Archive for September, 2010

Advertising’s Image of Women

September 20th, 2010

My friend Kelly posted the video above today on her Facebook page. I started to write a comment on Facebook, but it got longer, and longer…..and longer. So I decided to write a blog on it instead.

There’s always been pressure on women to look a certain way, the Victorian era had extreme corsets, ancient Romans used makeup, the Chinese bound the feet, the Kayan Lahwi place brass rings around their necks.  To imply that advertising is the cause of how women feel about themselves today is disingenuous.  All of the above examples and many more were done decades and centuries before modern advertising.  Before TV, magazines, before books, and I’m sure there were ways that women changed how they look before we even had writing.

Second, where are women in this?  Is the speaker saying that women are so easily manipulated that a mere image destroys their self worth?  That women and girls don’t know and can’t be taught that what they see in advertisements is not real?  If the problems stemming from advertising are so inescapable why aren’t they more prevalent?

Third, “The person is dehumanized and violence becomes inevitable.”  Um, no.  While making a person an object may be the first step in violence against that person, I strongly disagree that it is inevitable.  To agree with that statement you would have to believe that humans are violent against all objects.  That because I think of a tree as an object I have to fight my natural urges to violently attack it?

You know what I think is causing all the self esteem problems in this country?  It’s the dichotomy between what we show and what we do.  We surround people with sex but then we tell them not to do it.  That a women’s body should be looked at, but not touched, even by her own hand.  If the only way you’re allowed to be sexual is through what you look like and what you wear, of course you’re going to take it to extremes.

We need to teach women (and girls, and boys, and men) that sex and masturbation are not bad things.  That feeling good is not something to be ashamed of.  That loving yourself physically is loving yourself mentally.

I think this last part relates to two recent posts by Katie West.

Women are sexualized and objectified to appeal to others.


Women who report masturbating score higher on a self-esteem index than women who do not report masturbating.

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Keesh Lorraine

September 16th, 2010

Keesh Lorraine is an amazing model in the Madison area.  You can see some of her other work on her Model Mayhem site.  I first contacted her about working with gold leaf, such as the ones I’ve done with Rebecca.  We ended up going a slightly different direction doing outdoor nudes at Devil’s Lake State Park.  While not the first time I’ve visited the park (many times as a boy scout), it was the first time I’d photographed there.  And I hadn’t been there in quite a few years.

After stopping at the Visitor’s center for a vehicle sticker, we went to the south side of the lake to climb the east bluff.

SONY DSCIn the far left distance you can see the lake, about a third of a mile away.  At this point we’re about 200’ above the lake, though we’d only gone 75’ horizontally.  I’d wanted to go higher, but, um, I’m not in that good a shape.  So we stopped here and got quite a few pictures.

SONY DSC  As you can see we’re above the tops of most of the trees.  The colors of the rocks, and the lichen really match well with her skin.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC This next pictures is my favorite.  The diagonals of the rocks, the matching angles of her arms and legs, the straining of her muscles.

SONY DSC On the way back down, we took a little side trail, and found a boulder field much closer to the ground.

SONY DSC SONY DSC To me it looks like she belongs there.

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Round and round we go…

September 16th, 2010

So it’s been a few months since the last update on my Robert W. Kastenmeier courthouse experience.  After not hearing from anyone for about 6 weeks, on February 10th, 2010 I called the offices of Representative Baldwin and Senator Feingold.  Two days later I received a letter with a number of pages from Representative Baldwin.  Click the picture to read it full size.

Representative Baldwin letter February 12th In it she recaps what has happened so far and then says that her office received a reply letter from the Department of Homeland Security on January 6th.  Would have been nice if they would have forwarded it to me when it was received. 

Apparently the Federal Protective Service, part of DHS, provides security at the vast majority of US courthouses but not Kastenmeier, which is protected by the US Marshall service.  The current U.S. Marshal told an aide to Representative Baldwin that he considered the case closed because of Judge Crabb’s letter (page 1, page 2) from November 5th.  It should be noted the the Marshal the aide spoke to is Mr. Steven Fitzgerald, who is different than the one interviewed by Bill Leuders for his Isthmus article.

The letter to Representative Baldwin from DHS is below, click to see it bigger.

DHS to Baldwin First, the letter reveals that the Federal Protective Service has “no record or contact with Mr. Zytkiewicz".  Well, that’s good because I never gave anyone my name, they’d only know it from the letters.

It goes on to say that while FPS provides security for 800 courthouses, the Robert W. Kastenmeier courthouse is one of seven pilot facilities where security is provided by the U.S. Marshal service.  Well, isn’t that interesting.  How many parts of our government don’t know what the hell is going on with other parts of the government?  First it was GSA, then it was DHS, now it’s the U.S. Marshal service with is under the Department of Justice.

The letter then goes on for almost a paragraph about the often repeated lie that terrorist use photography. 

“Therefore, as a precautionary measure, FPS personnel may approach individuals photographing Federal buildings in an attempt to ascertain their reasons for photographing the facility, so as to protect against security compromises.”

This is just so ludicrous.  Much better writers than I have written pages and pages about why idea’s like this don’t work.  Just a few days ago Stephen Haynes wrote a wonderful piece about Security Theater.

Now the last sentence of the paragraph is very interesting.  It may even be useful to photographers to print out this letter and carry it with them.

“Unless there is a reasonable belief that criminal or terrorist reconnaissance activity is involved, FPS guidelines regarding this issue prohibit FPS personnel from taking any enforcement action, including detaining persons or seizing cameras or film.”

Now, I’m not a lawyer, and have no legal training.  But I do know that reasonable belief, and reasonable suspicion are closely related.  Meaning that FPS personnel and law enforcement officers must have specific evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that you have committed, are committing, or about to commit a crime.  I highly doubt that taking pictures of a public building, standing on public property, making no attempt to conceal your actions would lead anyone to believe you are a criminal.

So now I guess I write some letters to the Mr. Fitzgerald, the U.S. Marshals service, and Attorney General Eric Holder.

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September 16th, 2010

I first met Casie on Twitter .  After a few weeks I asked her to pose for me, she came over in mid November.  This is the first set.  I’ll have more later.


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Homeland Security knows my name.

September 16th, 2010

So a few things have happened since I wrote my last update on my experience at the Robert W. Kastenmeier Courthouse.

First, on December 4th I was interviewed live on the radio by Sly on Sly in the Morning 1670 WTDY-Madison.  You can hear the segment here.

I’d like to thank Dylan the Executive Producer of Sly in the Morning.  He converted the recording of my encounter with the guard into a WAV file and tweaked the volume so it’s easier to hear.  You can find it here.

I’ve also received a follow up letter from Representative Baldwin’s office.

GSA to Baldwin It seems that the GSA is not responsible for the security of federal courthouses, that task belongs to the Department of Homeland Security.  So Ralph Conner, Acting Associate Administrator of the GSA has forwarded my letter to Phillip McNamara, Executive Secretary of DHS.

GSA to Homeland Security And lastly I received a copy of a letter sent by Senator Russ Feingold to Chani Wiggins, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, who is also with the Department of Homeland Security.

Feingold to Homeland Security I particularly like the Senators letter for phrases such as “street view photographs” and a request for a “response detailing any restrictions on the photographing of federal buildings”.

One interesting piece of trivia I found when researching the Department of Homeland Security was this organizational chart.

Homeland-security-orgchart-2008-07-17 It appears that Mr. McNamara is only two steps away from the Secretary of Homeland Security, and Ms. Wiggins is only one step away.  Since the Secretary of Homeland Security reports directly to the President I can’t go much higher.

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Story in the Isthmus

September 16th, 2010

The story of my experience at the Kastenmeier Courthouse has gone mainstream.  There is an article in this weeks Isthmus, a weekly local paper here in Madison, WI.

Much of the story is taken from my blog and an interview I did with reporter Bill Lueders.  However, Lueders was able to talk with Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Kirk Papenthien.

Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Kirk Papenthien notes that many people photograph Madison’s federal courthouse, with its distinctive steel-blue façade and whimsical touch of red neon. Not all are asked who they are and what they’re doing. (Isthmus wasn’t, in taking the photo that accompanies this story.)

But Papenthien says some picture-takers trigger inquiries, "to let people know there is a security presence." He admits people can come after hours and other times the building is closed without this occurring.

But if taking photos of the courthouse is allowed, why did the guard tell Zytkiewicz to stop taking pictures and threaten to summon police? Papenthien, who’s read the blog account, says, "I have no knowledge as to whether that is an accurate transcript." And even if it were (it is — Isthmus heard the recording), Papenthien isn’t saying the guard overstepped because "I have no knowledge what he [Zytkiewicz] was taking pictures of."

Interesting quotes I would say.  How many people don’t know there’s a security presence at a federal courthouse?  You can see the guards and metal detector while standing on the sidewalk across the street through the large clear glass front entrance.SONY DSC And there’s at least 8 security cameras.  They’re not little either, those are about twelve inches long.SONY DSC And after hours this won’t happen?  Really?  So Saturday’s the court is in session?  Cause that’s when another photographer was stopped and questioned.  And that was back in 2007.

And if you’re that concerned about security why only question people during business hours?  Do terrorists only work during business hours?  And then to come out and say it in the paper, almost inviting people with malicious intent to come out at night, you won’t be questioned.

And then he questions my accuracy while seemingly defending the guard while protecting his own ass.  Saying he has “no knowledge” of what I was taking pictures of.  With all those security cameras they no exactly where I walked and where I pointed my lens.  Is there no communication going on among security personnel at the courthouse?  You would think that if i was deemed a threat they would have a record of it somewhere. 

So would you like to see the pictures I took Deputy U.S. Marshall Kirk Papenthien?  Can you tell me exactly what type of pictures would allow a guard to tell me “Don’t take one of the building.” and “ I’ll get a hold of Madison PD they’ll come and talk to you.”?  Is there some part of that building, a building which is set right along a public sidewalk, a building that anyone can walk up to and touch, a building set in the heart of Wisconsin’s capital city, a building next to a parking garage that holds over 600 cars, a building that is seen by hundreds, possibly thousands of people each day, is there some part of THAT building that is so important, that a picture of it is a security threat.  Tell me Deputy U.S. Marshall Kirk Papenthien, what part of the building would that be?


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September 16th, 2010

Lyjya is a new model here in Madison.  She contacted me on ModelMayhem

Lyjya_DSC0603 Lyjya_DSC0603bw Lyjya_DSC0611

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Lyjya_DSC0659 Lyjya_DSC0659bw Lyjya_DSC0660  Lyjya_DSC0660bw Lyjya_DSC0666 Lyjya_DSC0666bw Lyjya_DSC0669 Lyjya_DSC0669bw Lyjya_DSC0675Lyjya_DSC0675bw Lyjya_DSC0682 Lyjya_DSC0682bw Lyjya_DSC0684 Lyjya_DSC0684bw Lyjya_DSC0686 Lyjya_DSC0686bw Lyjya_DSC0711 Lyjya_DSC0711bw Lyjya_DSC0724 Lyjya_DSC0724bw

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Liz and Mike

September 16th, 2010

Liz and Mike contacted me through Craigslist about wanting some pictures.  They were looking for something intimate and romantic, and had never posed before.  We started out in one of the balconies overlooking the Capitol Rotunda.

Liz_Mike_DSC9871 Liz_Mike_DSC9871bw Then we moved into one of the upper floor hallways near the elevator

Liz_Mike_DSC9940Liz_Mike_DSC9940bw Liz_Mike_DSC9945Liz_Mike_DSC9945bw

Then I changed the lighting so that they were backlit.  These almost silhouettes really capture the feelings they share.

  Liz_Mike_DSC9951 Liz_Mike_DSC9951bwLiz_Mike_DSC9960 Liz_Mike_DSC9960bw Liz_Mike_DSC9963 Liz_Mike_DSC9963bw The Capitol was closing as we shot these last few so we headed to Edgewood Drive.  Edgewood Drive follows the shore of Lake Wingra from Vilas Park to the opposite side of Edgewood College.  Though I’ve been to the area many times (I drove through Vilas Park daily when I worked on Part Street) I had never explored this path.  It’s definitely a place I’ll be returning to.  If for no other reason than pictures like the ones below.

Liz_Mike_DSC0049 Liz_Mike_DSC0049bwIn the spirit of full disclosure, we did cheat a little.  The leaves weren’t actually falling, Liz and Mike through them in the air, then quickly embraced.

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Update on my experience at the courthouse

September 16th, 2010

If you haven’t read it check out my previous post on my experience at the Robert W. Kastenmeier United States Courthouse.

About a week after that post I sent out letters to Senator Kohl and Senator Feingold, and Representative Baldwin.  I also sent letters to Judge Crabb, Judge Shabaz, and Magistrate Judge Crocker of the Western District of Wisconsin.  I also sent a letter to Representative Norton of Washington, D.C.  because she has held congressional hearings on photographer harassment.  So far I have received three replies.

In the letter I detailed my experience at the courthouse on October 7th in much the same way as I blogged about it, though without accompanying pictures.  At the end of the letter I added four questions.

First, why was I even approached? Everything I saw and photographed that day is visible from the public sidewalk that surrounds the courthouse. Is it the policy of the federal government, this particular building, or an overzealous guard to approach every photographer?

Second, why is a federal employee telling me I cannot take pictures of the building because of “security procedures”? The only federal laws that I know of that actually prohibit photography relate to classified items on military bases and facilities that have nuclear material under the control of the US Department of Energy. Even the GSA’s own rules which are posted in the lobby of the courthouse Title 41 CFR 102-74.420 doesn’t prohibit photography but requires the permission of whichever federal agency is concerned. Also 41 CFR 102-74.420 only apply to those persons “in or on Federal property”.

Third, why was I threatened at the end of our conversation? And I do consider it a threat when I’m told the police will be called because I’m doing something that someone doesn’t like. If I was breaking a law why wasn’t I held, prevented from leaving until the police arrived?

Fourth, is the Robert W. Kastenmeier United States Courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin a more sensitive and potentially threatened location than the Wisconsin Capitol building? After all I was allowed to move freely throughout the Capitol, but was stopped and questioned merely for being outside of the courthouse.

As of today I have received three responses.

First reply

The first was from Senator Kohl.

SenatorKohlClick the picture to see it full size.  He really doesn’t say much, just that he has

…taken the liberty of forwarding your concerns… 

Second Reply

A few days after that I received an envelope from the Judges Chambers at the courthouse.  Unfortunately it was stamped RECEIVED WITHOUT CONTENTS.

JudgesChambersEmpty Since I didn’t know who actually sent me the letter I sent a letter back to the return address, with a copy of the envelope, asking them to resend.  They did and I received this two page letter from Judge Crabb.

JudgeCrabb1JudgeCrabb2 Again, click the image to see it full size.

She brings up a few points.  I agree that courthouses can be “volatile”.  Though I never wanted to, attempted to, or mentioned entering the building at anytime, so I’m not sure why she weapons screening. 

The first sentence of her third paragraph starts

Photographing the building is perfectly acceptable

which is true.  And I’ll be sure to carry a copy of this letter with me if I ever take pictures near the courthouse again.  It certainly refutes what the guard said about not taking pictures of the building because of “security procedures”.

However, the rest of the paragraph is not so nice.

,but you or anyone else who takes pictures of the building can expect to be asked politely by a court security officer about what you are doing.  This is an unfortunate result of greater public safety concerns since 9/11, concerns that have only intensified since the recent discovery of at least two plots to blow up federal courthouses.

First, “politely”?  That guard was not polite.  Polite would be “Excuse me.”  Not “Hey, hey, hey”.  Polite would be introducing yourself, stating your name and position, instead of just assuming I’m going to do what you say because you’re in a uniform.  Perhaps stating the reason you’re approaching me, instead of beginning an immediate interrogation.  And a polite person definitely doesn’t threaten.

Apparently Judge Crabb believes that while taking pictures of the courthouse is “perfectly acceptable” it is also suspicious and grounds for questioning.  The Judge seems to be unaware that terrorists (real ones, not movie ones) don’t use photography.  The 9/11 terrorists did not take pictures.  Neither did Timothy McVeigh when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building.

And in her third paragraph she compares my experience to her experience at an airport.  I just don’t buy that analogy.  Airports and airplanes are private property.  While they are open to the public the owners are free to set any requirements they wish.  An airline could require you to do the Hokey Pokey before you board their plane and it would be perfectly legal.  I was on a public sidewalk.

Third Reply

The final reply I received so far was from Representative Baldwin.

 RepBaldwin BaldwinConner

She has faxed my letter to the acting administrator of the Government Services Administration and asked him to:

…address Mr. Zytkiewicz’s four main concerns as outlined on page three of his letter.

So that’s my update.  I’ll let you know when I receive any more letters.

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Migration complete

September 6th, 2010

My migration from my old servers to the new one is complete.  Unfortunately I didn’t save the most recent copy of the database so it appears I may have lost all my posts after October of last year.  I think I may be able to repost some of them using the local copies from my desktop blogging software.  I’m pretty sure that some of them were created before I started using that software so those are probably gone for good.

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