Am I the only one this has happened to?

Northstar

EOR R
Mar 31, 2012
1,673
0
105
US - Midwest
Humans....perfectly imperfect!

If you shoot in public enough, you'll eventually have this issue so it's a great forum post.

Lots of good advice and stories.

Scott...sometimes bad things happen to good people. Just shake it off.
 

eml58

1Dx
Aug 26, 2012
1,939
0
Singapore
This whole thread is a perfect example of why I shoot Wildlife, Landscape & Underwater Images, People are just too much of a PIA.

In the situation of the Op, I can empathise, my initial reaction would have to be this dickhead was insulting me, being lumped into the potential pedophile grouping would have me considering a Lobotomy on the Guy, and sounds like the Op is qualified in that area, but, there's always a but.

Sometimes we just need to chill, look around and appreciate the other person's perspective (even if he is a complete dickhead), we are living in a fishbowl that's not really improving, our Children's future & well being is without a doubt our most important objective in life, if the chap had children in the Park, he's a concerned Parent with poor communication skills and the "soft" approach is recommended, if he's an individual in the Park with no Kids and comments, he's just looking for trouble, the "soft" approach is also recommended.

I spent 16 Years in the Army, the "soft" approach is not my preferred option generally, but the world's changed, and Im 64 now with the last 30 years of experience that I think really count, at 34 I think I may have gone for the Tripod Lobotomy without anaesthesia.
 

Meh

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 20, 2011
702
0
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.
That's true also, but different from what I was trying to get at. When someone comes up to a photographer and demands that you do not take pictures of them, their kids, their dog, etc. and/or demands to see your photos they are acting as though it's their right not to be photographed when in fact the opposite is true. Legally, the photographer is not prohibited from taking pictures in public. Harassing someone though by interfering with them, cursing at them, threatening, assaulting, damaging their gear (e.g. hollywood celebs) is in fact prohibited. The point is people tend to think they have rights they don't actually have and then get irate when they think you're violating those perceived rights.

Social norms are a different matter. People do feel uncomfortable being photographed and if I noticed someone specifically photographing me whether with a long lens or a smartphone I would feel uncomfortable. If they kept it up I might ask them to stop but would more likely just walk away. If they followed me and continued photographing me specifically now they might be crossing a legal line in the sense of harassing me.

So, yes I get your point but I was specifically talking about rights and the law, not social norms.
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
Meh said:
That's true also, but different from what I was trying to get at. When someone comes up to a photographer and demands that you do not take pictures of them, their kids, their dog, etc. and/or demands to see your photos they are acting as though it's their right not to be photographed when in fact the opposite is true. Legally, the photographer is not prohibited from taking pictures in public. Harassing someone though by interfering with them, cursing at them, threatening, assaulting, damaging their gear (e.g. hollywood celebs) is in fact prohibited. The point is people tend to think they have rights they don't actually have and then get irate when they think you're violating those perceived rights.

Social norms are a different matter. People do feel uncomfortable being photographed and if I noticed someone specifically photographing me whether with a long lens or a smartphone I would feel uncomfortable. If they kept it up I might ask them to stop but would more likely just walk away. If they followed me and continued photographing me specifically now they might be crossing a legal line in the sense of harassing me.

So, yes I get your point but I was specifically talking about rights and the law, not social norms.
I'm glad we're mostly in agreement. My response was partly based on a previous thread on street photography, where at least one person said he likes to get in people's faces to capture their reactions. In my opinion that's not at all acceptable, and may violate some other aspect of law. Having a camera in hand does not exempt a person from other laws governing behavior.

Also, if a photographer is "free" to take photos in public places, people in the area are equally "free" to express, even in very strong terms, their disapproval of his public photography. Having a camera in hand does not exempt a person from being the recipient of someone else's "free speech."
 

Meh

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 20, 2011
702
0
Orangutan said:
Also, if a photographer is "free" to take photos in public places, people in the area are equally "free" to express, even in very strong terms, their disapproval of his public photography. Having a camera in hand does not exempt a person from being the recipient of someone else's "free speech."
Absolutely correct and this is why I said in my previous post that the best response is to just politely respond such as "thanks for the advice" or "I'll keep that in mind". There is no law prohibiting others from speaking to us, what is in our control is how we respond and react. Getting angry and/or escalating the situation is what is going to ruin your day. We live in a society. There are other people and we are going to "bump into them from time to time" whether that is in a verbal interaction, a disagreement, a difference of opinion, or even physically bumping into someone. I just read in the news some kid got shot in the foot because some other kid thought he was cutting into line to buy shoes. In the words of Chris Rock... "if someone scuffs your Puma, let it slide".
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
Meh said:
Orangutan said:
Also, if a photographer is "free" to take photos in public places, people in the area are equally "free" to express, even in very strong terms, their disapproval of his public photography. Having a camera in hand does not exempt a person from being the recipient of someone else's "free speech."
Absolutely correct and this is why I said in my previous post that the best response is to just politely respond such as "thanks for the advice" or "I'll keep that in mind". There is no law prohibiting others from speaking to us, what is in our control is how we respond and react. Getting angry and/or escalating the situation is what is going to ruin your day. We live in a society. There are other people and we are going to "bump into them from time to time" whether that is in a verbal interaction, a disagreement, a difference of opinion, or even physically bumping into someone. I just read in the news some kid got shot in the foot because some other kid thought he was cutting into line to buy shoes. In the words of Chris Rock... "if someone scuffs your Puma, let it slide".
Agreed.
 

ams2d

EOS M50
Aug 13, 2013
27
0
I understand the OP issues.

Was taking video of my son in swimming class through the glass and a woman came up and started quizzing me about who I am; which child was mine; what was the name of the child; can I point out his mother. The funny thing I was more focused on what he was doing in the pool and was trying to move away from the glare of the glass and didn’t care about what she was asking. But afterwards I felt like I need to bring his birth certificate and a picture of me and him together to prove he was my son.

When we go to the children's museum I try to focus on just him and if I do post any pictures of him I either crop out the other children or did have one where all you saw was the back of the other child's head.

Understand the way society has become because of how other people actions they want to error on the side of caution or "bad" instead of giving some slack. Smart phones are far more prevalent than cameras today and someone walking around with a DSLR and a lens walking openly in public spaces in my opinion does not scream “this person must be up to no good”. I would have asked did he check all the smart phones in the area to make certain there wasn’t someone taking pictures of his kids because the percentage of that happening would likely be greater.

I had thought to try and work on my photography skills by going to the local ball fields and take pictures of the kids playing baseball/soccer. I haven’t yet because of situations like the OP has encountered and feel that I would need business cards or something to prove that I wasn’t a pervert taking sport shots of kids. If I do decide to try am going to contact someone in charge to ask before I go if I am permitted and may even offer the parents the pictures if they ask why am I taking pictures of their child.

My luck the next time I go to the zoo or any place with animals PETA will ask me if I got the written permission of the animals before shooting.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,190
1,769
Canada
Rights are superseded by social responsibility.

For example, one has the right to free speech, but that does not mean you have the right to scream out "FIRE" is a crowded movie theatre.. Similarly, you have the right to take pictures in public places (varies depending on what country you are in and which public space), but in doing so, do you have the right to harass someone to get that picture? .... and everyone is going to have a different definition and a different threshold...

If your actions as a photographer are "pushing someone over the edge", you can either try to de-escalate things, or if that fails, leave. Push them over the edge and who knows what will happen... but the safe bet is that both parties loose.
 

Meh

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 20, 2011
702
0
Definitely a good idea to speak to the coach and/or other parents before hanging around a ball field or hockey arena taking photos of kids. Even better, if you're just looking to practice sports photography shoot a men's league and still let them know who you are... they might even buy some photos :D
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,190
1,769
Canada
ams2d said:
Understand the way society has become because of how other people actions they want to error on the side of caution or "bad" instead of giving some slack. Smart phones are far more prevalent than cameras today and someone walking around with a DSLR and a lens walking openly in public spaces in my opinion does not scream “this person must be up to no good”. I would have asked did he check all the smart phones in the area to make certain there wasn’t someone taking pictures of his kids because the percentage of that happening would likely be greater.
It's not about danger... it's about the appearance of danger... The cell phones are tiny and go unnoticed. The DSLR, particularly with a "big white" mounted on it, screams out "look at me" and you get noticed. People have watched so many stupid television shows that they are loosing connection to the real world and have trouble putting things in perspective.
 

Meh

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 20, 2011
702
0
Don Haines said:
Rights are superseded by social responsibility.
I get your point, but you're overstating it. Rights can not be superseded... otherwise it wouldn't be a right. But there are limits to certain rights... you have the right to free speech but that does not include inciting a riot by falsely screaming fire. It also doesn't include harassing people. Similarly, taking photos of people in public is not prohibited (and this has been held up in court cases I believe) but following someone around taking photos of them day after day could cross a line into harassment.
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
Don Haines said:
ams2d said:
Understand the way society has become because of how other people actions they want to error on the side of caution or "bad" instead of giving some slack. Smart phones are far more prevalent than cameras today and someone walking around with a DSLR and a lens walking openly in public spaces in my opinion does not scream “this person must be up to no good”. I would have asked did he check all the smart phones in the area to make certain there wasn’t someone taking pictures of his kids because the percentage of that happening would likely be greater.
It's not about danger... it's about the appearance of danger... The cell phones are tiny and go unnoticed. The DSLR, particularly with a "big white" mounted on it, screams out "look at me" and you get noticed. People have watched so many stupid television shows that they are loosing connection to the real world and have trouble putting things in perspective.
It may be something else: if you take photos of public spaces, and people happen to be in those photos (e.g. museum) then it's OK. If you zoom in on individuals then it's not OK. Cell phones don't yet zoom well, and they're slow. I think people know that if you're in a cell phone photo it shouldn't be a surprise.
 

unfocused

EOS 1D MK II
Jul 20, 2010
5,045
1,428
66
Springfield, IL
www.mgordoncommunications.com
Orangutan said:
...If you zoom in on individuals then it's not OK...
In an ethical sense, that might be true. But from a purely legal standpoint it isn't.

There is no automatic right to privacy in public spaces (in the U.S. at least). If you are in public, you should expect that you can have your picture taken by anyone. How they use that picture is another matter – editorial or artistic use okay, commercial endorsement of the can of Coke you're holding in your hand is not okay.

Don't want to hijack the thread, but did want to make sure that was clear.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,190
1,769
Canada
Meh said:
Don Haines said:
Rights are superseded by social responsibility.
I get your point, but you're overstating it. Rights can not be superseded... otherwise it wouldn't be a right. But there are limits to certain rights... you have the right to free speech but that does not include inciting a riot by falsely screaming fire. It also doesn't include harassing people. Similarly, taking photos of people in public is not prohibited (and this has been held up in court cases I believe) but following someone around taking photos of them day after day could cross a line into harassment.
Actually, rights can be superseded and often are. Take free speech... you have a right to free speech but that right is superseded (in law and repeatedly upheld by the courts) both by what is known as the "fire exemption" (yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre) and various anti-hate laws and slander laws.

In Canada, almost all civil rights can be suspended under "The War Measures Act". All these things are done for the good of society...

Also in Canada, someone took the Federal Government to court because the navy warships were not wheelchair accessible. (We have a law about all government facilities MUST be wheelchair accessible) The court challenge was thrown out because to make the ships wheelchair accessible would have endangered the rest of the crew.

To quote Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"
 

jdramirez

EOS 5D MK IV
May 31, 2011
2,944
0
42
You can always wear a burka. They are fashionable, GREAT in the summer, and hide your face extremely well.
 
Sep 24, 2012
60
1
www.rudoffphoto.com
Note to original poster: alas, your experience is ubiquitous. Morons think they know either photography or the law (and know neither), and feel as though they have the right to brace you about shooting. They don't. Period. My response is to start off easy: 'I am a local photographer, here's my card, I do a lot of street shooting, which is what I am doing. Wanna see a few of my pictures?' (A few bucks for a business card is money well-spent.) If they persist, I tell them they are interfering with me, and please leave.' If they persist, I put on my 'I'm planning a left thoracotomy for you' look and say 'If you have a problem, call the police. If you don't, I'll call the police, and then you will really have a problem.' I rarely get to step 3, but I have.
Remember that you have every right to shoot whatever is publicly available, not because you are a respected surgeon (as am I), but because you are an American citizen exercising your rights in public. (This varies overseas.) The literature on the rights of street photographers (professional and otherwise) is extensive; you may want to look at NPPA's website, and there is a host of others.
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
jdramirez said:
You can always wear a burka. They are fashionable, GREAT in the summer, and hide your face extremely well.
jdramirez does an excellent job of using reductio ad absurdum to illustrate the fact that law has, perhaps, not kept up with modern society. In our world, one would have to go to extreme, even absurd, measures to be free of the intrusions of wannabe paparazzi with long telephoto lenses. The image of the burka, with its allusion to the disempowered, evokes the timeless argument that the law only protects those who are aware that their image has been misused, and have the resources to pursue remedy in the courts.

Thank you, jdramirez, for your concise and elegant contribution.
 

Orangutan

EOR R
Sep 25, 2010
2,140
3
johnrudoff@yahoo.com said:
Remember that you have every right to shoot whatever is publicly available
And they have the right to insult and berate you for it; neither is civil. If you wish to claim every millimeter of the law, you must concede to others the same.
 
May 8, 2013
1,853
1
Independent of whether the guy was or was not a jerk, it is important to recognize that this person did not know the photographer, the photographer's background, nor the photographer's intentions. This person was acting only on what he observed (kids, dogs, photographer, taking pictures) and his interpretation (flawed or otherwise). That does not make this person's actions right, but it does make them understandable.

When the person told the photographer "don't take pictures of the kids", a simple smile and an answer of "don't worry, I won't" might have settled the issue. If I felt it was necessary, I would have moved to another spot where my lens is not pointing where the kids are. Is that giving into a bully? Yup. But this is not the time for ego to govern our actions.

The key is NOT to escallate the issue by either arguing with the person or worse taking action. The goal is to get the pictures you wanted without getting into a confrontation.

It is unfortunate that we do seen to be in the middle of a "war against photography" Often we are called upon to justify or at least explain our actions. It is not right, it is not fair. I wish it weren't so. But it is.

I wish I knew what the solution is, but I do know that responding in an assertative manner and "making sure they saw me take their picture" ain't it.
 

mdrewpix

I'm New Here
Sep 17, 2012
15
0
As a news photographer, I am very accustomed to being questioned - accused - like this although I have to say it doesn't happen all that often. Generally I just ignore the person or ask them not to bother me. That usually works.
Having been in the news business for a very long time I can tell you that in general, as a subject, if you are in view of the general public, you can be photographed. It doesn't matter whether it's in a public park or in the picture window of your home, if you are in view of anyone passing by you are fair game.
As was mentioned before, taking pictures in public areas is perfectly legal in Canada and most places around the world.
But in no circumstance can you go on private property to take photos without permission. An earlier post suggested that a museum was a public place. It is not. Nor are shopping malls or libraries. Nor their parking lots.
If you are on a public street and see something happening in a parking lot or through the window of a building, you can shoot. But you can't walk around in a museum or any other private building or its adjacent property taking pictures without permission.
That, of course, only covers actually taking the photographs. What is done with them later is a whole other thing.
But the perception in the public that any person with a camera is a pervert in training - or in practice - is an unfortunate one. I don't know what we can do to change it.