Most of the time I am very low key. One time on Sunset Blvd a young girl screamed her head off that I shot her. I had let my guard down ad as not low key. I just walked away and let her scream.
Once I was photographing a chunk of sandstone, with my crown graphic, at the far end of a public clothing optional beach. It was a cool and cloudy day - no sunbathers. 2 brave swimmers at the other end - much too far to tell whether they were suited or not. A fully clothed man approached and yelled at me, threatening " big trouble" for photographing at a nude beach. I offered a look through the ground glass (thinking he might have assumed a big camera was the same thing as a big telephoto lens), but he refused, and muttered angrily as he walked away.
I've photographed at that beach often, but not pointed my camera at anyone. No one else has seemed upset. I've seen lots of digicams and cell phone cameras there.
On a sunny day, I saw a family party, with an elaborate picnic, I'd have loved to photograph. The matriarch wore a sun hat and sandals. Her children and grandchildren (about 15 folks) were conventionally garbed in shorts, bathing suits, or summery dresses. Would have made an awesome picture, but I was too shy to ask and way too polite to grab a sneak shot. I've always regretted that I didn't ask.
My best tactic has been to attack my opponents with a huge smile and a handshake telling them I'm an amateur and I love how they/their tree/house/property looks.
Works like a charm.
Only once (if I remember correctly), in Canary Wharf, London - I was setting up lighting stuff around a model, when security guys came asking for a permit. They insisted the whole Canary Wharf was private area and commercial photographers needed a permit. There was no point in explaining the shooting was not commercial, because it might look like (for people who hadn't seen a real commercial one). We moved a bit...
BTW: public vs. private is not always the right question: a space might be private (i.e. privately owned) and public (accessible for all) at the same time; or public (i.e. owned by state, municipality or so) and private (you should not enter uninvited). We should also remember that the law is usually internally inconsistent, and there are rules how to deal with this (e.g. 'lex posterior derogat legi priori', 'lex specialis derogat legi generali', hierarchy of acts and so on), and flocks of lawyers get hefty money doing this. Also (almost) no right is absolute, including freedom of expression.
On the other hand, today's obsession with privacy is somehow sick and it seems media driven; the same media that violate privacy the most.
When an undergrad student, I was shooting a recital being held in the chapel, as an employee of the school's PR department, with the writer in tow. We sat in the front row, off to one side, and I shot with the quietest body I owned, no drive, flash or tripod. I couldn't have been less intrusive or conspicuous while getting the shots requested. Afterward I was dressed down loudly and publically by a student for "upsetting" a flutist during her performance.
While on a multi-day shoot for a bank's annual report, I was taken to many sites where the employee from the marketing department and I would enter the branch or office where we would meet the manager and explain our purpose and legitimacy in photographing the building, before we set up any gear. While I don't think it is illegal to photograph a bank building, it does cause stress among the employees (my wife is a bank manager now so I well understand this), and can result in being queried by the local LEOs about one's intent and purpose (everyone has a job to do, right?). The only exception to this meet and greet routine was in the case of a small community bank that was in negotiations with the larger bank for a merger/acquisition that the employees were not yet aware of, but the larger bank needed a shot of before the report went to print. In this case, we literally conducted a drive-by shooting so we wouldn't have to explain ourselves. That shot was as good as one would expect through the glass of a moving vehicle.
If you call it a "prime lens" because it's a fixed-focal length (i.e. not a zoom lens), then as Inigo Montoya said so eloquently, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
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i think some people just don't like to have their photograph taken
especially by a stranger, i know i don't ... and the person you chatted
with was exercising is right to object to your photographing him and his friends ...
i don't see any problem with that ... and if it was me,
i probably wouldn't have continued photographing him or his friends
( the whole golden rule thing )
and yes, i have been challenged with a camera since about 1980-81 when i first took "street shots" for a class ...
since then ive been threatened, yelled at, harassed by law enforcement, encircled by a group yelling stuff at me, whatever ...
sometimes its because people don't like the camera, and other times, well, i don't think it has much to do with the camera ...
as it does not looking like average "pale-faced-american" ... i can probably repeat things that have happened that might make you cringe and mutter WTF to yourself.
(typical stuff targeted minority groups get dealt to them all the time / day in day out )
oh well, you just get over it i guess .. since it's human nature to be curious and show strength ...
Last edited by jnanian; 12-02-2013 at 12:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a couple of really big and capable heavies just hovering nearby and, at the first sign of any imminent interference with your photography, they discreetly move in and take the offender away to discuss things out of earshot and out of sight so that you can just get on with the creative process in peace. Of course if you were working on photographs of celebrities who have their usually unopposed heavies moving photographers away with hands over lenses etc., your own heavies would be even more helpful and you could get on with your work unhindered whilst the celebrity concerned would actually have to develop some social skills of their own. It would do everyone a power of good!
The only time I was challenged was in Stanley Park, Vancouver.
I'd gone to Stanley park with my Grandmother many times as a child. Back then it was a zoo (literally). So, when I returned for the first time in 20 years (in 2007), I walked around wondering where all the flamingos and other animals were. I eventually asked someone who told me the zoo aspect had shut down more than fifteen years before. And so I began to wander aimlessly, just walking the island to see what it was now. At one point I decided that "life is always more interesting off the main paths", so I should take the next small trail into the woods I could find. Sure enough, not 30 seconds later I saw man walk into a small but well worn path in some dense woods. I followed suit.
Inside the dense woods it opened up and there were many well worn paths crisscrossing. Benches had been cut into downed trees, and it looked really rather unexpected. And so, out came the camera (digital, all I had at the time, and probably for the best). I was focused on the paths and the trees, and rather oblivious to the people around me. I noticed a number of men walking about but didn't think anything about it, until one came up me and was visibly upset.
"If you take a picture of my I'm going to f***ing flip!" He said with a pronounced lisp.
I felt like a deer in the headlights. "Umm.. okay." I hadn't taken a picture of him, or anyone, just the tress and trails. I said as a much and showed him the pictures I'd taken. He stormed off leaving me utterly confused. At which point a kindly older gentleman walked up to me with a smile and asked if I knew where I was.
"I was going to say 'Stanley Park', but since you're asking me, I'm going to have to say: No, I don't know where I am."
"You're in the Gay pick-up area."
Right. Well. That explains a lot. I laughed good and hard at myself, thanked him for letting me know, and proceeded to put the camera away and leave. As I left the woods, still laughing at my own idiocy, I passed an elderly woman who gave me the most hateful glare. I laughed harder, found a bench to sit on while I typed out the story in a series of texts to my girl friend. She, not knowing how this was going to end, read them aloud to her entire office. It's been six years and I still haven't lived this one down.
I once read on the internet that not all gay men speak with a "pronounced lisp".
I've got a couple of friends who are gay. Most gay men I've met give no hint - well, not to me anyways, but I've shown how clueless I can be.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
But no, I am not exaggerating when I say the man in the story had a very strong lisp. Not the sing-song tone of the Truly Fabulous, but as I said, pronounced.. Sometimes truth is more amusing that fiction.