Skip to: site navigation/presentation
Skip to: Thoughts From Eric


So late this morning—that would make it the fifth and final day of the conference—I was doing what everyone else in the freakin’ conference was doing, and taking pictures of attendees while standing in the hallway.  As I held up the camera to get a high-angle shot of a group of friends, one of the badge checkers was suddenly leaning around me to look at something.  “You don’t have a press tag on the camera,” she said.

“No, I don’t; it’s a personal camera,” I told her.

“You still have get a tag,” she said.

“You’re kidding,” I said.  But she wasn’t.  I offered to put the camera away, but she wasn’t really satisfied with that.  “You’ll just pull it back out again, won’t you?”

She was right, of course, but that just didn’t seem like a problem to me.  She said, “All right, I’ll tell you what.  When you get a chance, go down to the press booth and get a tag.  All right?”

Now, most people would have agreed just to get her to go away and ignored the request.  But me, I’m a little different.  My sense of the totally absurd had been engaged, and I decided to do just as she had suggested and obtain a press tag.  Porter Glendinning, having heard the story and possessing a similar sense of the absurd, came along to pick up one of his own.

So yes, along with Porter, I am now duly authorized and my camera tagged with badge #331 to indicate that I am an official SXSW Videographer/Photographer, and as such am permitted to take pictures of people standing around in hallways talking.  Also, I have official authorization to take pictures of people taking pictures with their own personal non-tagged cameras.  That’s fun too.

A picture of the press-tagged camera.

14 Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 1714
    Jeremy Flint wrote in to say...

    That is absurd. Had they not seen the large number of people taking pictures in the hallway up to that point?

    • #2
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 1745
    Pete F. wrote in to say...

    ” Also, I have official authorization to take pictures of people taking pictures with their own personal non-tagged cameras.”

    Was she checking everybody’s phones too? Camera handsets are so prolific now — and getting higher res every month it would seem — surely they should just be issuing everyone with a tag along with their standard conference badges and save themselves (and paying, enthusiastic attendees) some grief?

    Sounds like SxSW could do with a Sensibility speaker or two, to compliment the Usability and Accessibility folks…

    • #3
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 1747
    Michael Kjeldsen wrote in to say...

    Funny :-D

    Love your way of writing…

    • #4
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 1950
    Daniel wrote in to say...

    I’ve always said (since five seconds ago, to myself) that the world would be a better place if more people appreciated the absurd. Better than berating the bleating, I suppose. With a porpoise.

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 2045
    Paul wrote in to say...

    Doesn’t the absurdity begin with the question, “Do you have a press tag?”

    Isn’t that just new-speak for, “Have you signed our legal agreement which gives us the rights to any photos you take?”

    • #6
    • Comment
    • Tue 15 Mar 2005
    • 2256
    Lachlan Hunt wrote in to say...

    Did you take a photo of this tag?
    Will we be seeing more photos of cameras?

    • #7
    • Comment
    • Wed 16 Mar 2005
    • 1040
    Neill Harmer wrote in to say...

    Well if there is a brightside…at least you did not have to PAY for the ability to take pictures. I have been to a car show that you had to pay for the priveledge. It was only a few bucks, but the idea was absurd.

    • #8
    • Comment
    • Wed 16 Mar 2005
    • 1515
    Lee wrote in to say...

    That’s just pointless. Everything is getting so bureaucratic over nothing. At least it made for good story =)

    • #9
    • Comment
    • Wed 16 Mar 2005
    • 1631
    Block Sheep wrote in to say...

    I applaud your response; it makes me feel good to know that others conduct themselves the same way I do.

    • #10
    • Comment
    • Wed 16 Mar 2005
    • 1858
    Jim wrote in to say...

    “When the going gets weird the weird turn pro” – Hunter S. Thompson

    • #11
    • Comment
    • Thu 17 Mar 2005
    • 0904
    Mark wrote in to say...

    If anyone can walk up an get a “Press Tag’ then what is the point of having them? I call Shenanigans!

    • #12
    • Comment
    • Thu 17 Mar 2005
    • 1251
    Ian Lloyd wrote in to say...

    Of course, it’s just a replacement for a previous year’s absurdity, namely: You can’t charge your laptop off the convention centre’s supply. Damn near caused a riot. Well, maybe a virtual riot involving broken punctuation and bloody forward slashes and such like.

    • #13
    • Comment
    • Thu 17 Mar 2005
    • 1604
    Andrea wrote in to say...

    Maybe they saw all the University folks having too much fun and decided they needed to add another layer of useless bureaucracy to make us feel at home…

    • #14
    • Pingback
    • Tue 21 Mar 2006
    • 1142
    Received from Medialoper » Press Room? I Said Rest Room!

    […] ines D Cell Batteries On the last day of the 2005 conference renowned CSS Guru Eric Meyer was called to task for daring to take photos of his friends without proper press credentials […]

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address required but never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Remember to encode character entities if you're posting markup examples! Management reserves the right to edit or remove any comment—especially those that are abusive, irrelevant to the topic at hand, or made by anonymous posters—although honestly, most edits are a matter of fixing mangled markup. Thus the note about encoding your entities. If you're satisfied with what you've written, then go ahead...

March 2005
February April