40 years of Kroll model releases
Officer Rice was called in as back-up for officer Sloan towards evening March 11, 2017.
I was approached by Sheriff Sloan from inside my `corner’ Bashas at Kolb and Sunrise near Sabino Canyon. There was a report that I was photographing girls. I told her I wasn’t and showed her the last shot on my Leica M9 camera which was of two file boxes of model releases taken hours earlier in my kitchen. My newly hired assistant, Shawna, had organized the releases by date, which had taken several hours. More than 35 years worth of dated model releases! I had had models sign releases since the mid seventies up through yesterday. Suspicious- not believing my word, Officer Sloan asked to see more images on my camera so I scrolled further back showing her shots I had taken of my platinum blonde friendTatum the day before. Officer Sloan asked her age and I told her 22 years old and that I had her signed model release back at my house. The officer proceeded to scroll through the entire set of over 100 images..not a single one taken at Bashas’.
The Pima country officer told me the management had told her to have me escorted off the property for photographing women!
Less than an hour earlier I had been sitting against the outside wall of Bashas reading the New York Times from yesterday. I noticed the Bashas’ platinum blonde adult female worker I had done a portrait of, months earlier. I wanted her to see what I had shot of Tatum
Tatum in rubber at the de Grazia
which was still in my camera and approached her. She was being directed by one of her superior’s to go clean up a mess. I waited for her co-worker to disappear then approached the platinum blonde and showed her a portrait of Tatum which she acknowledged then I walked back to my table.
Two young men in matching blue shirts came over and sat nearby and wanted to talk. (strange) One asked what I did and I said, without raising my head, I photographed women. The other one made a snide remark and I fired something equally snide back at him. He implied that what I was doing was wrong then told me he was a modern day Jesus. He then suggested I leave Bashas. Incredulous, I refused. The other guy said he drove an ambulance and saved people’s lives. I told the two civilians I wasn’t leaving.
Ten minutes later officer Sloan (badge #7840) approached me. She told, misspelling Bashas (Bashe’s), that Tom the manager had ordered me off the premises and gave me my case number #170312220, written on her card. Fortunately I had been on the phone with my artist friend Gail and she heard the entire incredible exchange with Sloan as I left the phone on and put it on a table between me and the officer. Later, Gail said it sounded like a scene from George Orwell’s 1984.
Sloan made it sound like I had to defend myself and I pointed out I thought in America one is innocent until proven guilty. She had seen every image in my camera and knew the accusation that I had photographed a woman on premises was untrue. It didn’t matter, she had Rice follow me to my car while she got the case number.
A similar situation had occurred at the Whole Foods store at River and Craycroft years ago.
I work on my photos in public areas where there is internet because I choose not to have internet at my house. Often what I work on involves adult erotica.
Helmut Lang, the popular clothing company, has just asked me to work with them as they have done with previous artists Robert Mapplethorpe, Louise Bouregoise and Jenny Holzer. They want to make 1000 posters of 3 of my images promoting our collaboration.
Jocko Weyland from Tucson MOCA recently chose one of my photos for a group show at the museum. Tucson Weekly did a cover story on my photographs in the May 2016 issue written by Brian Smith.
I don’t flaunt my images when I use the internet in public places. My screen and the images on the screen, are not visible to anyone.
I remind myself of Lenny Bruce at the end of his life when he would rant and rave and write about how the police harassed his niteclub act.
The freedoms of expression are being squished by the same general paranoia that is dampening the world. The police state is either here or coming. Robert Frank could not make his fine book, the Americans (1958), today. Anyone that knows me will attest that I am interested in recording all peoples of visual interest (I have a degree from the University of Colorado in cultural anthropology). Man or woman. I am attacked and attacked again.
I remind myself of Lenny Bruce at the end of his life when he would rant and rave and write about how the police harass him.
Stupidity and ignorance are winning out. If cancer doesn’t get one then narrow mindedness will. I’m no angel but neither am I Satan. I photograph adult women in a modern day fashion (my TASCHEN book, Fetish Girls, has sold over 250,000 copies world wide). I am NOT a child pornographer photographing children. I have two grown children, Leah and Willa. I co-raised them in San Francisco. I make photographs of people.