Published 19 years, 3 months past

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.

Comments (14)

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

  2. ” 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. Funny :-D

    Love your way of writing…

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

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

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

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

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

  12. 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. 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 ::

    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 […]

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