I like to photograph details on and around construction sites: scrap metal, bolts and nuts, such things. And at present there is lots and lots of subject matter in Hamburg, for example in the HafenCity.
But how do I go about photographing these subjects? In this modern day and age one needs to have a hard hat, special insurance and so on to even enter the site. Then there is the question of what does this photographer want here? Is he going to cause trouble? Is he part of some regulation agency? Is he taking photographs for the competition? Or maybe for terrorist purposes?
While I do have some understanding for these worries, I really want to enter a construction site, look around, make some photos, then go on. I could try it this outside the working hours, when no one is around, but it will be unpleasant if some security guy sees me or calls the police. If I come during working hours, even if the person responsible for the site decides that I am not a threat, it’s still too much hassle to let me do my thing, so I suspect he’ll still say “no.”
So I’m thinking of printing a portfolio of my construction-site images on 10 x 15 cm paper (4 x 6″) to constantly carry around with me. Hopefully this would serve as one more assurance that I don’t have anything evil on my mind. And it just might interest the person on the other side enough to give me a chance to look around. I guess carrying some form of identification as well as a business card with a name, telephone number and a web address would help even further.
I such a “to go” portfolio can probably do wonders if one wants to photograph people on the street. I’ve never done this, but I imagine that it’s easier to convince a total stranger to let me take his or her photo if I’m able to show what kind of images I’m after and then leave my name and contact info on a small business card.
I guess one can also do it the modern way and show his or her images on the display of a portable hard-drive, but this might actually put off some people or make them even more suspicious.