Am I the only one this has happened to?

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
742
79
Hasn't happened to me yet, but I wouldn't be surprised since I often shoot family in public places.

I arranged private snowboard lessons for my teen age daughters a few years back. Lots of people of all ages on the slopes. While I was taking a break I grabbed my camera and waited at the bottom of the slope for them. Got some great photos of them coming down the hill with their instructor. When they got to the bottom they had a great laugh. They had stopped on the hill part way down and noticed some guy with a camera at the bottom. They thought it was cute some dad was taking pictures of his kids. Then they got to the bottom...

Maybe some business cards for a photography business will diffuse these situations. It would also help with the referrals and requests I get anyway.
 

distant.star

EOR R
Jan 19, 2011
1,813
0
USA
wetracy.smugmug.com
.
Many, many years ago a Unitarian minister I knew said to me: "People are afraid." It didn't seem to fit into our conversation, and it hung in the air for a frozen moment before we moved on. For months afterward I pondered why he said that. Finally, I came to a realization that what most motivates we humans is fear. Nothing else is as powerful. Today we live in a world seemingly turned upside down and people are fed a steady diet of fear-mongering media mash (n. a soft, pulpy mass). This mash ferments into paranoia for some people. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that we now live in a surveillance state and know we are being spied upon at every turn -- and people are sick of it and want to lash out.

Anyway, I've had two such unpleasant incidents in the past few years. One afternoon I was standing on a sidewalk waiting for a public transit bus. When afternoon school buses went past I took pictures of a few of them. Part of my journalism history involved the trucking industry, so I just naturally take pictures of large vehicles when I see them -- especially when I'm bored and waiting for a bus. Within minutes there were four law enforcement cars in front of me, and I was literally surrounded by at least four local police and sheriff deputies. They wanted to know why I was taking pictures of children on school buses. Ridiculous, yes, but people now see danger everywhere, and police have to respond to satisfy their fears.

Another time I went to the summer carnival of the Catholic parish where I spent eight years in grammar school as a child. I was taking pictures of adults and the band that was playing. A woman approached and asked why I was taking pictures of her grandchild. I went farther than I normally would and finally showed her the pictures I'd taken. There were no children in any of the pictures I'd taken. She still wasn't satisfied -- and nothing I could possibly have said or done would have satisfied her poisoned mind. A few minutes later a police officer patrolling the event informed me that I was being asked to leave. I was thoroughly disgusted. Over time I've come to see humor in that kind of a welcome back to my childhood alma mater, especially given that it's a Catholic church parish. Still makes me sad though.

I don't shy away from shooting anything that interests me and is legal. There will be times when the poison in some person's brain will try to infect me. When that happens I mostly just smile a lot, play dumb and agree with them -- but never to the point of putting myself or my integrity/honor in jeopardy. For me, public photography is worth the effort.

Yesterday I had a different kind of interaction with a delusional character on the streets. On the sidewalk across the street from City Hall, Philadelphia, I saw a man had set up a table and was selling trinkets off it. As I came upon the scene I noticed he was nodding off and thought that could be a good picture. As soon as I raised the camera (5D3 with a 35mm lens) he popped to life and starting waving his hands and saying no. I took the camera away from my face, smiled at him and he started saying, "no pictures, no pictures." I said, "Sure, I understand," since I don't find it worth getting into arguments with people who for whatever reason don't want their picture taken. Unfortunately, he wouldn't leave it at that. As I started taking pictures of other folks on the street he began demanding I leave, "Move along, take it somewhere else, go do that in your own neighborhood," he started saying. Annoyed, I said to him, "There's nothing about you that's worth taking a picture. Get over yourself. I'm taking pictures of other people on the public sidewalk here."

Defeated that I would not be bullied, I overheard him whining to a guy at the next vendor table "...how these guys were taking their pictures all the time and selling them on the internet for millions of dollars." That gave me a good laugh and I resumed moseying down the street.

Anyway, if anyone knows where I can sell these street pictures for millions of dollars, please let me know.
 

Meh

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 20, 2011
702
0
nmccrea43 said:
Funny story!

I was in Colorado last winter skiing with my wife and another couple. We are completely normal looking young adults from the midwest. We were at Copper Mountain Resort after a full day of skiing having a nice dinner at a slope side restaurant (still in our ski gear). I had my 5d2 and 50 1.4 (hardly a obtrusive setup) and i was taking a few pics of our friends and the ambiance (typical vacation stuff). It was busy and I was not doing anything to attract attention other than taking a few harmless photos in a busy public place.

Then, some guy comes up to me and asks to see my camera (he didn't say it in a nice way). I asked why, and he said he wanted to see if I had taken pictures of his kids. He then accused me of taking photos of children in the restaurant and called me a sicko (and something else worse but I don't remember). My wife and friends were as shocked as me and I basically told him to go f**k himself. Plus me and my friend are big guys and this guy was maybe 5'5" so there wasn't much he could do. However, it ruined my night as it left me pissed off the whole time.

Because I drove 800 miles and spent thousand of dollars so I could take pictures of random kids in a restaurant in Colorado? What am I going to do with these pictures? Some people are just paranoid... Fun world we live in, huh???
In this case, the guy was completely out of line. He was accusing you of something and demanding to see your pictures. People have the right to take pictures in any public place and, technically, that includes taking pictures of kids, dogs, etc. There's just so little social tolerance these days.... everyone feels their rights trump everyone else's rights and half the time they don't even have the rights they are claiming such as "you can't photograph me without my permission". Such a self-centred society we live in and it's getting worse.

Regardless though, getting angry or telling someone off just makes it worse. In such situations I try to see it from their perspective and respond politely. If they push it though, then I might respond more firmly. There's a fine there I suppose.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOR R
Apr 27, 2011
1,634
4
53
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
jdramirez said:
I know getting into fights isn't socially acceptable... but in my middle age I'm more willing to kick a little ass than I was when I was younger. But it feels awkward to tell someone... give me five minutes to put my gear away and then I'll happily beat that ass. [
OK, I'm not prone to violence but the way you stated this, it cracked me up! ;D

Let's be honest, most of us probably sympathize. Like you, I'm middle aged and, it seems like the more I see of life that can be unfair sometimes, the more tempted I am to want to yield to a primal impulse and 'fix the problem', at least in a fleeting fantasy.

In reality however, we know violence only makes matters worse, usually for us and not the jerk.
 

jdramirez

EOS 5D MK IV
May 31, 2011
2,944
0
42
I have business cards in my wallet, but I don't have them to justify my existence, just if someone asks where I post my work or to look at my catalog... then I'll throw one down because it is easier than giving them my email address or phone number. Basically calling cards because I don't like talking to people.
 

dak723

EOS 6D MK II
Oct 26, 2013
1,141
434
Be glad that he spoke to you and didn't just call the police. I know folks who have ended up in the back of a police cruiser. People are paranoid - but, unfortunately with the rise of the internet - the perverts are out there and taking and sharing pictures, too. So the paranoia is not completely out of line. At least now in the digital age, if you are approached and accused, you can immediately show the pics to prove your innocence. Back in the film days, it was not so easy.
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
Meh said:
People have the right to take pictures in any public place
There's a distinction to be made between what's within your legal rights and what's polite or ethical. In the U.S., you have the right to go around like Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and insult everyone you meet, so long as you don't do it in a way that amounts to fighting words. It is, however, extremely uncivil to do so. Regardless of your rights, it's uncivil to take photos of people who don't want to be photographed. The world is not your modeling agency, and its people are not your hired "talent." Don't treat people as mere scenery in the theater performance that is your life.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOR R
Apr 27, 2011
1,634
4
53
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
To the OP, I think I speak for many photographers when I say that photographing people, esp anonymous people in public is somewhat akin to public speaking and can be unsettling and a little scary sometimes. It takes confidence and nerve.

You can't control the other guy, but you can control yourself. It's up to you to keep the encounter positive and not play (into) his game.

I photograph school events, swim meets, boy scouts, church stuff, etc. I have always tried to keep an attitude of confidence when I shoot these things. In other words, I shoot like I belong there and I'm shooting for a purpose. It doesn't matter if I am shooting for an official purpose or for my own purpose. If I am approached, I simply respond that I am shooting pictures to share with everyone (parents usually) for them to have of their kids. It rarely goes past that. I am very accommodating and cheerful about it. I offer them my card and make sure they know how to see all of my pictures on my zenfolio page. There they will see thousands of images of many different things that include kids. I treat any inquiry like I assume they are interested in my images and want know how to obtain them.

If they are negative or accusatory, I pretty much just act the same way, like I've done nothing wrong and if I stop, one or many people will miss out on the results of my efforts (that I offer free of charge). Depending on the event and my level of desire or the importance of the images, I might elect to stop or I might elect to get someone of importance involved to shut the jerk up.

The difference in my usual situation and your stated situation is the anonymity and lack of a connection to a purpose except for your own enjoyment. Unfortunately, in this day and age cameras make people nervous. Blame it on the negative media, rude and invasive paparazzi and unconstitutional ordinances/laws against public photography. I would have given the guy my card (without an address). What pervert up to no good offers to share their identity? I might have offered to share the pictures but I also would have explained that I'm simply enjoying the day like anyone else and not breaking any laws. If I had to pack up and leave to diffuse the situation, so be it. But I would have tried my best to turn it around and put the guy at ease first because it's in my neighborhood and I'm likely to see the guy again.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOR R
Apr 27, 2011
1,634
4
53
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
Orangutan said:
Meh said:
People have the right to take pictures in any public place
There's a distinction to be made between what's within your legal rights and what's polite or ethical. In the U.S., you have the right to go around like Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and insult everyone you meet, so long as you don't do it in a way that amounts to fighting words. It is, however, extremely uncivil to do so. Regardless of your rights, it's uncivil to take photos of people who don't want to be photographed. The world is not your modeling agency, and its people are not your hired "talent." Don't treat people as mere scenery in the theater performance that is your life.
Agreed and well said. Just because you can do something legal doesn't mean you should. I'm not saying you did anything wrong. But invading someone's personal space with a long lens makes people nervous and potentially feel threatened. (Regardless of your intent you can't always know how others may interpret things.)

In this case I don't think you acted inappropriately but the situation did give another observer an opportunity/excuse to do what they could do even if they shouldn't. Which in this case is be the park savior/protector/big shot/bully.
 

sanj

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 22, 2012
3,219
82
Sign of bad times.
Lets not judge the man who stopped you, in his mind he did his 'citizen job of the day'. He did what he thought was correct. He should have checked the situation properly before reacting but I am glad that there are people out there who feel that they need to protect the kids. Good. I think it is incorrect on anyone's part to call him a pervert.

I have a similar story but perhaps I, unlike you, was actually wrong. I had bought an underwater housing for my S90. I took it to my gym pool in broad daylight to see how it works. There were just kids in the pool. Boys. I was NOT taking their photos just trying to see how the housing feels underwater. One fat mama started singing the opera… I immediately stopped.

Good luck with learning servo focus etc. Try back button focus please.
 

jdramirez

EOS 5D MK IV
May 31, 2011
2,944
0
42
dak723 said:
Be glad that he spoke to you and didn't just call the police. I know folks who have ended up in the back of a police cruiser. People are paranoid - but, unfortunately with the rise of the internet - the perverts are out there and taking and sharing pictures, too. So the paranoia is not completely out of line. At least now in the digital age, if you are approached and accused, you can immediately show the pics to prove your innocence. Back in the film days, it was not so easy.
But we shouldn't have to constantly prove out innocence. For a benign activity such as photography, we should not be automatically thrown in to consideration as either terrorists or child rapists.

Afterall... those who have participated in the bikini thread are not all full-grown lady rapists...

If it is a public place... people are being photographed... not necessarily by a photographer... but by street light cameras, parking lot cameras, cameras at a checkout...

Hey... don't photograph me... that died a long time ago.
 

awinphoto

EOR R
Aug 26, 2010
2,090
0
www.reno-photography.com
I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I've had this happen in numerous of times, places, and situations. It can be unnerving at times, but it's best to let it roll off your shoulders. If someone asks you not to take a picture of them, fine, of their kids, then ask who are their kids and just kinda keep them in the back of your mind to frame around, and so on and so forth. I've had people request no photos and had people slip me a $20 to take a pick of them and email it to them. You know, just learn to roll with the punches and not let anything get in the way of getting your primary objective done, and that's to get photos done.
 

jdramirez

EOS 5D MK IV
May 31, 2011
2,944
0
42
sanj said:
Sign of bad times.
Lets not judge the man who stopped you, in his mind he did his 'citizen job of the day'. He did what he thought was correct. He should have checked the situation properly before reacting but I am glad that there are people out there who feel that they need to protect the kids. Good. I think it is incorrect on anyone's part to call him a pervert.

I have a similar story but perhaps I, unlike you, was actually wrong. I had bought an underwater housing for my S90. I took it to my gym pool in broad daylight to see how it works. There were just kids in the pool. Boys. I was NOT taking their photos just trying to see how the housing feels underwater. One fat mama started singing the opera… I immediately stopped.

Good luck with learning servo focus etc. Try back button focus please.
I'm getting a little impatient for Dual pixel to be added to the 5D mkiii firmware. The last time I used back button focusing while taking video, it wasn't good. The aperture opened up... it searched a little... it was annoying.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOR R
Apr 27, 2011
1,634
4
53
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
jdramirez said:
dak723 said:
Be glad that he spoke to you and didn't just call the police. I know folks who have ended up in the back of a police cruiser. People are paranoid - but, unfortunately with the rise of the internet - the perverts are out there and taking and sharing pictures, too. So the paranoia is not completely out of line. At least now in the digital age, if you are approached and accused, you can immediately show the pics to prove your innocence. Back in the film days, it was not so easy.
But we shouldn't have to constantly prove out innocence. For a benign activity such as photography, we should not be automatically thrown in to consideration as either terrorists or child rapists.

Afterall... those who have participated in the bikini thread are not all full-grown lady rapists...

If it is a public place... people are being photographed... not necessarily by a photographer... but by street light cameras, parking lot cameras, cameras at a checkout...

Hey... don't photograph me... that died a long time ago.
I agree with you but only to a point. Photography by security cameras is something most people accept and believe to be benign because it's anonymous and is the same for everyone. No one is 'singled out' that anyone can tell.

Photography by an individual with a zoom lens is more personal. I agree that we shouldn't have to feel embarrassed to shoot public pictures but society today is what it is. Girls should be able to walk down the street in provocative clothing and not be objectified, judged or harassed but it happens anyway. It happens because people are human and think/do things for their own reasons derived from what they feel is right, their morals/ethics or what gives them satisfaction, good or bad.

Everyone makes judgments based on their observations and assumptions regardless of the truth or accuracy of those assumptions. Then they act on those assumptions and judgments.

All we can control is our own actions and try to anticipate a problem before we do things to cause it.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOR R
Apr 27, 2011
1,634
4
53
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
jdramirez said:
dak723 said:
Be glad that he spoke to you and didn't just call the police. I know folks who have ended up in the back of a police cruiser. People are paranoid - but, unfortunately with the rise of the internet - the perverts are out there and taking and sharing pictures, too. So the paranoia is not completely out of line. At least now in the digital age, if you are approached and accused, you can immediately show the pics to prove your innocence. Back in the film days, it was not so easy.
But we shouldn't have to constantly prove out innocence. For a benign activity such as photography, we should not be automatically thrown in to consideration as either terrorists or child rapists.

Afterall... those who have participated in the bikini thread are not all full-grown lady rapists...

If it is a public place... people are being photographed... not necessarily by a photographer... but by street light cameras, parking lot cameras, cameras at a checkout...

Hey... don't photograph me... that died a long time ago.
Now I need to go search for the bikini thread!! ;D
 

traingineer

EOS 80D
Feb 27, 2014
189
0
Every time I go out to take some images, I usually have to keep the camera inside the bag. Because every time I have it out, everyone passing by just stares angrily at me for no reason. And when I do want to take some images, I try to be pretty stealthy and keep it pointing far away from any person.
I usually find it easy just to be near something like a corner of a wall/ in front of a tree, pretending to take pictures of it when I'm just taking pictures of other things.

(BTW I'm just a young teen. ;) )
 

Attachments

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,818
3,336
It has happened to me with the 300/2.8. As if a sneak photographer would to be so visible! Ironically, using an SX50 or its many equivalents of much greater range attracts no attention.
 

Midphase

EOS T7i
May 28, 2012
54
2
Meanwhile, anyone with a cel phone could be taking photos of children or anyone else very covertly.

If anything, you'd think that someone with an obviously professional looking rig would definitely be a legitimate photographer!

If people don't want to run the risk of someone taking photos of their kids (or themselves), they probably shouldn't leave their house.
 

mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,299
206
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
AlanF said:
It has happened to me with the 300/2.8. As if a sneak photographer would to be so visible! Ironically, using an SX50 or its many equivalents of much greater range attracts no attention.
+ 1

That is what l would explain someone who accuses me to take pics of people secretly!

Other ideas to react:
- "I am Mr.. . . . . what is you name?"- politely... to get the name of the other person to show some openess
- offering to call the police because you feel threatened

Preventive deescalation:
- pointing the lens while not in use to the ground
- E.g. ask dog owners it if is o.k. to take photos of the dogs. Then you are part of the group and your intention is cleared.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,238
797
I once was photographing ducks with my 300 f2.8, when this guy behind me tapped my shoulder, I turned around, and he said "why don't you take some pictures of me?" and posed in what can only be described as a flasher version of the ending to an ice-skating routine. I giggled and said I would rather stick to the birds. He waved his hand about and flicked his fingers and yelled at me that I wasn't good enough for him and that I could eff off. I turned and took a quick step towards him and he ran like scared duck flapping his arms around. It wasn't scary or humiliating, but it shows there are a few people out there that don't quite follow the norm... Just don't worry about them..lol.