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  1. #1
    scootermm's Avatar
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    Interesting experience out in the country....

    I posted this photo in the critique gallery.

    I had an interesting experience after taking it and was wondering the feeling of some fellow photographers about it.
    I got up early on a sat morning to go out and take some shots near Manor, TX. A co worker had informed me of some old Country Stores and an old church in that area that I should take a look at for potential photographs. so I ended up outside the Cele Country Store at about 10am. When I drove up there were no cars around front or in back I could see. So I parked on the side off the side of the state road it was on. I spent a good 20 mins just walking around the front of the store just looking at things and seeing if anything really struck me as wnating to be photographed. I looked inside and didnt see anyone inside so I didnt bother to knock or go inside. The initial image I saw was what really seemed to strike me as worthy of shooting. so I walked back across the street and set up my 4x5 with a 14" wollensak and spent about another 15-20mins taking a few shots. as I was packing up my backpack etc an old lady came out the front door of the store. she crossed the street and I said good morning to her. she replied with "what are you doing?" (rather annoyed tone as well) I was overly polite and said I was just taking some pictures and hoped that it wasnt a problem and that I hadnt seen anyone inside etc and I was lead to believe that the store was closed by a local resident.
    she was really getting angry now and said "so you dont think you should have asked?" I kept trying to disperse the tension by being polite and offering to destroy the negatives if she would like me to or give her a copy of the resulting print if it turned out. she angrily said I had no business taking pictures. I profusely apologized as she turned her back on me and crossed the street only to reply "saying your sorry doesnt do a damn bit of good now"

    a part of me felt a huge amount of guilt but then another part of me thought to myself. Im standing on a public road taking pictures of something and had even openly offered to remedy the situation in any way she felt would be neccesary but she openly refused any of that.

    I know my rights as a photographer and Ive done alot of research in that regard. but just because legal action cant be taken against a photographer doesnt mean it is ethical etc. so Im curious what others think about situations such as this.

  2. #2
    127
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    If some one asks you politely not to photograph them, or their personal effects, with some semblence of an explanation (and "I'm not happy about it" may be considered as a partial explanation) then it's only reasonable to try and reach some arrangement which keeps everyone happy.

    On the other hand if some mad person starts ranting at you for taking pictures in the street, and isn't prepared to enter into rational discussion then there's nothing you can do. Sounds like this woman just wanted to shout at someone, and didn't actually know what her problem was or what she wanted out of the situation. Under those circumstances I think it's resonable to tell the agressor to take a hike.

    Ian

  3. #3
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I think that in the eyes of the law you were perfectly within your rights to make photographs from a public place and you did make every effort to ask permission. I would have done the same as you and made my exposures. I guess the old lady saw what you were doing as an invasion of her space and property and objected.

    Your experience reminds me of a similar experience of mine. I was teaching a workshop from Salisbury State University and spent a day before it started looking for photographic locations around Salisbury and interestingly found a rather photogenic old store. Like you I looked around to ask permission and knocked on the door of the house on the same land as the store. When the door opened I was facing a man pointing a shotgun at me and was told to leave his property. I said thank you for your time SIR and left.

  4. #4
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I would be curious if someone was standing in the street taking pictures of my house. I'd probably go out and question them. But this woman was unwilling to accept any explaination or more than reasonable solutions. I would say that she's just a Crank. You did all you could reasonably do. Chalk it up in the "Well, You meet all kinds" column and the next time you are in that situation, do the exact same thing. Maybe the next person will be happy that you find his place interesting and photogenic.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  5. #5
    Aggie's Avatar
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    At least you weren't arre4sted as terrorist with a canon ready to blow her place up. There are times when no matter what you do, it will be viewed as wrong. You were perfectly within your rights to take the pciture. It is a building open to the public onad viewed from a public street. Print the darn thing and send her a copy just to annoy her. (that is me thinking of the house I was trying to get a shot of one morning)

  6. #6

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    Chalk it up as a crank.

    Honestly, there are people who just get pissy when they see glass and metal in the right combination.

    A couple of years ago, I was walking downtown in an area teaming with....well, Dickens would have called them "Street Urchins". We call them Gutter Punks here.

    Anyway, this was on Mardi Gras. And there was going to be a parade. I'm walking along, on a VERY busy sidewalk with just my camera BAG. The camera isn't even OUT. Just the bag. I go past a group of about 6 of these kids and they start kicking up a fuss. I was somehow imposing on THEIR rights. I would have been worried had it not been for the two TPD officers across the street who immediately started coming across to see what was up.


    Point being....

    Some people just look for a fight.
    Official Photo.net Villain
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    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

  7. #7
    juan's Avatar
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    For some reason, I seem to be challenged most when using 4x5 on a tripod. 8x10 seems to attract the curious, as do my Speed Graphics when hand held ("That's an old camera, isn't it.") But 4x5 on a tripod brings out folks who challenge my right to photograph. I wonder if it looks commercial (i.e. money making)?
    juan

  8. #8
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    I can understand what the lady was thinking. I come from a slightly different point of view here. As some of you know, I own a classic Woody station wagon. And seriously, every time I park the car and go inside, it never fails, someone stops to take a picture of it. I don't mind people snapping photos of it, but most of these people go a step further and put their family on the running boards, etc. I actually came out of Herst Castle once to find a group of foreign tourists sitting inside my car wearing my vintage hat getting their photo taken. The point is, while as a photographer, I like to stop and photograph nice looking buildings, sometimes the owners are just fed up with the way other people have treated them or their property. She wasn't pissed at you as much as she was probably pissed at the other 100 people who had taken photos of her store in the past 20 years.
    hi!

  9. #9
    noseoil's Avatar
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    To quote from a Farley Mowat story (The Boat Who Wouldn't Float)..
    Use your best Russian accent, take a deep breath and say "In Soviet Union old vermin like you we put to sleep"

  10. #10
    scootermm's Avatar
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    Nice to hear others thoughts on the experience. I dont feel so "out of line" anymore.

    Oddly enough, I printed an 8x10 of that shot last night and I printed one extra copy and I have it in a manila (sp?) envelope with a business card that Im going to drop off today at her store for her to have. so hopefully she will know the intention was purely aesthetic and due to my admiration for the beauty of the storefront.

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