] ] The Reader recounts the experience of photojournalist
] ] Warren Wimmer's attempts to photograph Anish Kapoor's
] ] sculpture, Cloud Gate (more commonly known as "the
] ] Bean"). When Wimmer set up his tripod and camera to shoot
] ] the sculpture, security guards stopped him, demanding
] ] that they show him a permit. Wimmer protested, replying
] ] that it's absurd that one needs to pay for a permit to
] ] photograph public art in a city-owned park.
This struck a chord with me, because I'm having a problem with a different public sculpture.
When sculptor Sanborn installed the Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters, he also installed several related pieces around the entrance to the New Headquarters Building. One of them has an engraved compass rose, and others have morse code messages upon them. We believe that these pieces have something to do with the code on the "wavy screen" portion of the sculpture.
I have been working *really* hard to obtain photos of these additional pieces. To date, the only close up images we have are from the personal collection of Jim Gillogly, but even in those few pictures, we can't fully see some of the pieces.
I have tried working through the CIA's Media Relations and Public Affairs offices, and have gotten repeatedly rebuffed. I've asked (very politely) how I can go about requesting images of those sculptures. I've gotten replies back saying that I'm allowed to use any images from the CIA website that I want. I reply that those sculptures aren't on the website, and I repeat my request of how I can go about requesting images of the unphotographed sculptures. This goes back and forth a bit, and then I get no reply.
I've also written to the Smithsonian Archive, and the General Services Administration. They're eager to help with any images that they already have, but don't know of any way (so they tell me) to request new ones.
I've tried other government agencies, and my congressional representatives, but to date have gotten zero reply from any of them.
In my opinion, those sculptures were paid for by public money, and are installed in an outdoor setting on government property, and the public has, at the least, the right to see photographic images of the sculptures. To date though, I've been unable to obtain images. I don't even want them for commercial purposes -- these images are being requested for a volunteer-run website, for public information only (I also toss in the fact that I'm a veteran, but that hasn't helped either).
I wish that I had enough contacts in Washington that I could find *someone* who could just pick up the phone and call someone at CIA and say, "Hey, can you find someone with a digital cam and go out on the front lawn and take a couple snaps of those rocks?" But to date, nada.
I haven't given up yet. But my frustration level is rising . . .