Hey, Simon Blint! Thomas Hawk is no pervert

by Karoli on August 11, 2008 · 17 comments

I can’t even believe I wrote that title. Honest to God, I can’t. Never in a hundred million years could I have imagined that I would be writing a blog post protesting (vehemently) the characterization of Thomas as some kind of upskirting downshirting whacko photographer type.

But I am. Last Friday, for some unintelligbly inexplicable reason, Thomas was tossed from the San Francisco MOMA by Simon Blint, director of Visitor Relations, after taking photographs in an area where non-flash photography was expressly allowed.

There wasn’t much conversation. There was certainly no reasonable discussion. According to this so-called “director”, Hawk’s 14mm ultra wide-angle lens was a “telephoto” lens that Thomas was using to shoot photos from the 2nd floor looking down; specifically, down the blouse of a female employee wearing a low-cut blouse.

Thomas writes in a follow-up post:

One allegation that has been raised is that Blint threw me out because he felt that I was shooting down a low cut blouse of one of his employees sitting in the atrium below where I was shooting. The photo above is a photo that I snapped of Blint as he was publicly admonishing me from the floor, that’s him with his arms crossed there — he’s about the size of an ant in the photo. As you will see, the female employee in question also appears in the photograph (the ticket taker next to Blint). She is not wearing a low cut blouse. In fact she’s wearing some sort of a yellowish/orangish sweater or jacket sort of thing — she’s sort of hard to see as a 14mm lens makes people look super far away. Her arms, shoulders, in fact every visible area of her except her hands are completely covered in clothing.

I have never heard anything more absurd in my life. As one who has had the fun of doing a photowalk with the guy in Santa Monica along with many others, I can attest only to this: Thomas Hawk is one of the finest photographers and artists that I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting, and he would be free and welcome to take my photo from two inches away or two stories up. I absolutely trust his artistic sense and sensitivity with his camera. In fact, I’d be honored if he did it. I’d even let him keep his $2.

Because seriously, the man has an eye like no one I’ve ever seen. One hour watching him is worth 10 figuring it out on my own. Not only should he have not been ejected, his work should be hanging in the SF MOMA.

Oh, by the way, here’s an example of the type of photo he was taking:

Simon Blint, Director of Visitor Relations at the SFMOMA is an Asshole

And here’s Simon Blint, in high dudgeon upon being informed that the entire incident would be blogged:

Simon Blint, Director of Visitor Relations at the SFMOMA is an Asshole, Plate 2

For the life of me, I cannot understand why a man with such a lack of gift for managing visitors and visitor issues has been placed in a position of authority over visitors. It boggles the mind. The guy has no clue when it comes to photography for sure, because anyone who would mistake an ultra-high wide angle lens for a telephoto probably relies on his cell phone for any pictures he takes. I could even forgive that, but to simply refuse to hear the other side and forcibly eject Thomas for an utterly bogus, trumped-up charge uttered in the heat of a hissy fit? Unbelieveable.

I count myself lucky to be the beneficiary of his lens, even in shadow. (Did I mention that this shot is in his fav10 set?)

Karoli at the Beach

Simon maybe doesn’t feel the same way. That’s his problem. If the SF MOMA has any sense at all, they will require Blint to make a formal, written apology to Thomas, retracting all suggestion of impropriety or misbehavior, and then should immediately reassign Simon away from the public to garbage management.

What a frickin’ putz.

(Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk)

  • http://thomashawk.com thomashawk

    Thank you Karoli!

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    My pleasure. Can't believe I missed the whole thing when it came down on friday and saturday. What a stupid guy he is.

  • Pingback: No pictures, please. | MetaFilter

  • Nancy

    This is the most pathetic ass-kiss I've ever read. You're an embarrassment to thinking people everywhere. When you finally get around to removing your tongue from TH's crack, and actually think for a moment about how unethically disgusting it is to keep reprinting the man's picture, based on one fuck's editorial version of who roughed him up one day (ps, read the rest of his blog, idiot. He somehow gets roughed up everywhere he goes. And what's the common factor? HIM!), I hope you go home, bang your head against your toilet, and apologize to the world for ever putting words on paper.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    Hey Nancy,

    Nice to meet you too.

  • Simon Read

    Karoli . . . you're simply making the situation worse. Blint has already received more than 100 e-mails threatening physical violence. His home address has been posted on several websites, and now he can't go home. Regardless of what you might think, there are always two sides to every story.

    As I've said before, there is a human and social responsibility that comes with blogging. What if, in the course of doing your job, someone decided to post your picture online under the slur “a**hole,” post where you work and your home address. What if this was a loved one of yours, one of your your kids, being outed in this fashion? Would you still be so gung-ho?

    Yes, I am a friend of Blint's . . . and I'm asking you to please think twice before posting.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    Simon Read,

    I appreciate your tone and transparency. Thank you for not coming and
    just lighting the fire.

    I don't wish physical violence on Blint. Really, I think that's
    incredibly over the top. At the same time, I've read a lot of comments
    elsewhere, including some last night where his supporters were making
    efforts to reveal Thomas' identity, which I view as an amazing
    violation (in many ways worse than the threat of physical violence),
    given that he has clearly stated his reasons for not wanting it
    revealed.

    Whether I wrote this post or not, the circumstances would be the same.
    Blint was told up front in the course of the discussion that if he
    would not listen to reason then, Hawk would have no option but to blog
    it. And he did. Not only did he blog it, he came back the next day
    with a more thoughtful reaction and retraction of some of the more
    inflammatory terms.

    You say Blint can't go home. Imagine Hawk and his family dealing with
    folks like the person above you, who felt absolutely no compunction
    about smearing my motives, reasons and arguments for why I wrote what
    I did. Multiply that by the same number that are making threats toward
    Simon and what you have is a clusterfuck. But it's not the blogging
    that created it; it's the whole sad situation, and the supporters on
    both sides who can't seem to be reasonable. All I said was that Simon
    should admit he was wrong and apologize. I called for no other action
    than action from him. I didn't post his home address or phone number,
    didn't link to his LInkedIn or Facebook profile. Just posted the
    picture, and used the term “putz” rather than 'asshole', which I
    suppose is marginally better.

    I would argue that I wrote about this responsibly, but passionately.
    I am writing about someone I know personally, have spent time with,
    and yes, admire. Shoot me for that as nancyd did, but the man is an
    artist, like it or not.

    Seems to me that rather than doing a replay of Russia/Georgia here, it
    might be worth having Simon consider the idea that maybe he jumped to
    an unfair conclusion and tell folks he was mistaken. That would at
    least open the door for some reasonable discourse.

  • foo

    How can you claim to write this responsibly when only one side of the story has been told so far. Instead you come off as a lynch mob follower.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    The story is corroborated by witnesses. And lynch mobs usually aren't after apologies, preferring far more dire consequences.

  • TheScribe
  • TheScribe
  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    I guess they chose not to pay attention to the images either. That's too bad.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    I guess they chose not to pay attention to the images either. That's too bad.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    I guess they chose not to pay attention to the images either. That's too bad.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    The story is corroborated by witnesses. And lynch mobs usually aren't after apologies, preferring far more dire consequences.

  • TheScribe
  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    I guess they chose not to pay attention to the images either. That's too bad.

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