From their website: “King’s Cross is London's new creative quarter”
I know. If you’re a creative it’ll make you spill your coffee.
Creatives and in particular photographers aren’t welcome in King's Cross as I found out.
I’m not talking about all photographers. No, I know very well that many street photographers don’t have issues there, well it’s their thing isn’t it, not getting noticed.
But if you take a tripod out or carry a big Canon camera, anything which makes you look like a pro to the untrained security guy… Then trouble awaits.
So two years ago I had a heated discussion with a security guard there who insisted I wasn’t allowed to take photos for whatever reason he felt was fit. (I wrote an article, read it here).
King’s Cross actually apologised saying the guy was being overzealous and shouldn’t have bothered me.
It’s still happening sadly.
King’s Cross here’s your little PR and Marketing lesson from a guy you don’t know but read it please.
See, these days many photographers are social media and marketing experts.
Most have large engaged followings that are way above your average social media account.
And photographers take beautiful photos, which you normally pay for!
Now if King’s Cross have done their maths and can add 1 + 1, they may now realise that actually photographers are their free marketing ally.
Yes, photographers take beautiful photos of your location / area that is being redeveloped.
They post this to their London based followers and other followers who may one day be tourists in our city.
Can you see where I'm going? What’s the benefit here?
Oh King’s Cross do I need to spell it out???
Free publicity. Yes that’s right, it attracts visitors. Duh.
Below is a photo I shot on Saturday of a security guy, nearly where I got stopped 2 years ago.
He was stopping a hen do shoot. I’m not joking, I wish I was.
Again King’s Cross you are missing a trick.
Don’t you think hen party photos will make other hens want to come spend their money in King’s Cross cause it’s so freaking cool?
Well nope… As King’s Cross doesn’t welcome Hens either it seems.
The photographer was foreign and he told me “I’ve never seen this anywhere else in the world”, bet he won’t be back or recommend the place.
Other companies realise the free marketing potential of influential photographers, even if not influential.
I’m invited this November to China by the local tourism board… I get a free holiday, but they get beautiful photos shared to my 95,000 followers.
I was invited recently by the South Tyrol tourism office to review a healthy mountain holiday, and the list goes on.
But just keep doing what you’re doing London and King’s Cross and all other private public spaces.
Make people feel non-welcomed, fine, there’s plenty of other places for them to go.
But someone up in your upper management should be horrified at how you're driving business away.
You eventually turn people who love your place for its beauty and want to capture it into quite the opposite, people who never want to visit again.
Personally this is one of the reasons I am leaving London after 17 years, a city I love but where I increasingly don’t feel very welcome as a photographer.
If you too have been subjected to this type of treatment, in King's Cross or anywhere else in London, please contact me as I am looking for similar accounts to share.