in a strange society. (when I say we, not you maybe?)

Gigibird said...

I have trouble taking photos sometimes...the only time I was asked to cease was in the Cloth Shop in London ( they were pretty much up their own my opinion)
I kind of self censor....

If you were a nutter you would hardly confess to it would you?