My plans for yet another re-visit to the Arena demolition site on Friday were thwarted, both by rain and by a LPD officer who’d stationed himself strategically near the “entrance” I’d have used to get in.
Thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Gustav, tossing rain as he drags himself northward to die over the Midwest, we’ve had some sorely-needed precipitation the last couple of days. Alas, I’m more your fair-weather photographer, especially when the ground at the site is a debris-littered quagmire.
But the rain finally relented a bit, so off I set to survey the lay of the land. It was after 6 pm, and the skies were overcast. By this hour the sun would be nearly among the buildings downtown, so the site itself would likely be quite dim. I drove overto the “entrance”, which is a gap where temporary fencing seals off a closed street that bisects the site. This place is under the bridge approach that parallels overhead that wall and fence, so it’s a shady and secluded spot; and where do you think that the LPD officer chose to station himself? Yeah, right there, so no-go on the site “visit.”
I’m not a chronic lawbreaker. However, I’ve frequently gone onto such sites in pursuit of photographs, under the self-justifying theory that forgiveness trumps permission any day. I never damage or remove anything; I touch nothing but the floor and photograph everything just as I find it. I’ve never been arrested or, if I can recall correctly, ever asked to leave a site. I would of course do so if someone with proper authority requested it; and I guess there’s a chance I could get arrested.
I suppose the general tolerance for a photographer nosing around would depend on happenings at the site: the degree of danger (with fear of liability should I get myself crushed by a falling ferroconcrete slab); the amount of vandalism or theft that has occurred on a site–which you’d think would be less prevalent during the demolition phase than during construction, when there are building materials around to steal; or the “secrecy” with which the buiders are conducting their operations for whatever reason. This place is so torn apart that it seems hardly likely anything salvageable would still be there; it’s all exposed to the elements and is rusting away.
Lotta cool junk crying out to be photographed. Now to find a way to do it right.