April 17, 2008

Cafe Divine


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

On weekends in San Francisco, one of the better spots to visit is the area around Washington Square.   You can fall-by Peter and Paul's Church to confess your sins, go a half-block up the street to Mama's Restaurant and sit outside and sip your cappachino and munch on pastry, or wander through Washington Square and watch the Asian Americans going through their methodical Tai-Chi routines.   And after all is said and done, you can gaze up into the antique windows of Cafe Divine and think of the past...

But under NO circumstances should you take your camera one block over to Green Street.   If you do, you are likely to have an unpleasant encounter with the bartender of Columbus Cafe -- a dive -- who will come running out and demand to see your photography permit.   If you are unable to produce one, and even though you kindly try to explain that you are only photographing for-fun, he will tell you that that doesn't matter -- and will proceed to try to confiscate your camera.   He is not a very nice man, and that description is being kind...   Yes, that happened to me about two years ago -- but I pulled a swift one on him and returned early one morning and snapped a photo of his funky establishment from the window of my car -- ready to make a quick escape if he came running out to harass me again...



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10 comments:

photowannabe said...

I love these antique windows. They have so much character.
The "Dive" owner doesn't sound like a nice guy. I think I will stay away from there.

photowannabe said...

Don, I haven't been to your Duo sight for a week or so....wow, those are fabulous pictures. You need to do a gallery showing sometime. Quality all the way.
Sue

AphotoAday said...

Thanks a lot for the compliments Photowannabe-Sue... I shouldn't be fishing for compliments out here, but they certainly are encouraging.   And am glad you enjoy the Daily Duo, I think it's my favorite -- gives me something to do with my "left-over" shots...

Tomate Farcie said...

I love the window. I was just waiting for the story to go with it, to say it, and I was not disappointed!

Now I don't understand. I thought in the US anything you photograph in the street or in a public building (in general, I know there are exceptions - banks, museums, etc.) is fair game? I guess there is a distinction between photographing and broadcasting and publishing, though. Any thoughts?

Tomate Farcie said...

By the way, the daily duo is fantastic! I've been enjoying it quietly for a very long time.

Texas Travelers said...

I love the windows. I thought about sending an e-mail last night to find out what they were.

I still like this blog best, but the duo is great too and the big site is fantastic. I still like the personal touch of this page though.

Have a great weekend.
Troy

AphotoAday said...

Hey Tomate Farcie,

Wanted to let you know that I've always felt the same way that you do -- that I can shoot pretty much anything I can see as long as it is in a public area, but I think the rules changed somewhat after 9-11, and I'm still not clear what they are.   I do know one thing -- I got told to move along one day while shooting the flags outside the BofA Headquarters -- for god sakes, I thought, I can't even shoot a photo of "their" darned flags...   How silly... Just down the street from there another security guard was getting ready to pounce on me if I even as much as pointed my camera in his direction. I'm sure they saw me coming on their sidewalk security camera.

But of course the bartender from the Columbus Cafe was entirely out of line -- there is no such thing as a permit for photography unless you are Hollywood or something, and want to stop traffic and all that stuff.   I think City Hall has a Film Relations Department just to take care of such things, but I really doubt if that sort of permit is needed for a regular photographer, amateur or professional.   With the bartender I had to realize that, there it was, early on January 1, 2006, and he had probably not gotten any sleep the previous night -- god knows what he was strung out on, but it did really bother me.   Some of his "goons" were standing around on the next corner up from his bar, and they were all scratching their heads wondering what was going on between us...   Had a fight ensued, I'm sure they would have been all over me in seconds...   When I got home I did a bit of Googling about the Columbus Cafe and realized that from the various bar reviews I read, the guy is a "nut-case" -- and he apparantly gets his jollies by regularly throwing patrons out of his bar for the slightest amount of bad behavior.

Anyway, like Paul Harvey used to say (or still does, for all I know) -- "now you know the rest of the story"...

Tomate Farcie said...

Oh, OK! I brought it up because there was some debate on another blog a few months ago (at Eric's Paris Daily Photo), after he shot a picture of a homeless man in the street drinking out of a champagne glass. Some commenters said "you can't publish it", others say "it's out in the street, fair game" so it appeared to me be more of a moral issue than a legal issue, but what do I know.

The security guards at the B of A building are *always* on the prowl for people with cameras. I should know! They've stopped me a couple of times when I tried to photograph not only the flags, but also the Summer Jazz sessions they were doing outside on the plazza back then. I did manage to get the Easter flower display they had inside a couple of weeks ago, but someone was all over me within seconds. You're right, it has a lot to do with 9/11. I shoot with amateur equipment and my camera is really no threat to that building or any other building, but I guess they have their instructions to follow... who can blame them.

Hey, thanks for taking the time to post back!

Marvin said...

I'm glad you went back and got the shot, Don. It's a great one.

The situation with photography after 9-11 has gotten really crazy and paranoid. I mean, if someone is up to no good and want a photo, there are plenty of ways he can get it. I'm glad I take mostly nature photos and stay away from urban settings. The bugs and flowers don't care who's taking photographs.

(BTW: I like this blog best because I can load it okay with my super slow dialup connection.)

Plug1 said...

if you are not on their property, like say 1 foot off the curb -- eff em.

 
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