Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Close Call

(Snapped on 8/09/10)

Some of you may have seen this photo before - on either my Facebook or my flickr account, back when I was still social networking. And although it is admittedly about as old as time, and it may seem kind of random for me to post it here - now...there is a method to my madness. Lemme explain...

The image above represents the very first of my self-portrait shoots, that resulted in an altercation with Johnny Law. And because a cop showed up so soon after I'd gotten started, (and the fact that my camera refused to function properly) this was the only picture that I was able to snap on that sweltering, August afternoon - while from inside the jail, I could hear inmates stomping and chanting, and rhythmically clanging things together...presumably because of my antics. It was a gas!

Since then, I've had several, subsequent run-ins with the police, but for the last 6 months I've been lucky enough to have - for the most part - managed to stay out of trouble. Well peeps? I broke the streak a little over a week ago...and this time, I got busted before ever even setting up my camera...However - photos or not - I still believe that it's a story worthy of finding its place here in the Big Ugly annals...and because the image above was taken under similar circumstances - I'm hoping it'll serve as a suitable stand-in. 

A couple of Monday evening's ago, I took the advice of a friend - and drove over to a building in town, that's been boarded-up and vacant for years...a building that my friend and I both agreed - might be an interesting location for my pics.. 

After surveying the perimeter, the only ways that I could find to get inside the structure - were through a second floor, wide-open doorway (about 12' off the ground though - soooo...not gonna happen) the other option - a 10" - 12" gap under an immovable garage door, clear on the backside of the building. 

My little table wouldn't fit through the opening, so I left it outside - and squoze myself and my bagful of costumes and camera shiz, through the gap and into the almost entirely dark was CREEEEpy! I called out, "Is anyone in here?" to make sure there were no wild animals or squatters to contend with, and upon hearing no sound at all - I decided that the coast must be clear. Once my eyes began to adjust to the dark, and with the help of my 9v. flashlight - I familiarized myself with my surroundings, and although for some reason I was more nervous and shaky than usual - I was getting some good ideas for my pics.. 

I had settled on posing naked, up against the corrugated metal of a different garage door, in the dim spot of my flashlight, wearing a welder's mask that I'd found...and right about the time I brought a small wooden ladder over to set my camera on (in lieu of the little table), I heard this - "ka-thunkka-thunkka-thunkka-thunkka-thunk" sound - getting closer and closer and closer - until it finally stopped just outside of the garage door under which I had entered the building..."SHIT! What tha hell is that?!" In a panic I crammed all of my stuff back into my camera bag, and debated over whether I should hide? Or give myself up. Believing that somehow someone had found out that I was in there, I decided that to get caught hiding in the bowels of that cavernous, dark building - would be beyond instead - I poked my head out from under the garage door, and said to the man standing there by his truck, "I guess you're here because of me." 

Startled, he said, "Noooo? I'm here because I need to fix my truck." 

I muttered an expletive that rhymes with truck (along with a few others that don't) and sheepishly followed the man's orders to come out.

He was absolutely confounded by my explanation for being there, preferring to believe instead, that I'd stolen and/or damaged his property...which I vehemently (and honestly) denied. He asked to see my driver's license. I told him it was in my car (about a 5 minute walk from where we were). I was so relieved when we started to head over to the busy parking lot where I'd left my car. But just like that - he changed his mind and said, "On second thought, let's go inside and see what you did to my stuff." I refused, asserting, "I didn't do anything to your stuff. Plus, how do I know you won't try to do something to me?!" Becoming more angry and agitated, the man threatened, "Well then? I'm calling the police." I said, "Fine."

An officer arrived, did a quick background check on both of us (using my social security number, since I didn't have my license), gave me a fairly stern tongue-lashing for being so reckless and cited, "This easily could've been a rape call"...I couldn't help but wonder if the background check revealed something sinister about the man and his past...

A technicality prevented the officer from being able to charge me with trespassing, and after he begrudgingly told me that I was free to go - I thanked him and apologized, and beat feet outta there...before he had the chance to change his mind.

It was odd, because for as stoked as I was to have escaped not only in one piece, but also without a brand-spanking-new criminal record - I was totes bummed. Because for the first time that I can remember, I was going home with nary a picture from a shoot. Sure I was excited that I had a good story to tell...but without the pics. to prove it? The most crucial element seemed to be missing...


  1. Ha! Pictures aren't necessary for this one. Great story! Maybe you should trade your table for a collapsible TV tray?

  2. @A Redditor - Ah, you're so NICE! But I'm just KICKing myself for not having the wherewithal to at least snap a few pics. with my phone, as the scene played out...grrrrrr...

    I don't think I'll ever retire the little table, it's too perfect! Perfect height, sturdy metal, but lightweight - so I can hum it over fences and stuff, and not have to worry about it breaking. I will say though, I've been using my gorillapod inSTEAD of the table, a BUNCH recently. I'm starting to realize that the thing's pretty nifty!

  3. In one of your previous blogs, I told you how brave you must be to go into buildings that can be homes to all kinds of critters, I guess you need to watch out for the man critters also. Great story, be careful, you might want to add pepper spray to your camera bag....
    AMC 6/29

    1. I like that admonition to beware of the man critters.


  4. @Anonymous - Ya'...other folks have strongly suggested that I carry mace. Knowing me though - I'd completely spaz out, and forget that I even had the stuff with me - if I was ever startled by a stranger on a shoot...

    I will try to remember to get some though... :)

  5. Hi Lauralyn

    I hope you won't be offended if I say that you are wonderfully bonkers and I can only dream of being quite so bonkers but I am determined to give it a go. Your blog is so inspirational and it never fails to make me want to grab my camera and get clicking.

    The 1st picture in this post is quite literally breath-taking...the light, the colours, the space, everything is perfect.

    As for man man critter would like to have his photo taken, maybe that is your best defense.


  6. @Molly - Haha! I'm not offended at ALL! Cuz yeah...I'm BONKers all right!

    To say that you find my work "inspirational" is possibly one of the best compliments you could ever pay me, Molly...and quite frankly? It makes ME wanna get BACK out there and take more pictures, posthaste! Thank you so much for a nice dose of motivation, this morning :)

    Oh, btw...I can't figure out how to move your comment to the "Leave Well Enough Alone" entry. It looks like I can only delete it. Which I can do - if you want me to...and then I 'spose you could RE-post it on the other page. But honestly, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

  7. And I love the climbing the wall photo!