What are you doing?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by amac212, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    Anyone else out there get asked that question?

    I’m guessing that it’s got to be the film gear, the waist level viewing, the light meter – whatever- that generates the question. I just realized that I get asked that almost every time I’m shooting. In my head, I’m usually thinking… what do you mean ‘what am I doing?’?? But usually I kindly tell the curious that I’m taking a picture.

    On more than several occasions I’ve gotten the same follow up question: ‘but are ya taking movies?’.

    While shooting at an arboretum last night, a woman came up to me and said "where are you going to put that?". A bit confused I thought she meant the tripod, but she went on to ask 'no, where are you putting the picture - in a magazine?'

    No, I just do this because it makes me happy. :smile:
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I was taking a photo of a plumbing shop on a back street one morning when one of the employees rushed out and asked what I was doing, when I told him he asked if it was going to be in the paper. I told him no, at which point he looked puzzled and asked "why the hell ya takin it for then" ---- I just smiled and replied "cause it makes me happy to take photos, and keeps me outta the barrooms". His response was "aint nuttin keeps me outta bars 'cept work" . I made a mental note to never use that plumbing company--ever.
     
  3. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    Now that you mention it, I do get lots of questions about what I'm doing.
    For the past few weeks I've been going to a marina and setting up the 4x5.
    It's located in an Ultra Hood, lots of nice boats and homes.
    And it's a mix of " are you taking pictures for Architectural Digest, or a Yacht magazine ?
    And then I have to explain that I am only doing because, it's my inexpensive form of therapy.
    Unfortunately, it's usually someone that's too old for me to try and infect them with some
    photographic enthusiasm. These geezers are really happy with their DigiSnappers.
    Or youngsters, It would be nice to take time and explain the process, and show them how the camera works. But I don't want to be the man with the strange camera, talking to kids.
    There is an arboretum nearby, I should call to find out if they would allow me to set up the camera and tripod on the premises. Unfortunately after " The Terrorists Attack " I was profiled for being out and about and taking pictures at Port Jefferson Harbor, and Northport. It just got to be really annoying being told that I couldn't take pictures in certain locations. Nothing more frustrating than removing the lensboard to show that there isn't a rocket launcher, or explosive in the bellows. So now I stay away from popular locations. Hopefully some day I will go back to Manhattan, I can image the nonsense that I will encounter.
    But if I am not comfortable going out, and taking pictures in my own country :
    " The Terrorists Win "

    Enjoy The Weekend, And All The Patriotic Activities !!!


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York

    .
     
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  4. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I was asked that question a lot when using the RB67, which I had to sell recently. More than one person confused it with a video camera. One local establishment even sent their security guards out to check me out, from a distance. They didn't approach me, as I wasn't on their property, but they took a photo of me with a little digicam while I was working. I guess I'm on file there now. :smile:
     
  5. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    I get that a lot when shooting people…I just pretend not to "get" what they're saying (I tend to avoid conversations like that).
     
  6. WetMogwai

    WetMogwai Member

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    I was once asked if I was shooting for the local newspaper. I was using a 4x5 view camera on a large tripod at the time. Apparently, this person had just stepped out of 1920.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What! He did not ask if it was a Hasselblad?? :tongue:

    Steve
     
  8. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I bet he thought that you were still stuck in 1920. :D
    He probably just couldn't imagine any reason why you would be using such a thingy that would make sense.


    Years ago, before the Global Terrorism Scare, i was taking pictures of some navy ships when a man in a suit came up to me, probing me for my intentions. I put on a bit of an act, posing as a simpleton (well... that's not hard for me to do), and raved a bit about how beautiful these boats were. He then went away again.
    It must have been the camera i used (my Hasselblad. What else? :wink:), since it was fleet day, and there were hords of people snapping away with their little cameras.
     
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  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    LOL!!! :D:D:D:D
    But we're all guilty. If it gets me off the hook, it's worth the act! :tongue:
     
  10. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Or what do you do when the other person is a simpleton who has been watching too much tabloid television and has been effected by bad scare journalism?

    Today I decided to go for a walk down by a creek not too far from where I live. This creek has houses that basically back onto it (OK, there is probably 20 or 30 metres betwen these houses and the creek proper). For years, the owner of one of these houses has been storing their firewood outside of their property. Its not really a nuisance, as a matter of fact, its a kinda cool pile to take abstract photos of, which I have done a few times before.

    Well, I must have been lucky in the past, as I had never been hassled before. Not so today. As I was overlooking the pile, the Man of the house walks outside (open fence, I can see in, they can see out). I yell out "don't Mind me", he replies "you're right".

    About 30 seconds later, the lady of the house comes out in a huff. "You can't take pictures here" was her first words, to which I promptly replied "Its not private property " (remember, the pile of wood is stored outside of their property). This was followed up by "Why are you taking pictures of my wood and WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS ANYWAY".....

    We conversed for the next few minutes. In the end, I determined that she could see no sane reason for anyone to take pictures of firewood and since I was there doing it, I therefore must be a pervert and taking pictures of her back yard.... I managed to convince her that I really couldn't give a damn about her backyard and that I was only looking at the textures of the wood. By the time she walked off, the moment had passed, but hey, I still made sure that I took a picture or two of those stoopid logs.

    Today made me realise that people just don't get it and when they don't get it, they cannot fathom why others do get it. This makes them suspicious.

    I must make sure I print one of the pictures and drop it in their letter box one day.
     
  11. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    The other day, I drove to a river near my house, this river and it's banks form part of a "green belt" that runs through my town. Parts of this green belt is also a public park. So I stopped in a spot where go photograph ALOT, climbed out of my vehicle, took my tripod and camera bag and walked down to a little bridge. I casually set up my camera, took some readings and then in the corner of my eye I saw four traffic police officers approaching. I thought to myself; well maybe they are just curious, no problem (they are traffic police after all). Just as I stated to focus on the bridge, the one said (by now they had walked right up to me): "I'm sorry but you can't take photos here"

    I said: well this is a public park, I pay tax, I come here alot, so why not?

    Another one said: No but you can't, no cameras!

    Me: Why not give me a reason

    they: The team is having a closed session practice

    Now as some/all of you know, South Africa is hosting the Football World Cup, and my town is a host city to Spain, so "the team" was most likely them. Now the traffic police have been "misused" by FIFA as security gaurds (that's my tax money to protect the vanity of some soccer team) Now the thing is this bridge I wanted to photograph was nearby (but not in sight) of the sports field they were having their little game in, and the "security" had been told "NO CAMERAS"

    As if I could give a rats ass about some soccer team, or even waste film (at R75/US$10 a roll of 120 hp5+, who would?) on these vain little chumps practicing. Really...

    At least they (traffic cops) where not all butch/I AM THE LAW/bigotty/bribe me, like certain other cops. So I complied, for that they where greatful. But me taking photos of a bridge with a camera you looked in from the top (SQ-A, WLF)to one of them, a female officer, seemed odd, and she had to ask: What are you taking photos of a bridge for? To which I replied: To make nice big Black and white prints I make in a darkroom, then hang on a wall. You see this is a film camera, it takes film.

    The one guy, then smiled and nodded (he must have worked in the traffic department's photo lab ((for speed cameras' film)) before they went digital.) He got it.

    I packed up, but they told me that I could come back the following day as the "team" would not be practicing then.

    I can't wait for FIFA to leave, so my country is my country again.

    (to England and Brazil, sorry maybe next time, to the Netherlands "veels geluk")
     
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  12. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    I wonder what if...

    What if all these cops that want to know what you are doing with a camera realize that some day a cop may be attacked by two thugs and they will be beating the life out of him. When other officers come to investigate, they will find a photograher holding a camera. When they ask him if he saw anything, he will say, yes, I saw the whole thing and was going to take pictures for evidence, but then I realized I didn't have permission from that cop to photograph him.
     
  13. dbonamo

    dbonamo Member

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    Did you return the favor and take a photo of them?
     
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  15. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    No, I only had the RB67 and I was intent on using my very last roll of Tri-X 320 on my project.
     
  16. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    I had a "What are you doing?" moment by a lovely older couple last week when out taking photos with my 4x5. Her initial response was "I hope you're not taking a photo of us!" in a very i-forgot-to-put-make-up-on way, but they both seemed very happy to see someone shooting something that bought back memories for them.

    Upon asking them what they were doing, they were walking down to the bowling club for a meal and a couple of drinks. I really regret not taking a photo of them together.
     
  17. magkelly

    magkelly Member

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    When someone asks me that usually I just smile and say "I'm a photography student and I'm learning." and leave it at that. If they hassle me, if I am on private property I leave, but I don't budge when it's public. Just because some event is going on and some team might be practicing is no reason to demand that someone not photograph in a public park. I'm not too sure that was even legal, cops or not.
     
  18. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    That's what bugged me, if for instance I was within the grounds of the sport field (with is also lovely to go photograph) I would understand (that IS private property), but in the park?
    Well I didn't want to argue, besides they are supposed to watching traffic, writing tickets for TRAFFIC offences, not hassle someone who ,in effect, pays their salary (tax). Oh well the bridge isn't going anywhere...
     
  19. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    Baie Dankie :smile:
     
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  20. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    Many years ago as a young teenager, I wandered into a steam locomotive depot. Naively thinking I could wander about with my camera and photograph at will. Blissfully unaware I snapped away until a gruff voice demanded “What do you think you are doing?” and marched me to the shed foreman. I can’t remember my reaction but I would have stammered some lame excuse to his superior. Obviously he was unimpressed and phoned my parents. They chastised me of course, though were supportive especially when I was interviewed afterward by the security police, and subsequently too to determine the required protocol for future visits to locomotive depots!
     
  21. Marek Warunkiewicz

    Marek Warunkiewicz Subscriber

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    Got arrested shooting some barrels.

    Back in 1971, I was 18 and had gone back to Poland to see my family. I left when I was five and had not been back since leaving.

    I was in Czestochowa and was walking around with my lovely Nikon FTN and 35 mm lens and stopped by to take a photo of a very aging, rusty gas station with these barrels out front. Took three or four shots when I had both arms grabbed from behind. When I got turned around I saw that there were three policemen there, two of whom were holding my arms.

    They asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was just taking pictures. Why? I told them I like the textures of the rust and the shapes repeating.

    They marched me off to the station and told me it is illegal to photograph gas (petrol) stations due to the fact that the then communist government has deemed them all as military installations.

    I old them I was unaware of this since I was Canadian and had only been in the country for a week or so. The didn't believe me since my Polish was as good as theirs.

    Luckily for me, my cousin was a policeman in the same station, and, just by fluke, he was going off-shift when they brought me in. He set things straight, but they did take the roll of film from me.

    Marek
     
  22. JMcLaug351

    JMcLaug351 Member

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    I guess I'm lucky to live in the Boston area. I never get those questions. Many times I've been in Boston with my Zone VI wood field 4x5 set up on a tripod and I get knowing smiles and have often even gotten broad smiles and a "thunbs up" gesture from people going by in autos. Once in my home town I had my Cambo legend set up trying to photograph some wonderful ice patterns in a stream near my house. I had just gotten it and was all thumbs using it. As I worked it two fellows came walking down the road and gave a somewhat curious look at my set up. We passed pleasentries about the day and then one fellow said "wow, that is SERIOUS photography". On any given Sunday in Boston if I am out taking photos just about every other person I see also has a camera around their necks.
    Some of that is the tourists but a lot of it is locals as well. And of course part of it is the fact that Boston is just so visually intersting.
    JOHN
     
  23. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    People tend to ask if my cameras(1912 Speed Graphic or its baby cousin a Century Graphic with 120 roll back) takes plates. Not sure what their obsession with plates are. Sheet Film's been around for quite a while.
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I always get silly questions and such, but the only time that really pissed me off was when I was threatened by some "homeboys" in my own neighborhood, where my family has lived for six generations, because they didn't want some white guy poking around their "hood" with a camera.

    I was in the middle of a big project. I had my SINAR on a tripod riding shotgun loaded with Fujiroid pack film, and I would get out at certain pre-designated areas to shoot in the middle of the street. I had it down pat. I could get in and out in well under ten minutes. Park, bring out camera on tripod, rough compose with shutter open, place tripod, level tripod, level camera, make composition, make light reading, put pack film back in, take shot, check temperature, develop print, reshoot if necessary, pack up and leave.

    Well, I had finished one of these shots, and I picked up the whole tripod/camera and put it behind my van (parked on the street) just to get it out of the street while I packed up everything else. Well, the lens happened to be pointed at this group of people who was sitting around in their driveway/front lawn, and one guy decided he didn't like that. He came up and asked me what I was doing. I told him. He asked why the camera was pointed at their house. I told him I had just set it there while I as packing up, and that there was no film in it. I explained my project. He didn't care, and became threatening.

    There is absolutely nothing more scary than people who are ignorant, prideful, and violent all at once, especially in a group. The facts do not matter. The laws do not matter. It is just pure, anarchic animalism. You're on your own.

    I turned the camera the other way and apologized as a semi appeasement, but I "kindly" explained to him that this was my neighborhood as much as it was his, that I was not on his property, but on the public's property, and I started to educate him about the Constitutional liberties that protected what I was doing, basically calling him out on his ignorance and lack of patriotism. After a while, he actually seemed to feel bad, and stepped back, though he never apologized or anything like that. I probably just bored him.

    I should have bit my tongue and put my tail between my legs and just left. I am, quite simply, lucky that words worked this time. If I had not had the legitimate six-generation tie to the neighborhood to lean on, I am sure things would not have gone my way.

    So, people are idiots. They are animals. Be careful. Protect your body. Everything else is replaceable. The law will not help you until after the fact. We live in a state of animalistic anarchy, with a thin veil of society spread over it. That veil can only do so much in a heated, isolated situation.
     
  25. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    Hey 2/F: I think this is due to so many people smoking pot or taking other drugs. It makes the user paranoid. I have seen people watch me like a hawk even without a camera in hand and in public places. There is no reason for it, except they are messed up. Ric.
     
  26. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I was walking through my neighborhood with my son who was 10 at the time. He had an interest in photography which I encouraged. So we were off to explore the town we live in and share our hobby together with our cameras in hand. Me with my Nikon N70 and he with a really nice point and shoot. Photographing flowers, architecture, and each other. It was a quiet day. Seemed like we had the whole area to ourselves. No one really around or so I thought. Then a police car rolls up and the officer asks me to come over. He then asks me what I am doing. I explained what we were doing and he tells me that he received a call that there was a strange man walking around with a camera trying to lure children. I said "What?! Can't I even walk around my own neighborhood with my son? Don't these people have something else better to do? I'm spending quality time with my son and teaching him something constructive. I should call the cops when i see a parent ignoring his or her child because that's the real crime!" The officer then apologized for bothering me but he had to do his duty and check things out. And after I calmed down I had to acknowledge that he was right about that. What if there was some pervert trying to pick up young children? I did thank him for doing his job protecting the community and he went on his way. Sadly though my son and i never walked through that neighborhood again to take photos. We went elsewhere but i always wondered if an officer was going to roll up and ask what i was doing.
    I've also had some fun with people when they see my equipment and ask about it. They'll ask something dumb like "Wow! That's a nice camera. I bet it takes great pictures. So, how many mega-pixels is that?" My response is that this uses something even better called Fast Imaging and Light and Management. It puzzles them for a moment and then I explain that it's just FILM. :D