Stopped And Questioned By The Police Whilst Photographing On Saturday

A bit of a scary but also positive experience. I like the North of England, and despite the progressive destruction of traditional heavy industry,and the development of a service based economy, there are many places where traditional industry is still functioning. I was aware that we were due to have a week with below zero temperatures and we’;re meant to have a lot of snow, so I decided to go for a walk, and explore a place I hadn’t been to before.

I had walked along the coast and taken photos of many things that interested me, and one of those was what appeared to be an inland oil rig. It’s a gas rig, but I am not sure if they drill for gas under the rig, or whether the rig is connected to a field just off of the coast.

There was also a really interesting building near by so I took a couple of photos of that. Whilst doing so a police car turned up, and as I was the only person around I figured they wanted to speak with me.

One of the officers got out of the car, with an assault rifle tucked under his arm (not pointing at me), and I was a little scared at this point. He explained that he was from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and that I had been photographing a nuclear power station. He explained the security concerns to me, and had to carry out a PNC check to ensure that I was not connected with any terrorist activity.

He was calm, polite, interested in my photography and my studies. He explained that there was no requirement for me to show him the photos that I had taken, but would appreciate it if I did. He could see quite clearly that my photography was quite random, and we discussed my frustration with the current government believing that the Northern Powerhouse is only Leeds and Manchester (this is something that I may be able to explore during the next section of my coursework).

It has taken me a few days to process the situation, and I have decided that even though I have not been asked to delete or not show the photograph, I am not going to do so. I will keep it for my own collection though because I like heavy industry and the landscape that surrounds it.

Here is the photo of the gas rig though. This is the Northern Powerhouse.

Tees Port

Exploring the symbolism of the photo.

The rig – Power, Strength, Might, Domination

The grass – wasteland, waste, emptiness, void – each blade of grass represents one person who has been put out of work as the traditional industry is destroyed, the bare shrubs are destroyed communities

Despite all of this I see beauty.


12 Replies to “Stopped And Questioned By The Police Whilst Photographing On Saturday”

  1. That must have been an unsettling experience. A sign of the times we live in unfortunately, but still unnerving.
    The image you’ve posted of the gas rig is wonderful , symbolic of all what has been lost yet has a sublime beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually a good experience in the end I think. Photographing outdoors is inevitably going to attract attention at some point, and the more experience we gain in handling that the better. Sounds like both yourself and the police handled this one well. My only experience of the police and photography was asking a policeman if I could take his photo. He was more than happy to allow me to do so. Love your photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I very much like the photo you have included here. Your policeman sounds far kinder than the one who stopped me photographing the land that was the Jungle in Calais. He said I could easily be mistaken for a rabbit by a farmer… and we all know what farmers do to rabbits, don’t we??

    Liked by 1 person

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