July 9, 2010 at 12:47 am #1909
I stopped off tonight on my way home from work to take in the sunset. The light was rather nice on the buildings, so I break out the camera for some architecture shots. I fiddling with the exposure, haven’t even raised the camera to my eye when this guy stops in front of me and say’s “How would like me to take a picture of you?” I replied “Sure” not thinking much of it. The guy, who was out jogging turns like five shades of red and starts snarling profanities at me, I really think he would have swung on me but I had six inches in height and at least a hundred pounds on the guy. I just stood there looking at the guy, I had no idea what he was so pissed about. It wasn’t until he jogged off that I realized he thought I had taken his photograph. I hadn’t, indeed the lens was never even pointed toward him, he saw the camera and assumed that I was taking his photo.
If I HAD taken his photo, I could’ve actually dealt with the situation. At least I could offer to delete it, I probably could have even deruffled his feathers about the whole thing. I hadn’t actually even seen the guy at all, much less shot his pic.
Seriously, WTF is the issue with people and cameras these days? I don’t remember it being like this back when I was younger. Do people really think photographers are some sort of pervy enemy? I reluctantly understand people with their kids, it is a sick world. I actively avoid even the appearance of photographing kids without the parent’s permission. This was a public street, this guy was jogging, what did he think I was doing? Anyone ever dealt with a similar situation? Anyone ever actually GET into a fight? I hope he steams about his fictional photograph all night, indeed, I hope I ruined his night. He sure ruined mine.
The sad thing was, if this guy would’ve swung on me, he would’ve kick my ass, he was in good shape.July 9, 2010 at 1:03 am #30772KestranaParticipant
I have seen people in the state/local parks here eying me nervously when I have my camera. Because my 60mm macro lens is great for telephoto portraiture. Ironically, the place I was taking pictures of randoms was at the beach and no one gave a crap there where there was much more potential for unflattering and pervy photography. *shrug*
Sorry to hear your story, it would have ruined my day too. Maybe people are just more worried about privacy now and photographs aren’t the novelty they once were.July 9, 2010 at 1:31 am #30773orionidParticipant
As I’ve mentioned before, I tend not to photograph strangers for fear of that very situation. As it turns out, all of my friction from taking photos has come from authority figures. And those, it seems, the lower they are on the totem pole (mall cops / rent-a-pigs), the more indignant they seem to be. The worst I ever got from a state trooper was “you really shouldn’t get out of your vehicle on the highway.”July 9, 2010 at 1:56 am #30774linguineParticipant
Did you point out to them that they should be nice to you because you just stole part of their soul by taking a photo of them and that you could do whatever you wanted to it.July 9, 2010 at 2:20 am #30775lokisbongParticipant
I guess I am lucky to live in a tourist town. the worst reaction I tend to get is people apologizing for getting in my shot. A grumpy look or 2 maybe but never any actual hostility. If I am taking pictures of strangers I tend to make it look like I am taking their picture too. If I try to be sneaky the shot usually misses the target completely. That sucks you got the asshole type reaction.July 9, 2010 at 2:35 am #30776LeicaLensParticipant
I live in Japan, where people aren’t generally too bothered about being photographed; in fact, most people are happy to pose, and seem to prefer that to sneaky shots.
Britain is a bit different, and I think the negative attitude towards photographers and photography is relatively recent. I am not sure whether it comes from “He must be a pervert” (I am, of course) or some sort of expectation of privacy in public. Odd really, when you consider the excessive number of CCTV cameras in the UK now. I think the internet is partly to blame. People may be concerned that their photo will be splashed across the internet in some way, which is sort of a valid concern.
But the guy ennuipoet encountered just sounded like a right wanker.July 9, 2010 at 11:57 am #30777
I live in a immigrant neighborhood, the majority of my neighbors are Dominican. They speak primarily Spanish and have little love for the white folks gentrifying their neighborhood and driving the rents up. (This is a real problem in NYC, and it is driving the real estate market. It only takes a few years for the landlords to start actively pricing the working poor ethnic families out of an area and charging more to young, predominantly white professionals who displace the older residents.) I understand their displeasure with some big white guy taking photographs and have learned to work carefully when I do shoot in my neighborhood. My guy (another white guy) had absolutely no reason to think that I was photographing him. I had a short telephoto on the camera, I had not even raised the camera to my eye and this guy just jumped to the conclusion that I was there to photograph him. He wasn’t reacting to my behavior, he was reacting to the camera itself.
I seriously wonder if this is not some sort of latent reaction to attitudes about the press/media, the obnoxious behavior of the paparazzi and television crews. The reaction seems to occur entirely toward “professional” cameras. If I stood on the street with a point and shoot, I don’t think I would see the same reaction. Same thing with the security types orionid mentioned, they only seem to react to the SLR cameras. When I walk around with one of my TLR’s I get universally positive reactions, people ask what kind of camera it is, tell me how cool it looks and lack the defensive stance I see when my Canon hangs around my neck.
I don’t have an answer to this, I just know I don’t like it.July 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm #30778staplermofoParticipant
I’ve had a lot of negative responses to being a guy with a camera.
The worst altercation I can remember is being shrieked at, pushed and ineffectually flailed at by some wacky lady and vaguely threatened by her supportive but probably embarrassed guy.
People have generalized fears in desperate want of focus, and if you look like a safe target they’ll pick you.
If you do anything involving an unfiltered group of people you’re going to get some awful interactions.
I can’t say I’ve had a better average experience with getting info from my insurance representatives, getting take-out food workers to get my order right, drive through guys to hand me a soda without soda dripping down the sides, or anything else of the like. Don’t take it personally as a photographer, people hate everyone.July 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm #30779July 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm #30780July 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm #30781July 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm #30782
Wow! Finally a use for the vuvuzela button 😛
“I am tired of you photographers taking pictures to use against people”.
Well, that explains everything! All of this time I’ve been using my photography against people. I am sincerely sorry, I shall place my cameras in the trash and never photograph again.
🙁July 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm #30783LeicaLensParticipant
The reaction seems to occur entirely toward “professional” cameras. If I stood on the street with a point and shoot, I don’t think I would see the same reaction. Same thing with the security types
I think there’s a lot of truth of in that. I read somewhere (maybe here), how people react differently to a big, modern AF zoom compared to an old-style, small MF lens. People don’t like having a bazooka pointed at them. I could take a photo on the street using my OM film camera with a small 135mm prime and no one would look twice. Take the same pic with a modern DSLR and (bigger) mid-range zoom, and people take notice of you. The bigger the camera, the more the reaction.
Seriously, if you want to do street photography, take something like a small digital compact. Everyone will just think you are a snap-happy tourist.July 10, 2010 at 1:34 am #30784
Seriously, if you want to do street photography, take something like a small digital compact. Everyone will just think you are a snap-happy tourist.
I’ve done well with my Yashica, though a lot of people do LOOK at the camera and ask about it, they don’t react like they do the Canon. I don’t even own a PnS anymore (except for an ancient Kodak which I am not sure even works).
I guess it just kind hurts to think of people shunning an art form over a misconception. If I pulled an easel out and started sketching people, I bet people wouldn’t want to punch me out. Of course, this is NYC, maybe they would! 😀
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.