Monday, September 8, 2008

An Aside: Now COME ON, this is just too much!

I ran across this thread on the Digital Photography School forum where a member posted this insane article. A father was apparently branded as a pervert from passersby who saw him take photographs of his OWN children while they played at a public park.

I hope to God that this is a prank article and I, like everyone else who responded to this thread got hoodwinked because I'd rather look like a fool than believe we live in a society that has been so overcome by paranoia and fear. Now don't get me wrong; I understand how the nefarious actions of individuals who do prey on children could have all of our "Spidey-senses" on alert for any assumed threat. But after this man showed that he was the father of these two little boys, that should have been the end of it. Are we getting "way too perv sensitive" as one of my editors said when she read the article?

Maybe I'm a bit more touchy about this subject after what happened to me this weekend while I was shooting the Denver Food and Wine Festival for the Auraria Higher Education Campus. I had been patiently waiting to snap a shot of participant signing up a silent auction item. After making several passes throughout the event, I finally happened upon someone who was bidding on some wine. I took several quick shots of him only to have him stand up, put his hand in front of my camera and yell at me that he didn't want his photos on my Myspace page and storm off.

First of all, people have to assume that if they go to a public event like this, they will likely be photographed. Second of all, I explained to him I was working for the campus, taking photos for their business website and I had credentials to show it. And thirdly, chill, already.

Am I wrong here? I may have to chew on it some more. Mind you, at the same event, I took tons of shots of the only baby that seemed to be at this primarily adult event and the Mom loved the shots. Guess you just never know how someone is going to react when you whip out a camera.


gcmandrake said...

I've been reading about this for sometime. I suspect that some of it is magnified by the power of the Internet, but some of it is real. There are some places that I am more nervous about taking out my SLR rather than my point and shoot camera. This is a link to Bruce Schneier's security blog entry on the War on Photography

Sheba Wheeler said...

Thanks for posting that. I will check it out. I don't feel nearly as self-righteous today, but it still upsets me. :)Does using a smaller camera help you blend in more and get less of a reaction than using your SLR?

Sheba Wheeler said...

GC, I just finished reading that post about the War on Photography and it was definitely interesting. I have been wanting to take a group of photographers out for a night photography shoot at DIA but was told we couldn't do it because we would be arrested. I've even been kicked out of some buildings downtown when a security guard caught me taking photos of the flowers they had in pots in the lobby! Jeez. It's a crazy world out there. People already are suspicous of now that I've added photography to my bag of tricks, does that make me doubly suspectible? :)

gcmandrake said...


I've been told (and read) that an SLR is more "threatening" than P&S (point and shoot). I suspect that people associate the smaller cameras with "tourist" and don't get flustered. When I can't bring my real camera with me I have a very small Canon SD-20 which is actually quite good, even though it doesn't have an optical zoom. Some of my best pictures on Flickr were taken with that camera. I've been toying with the idea of getting a Canon G9 (or even better a Leica M4). I've been taking pictures with an SLR for more than 36 years (yikes!) and I'm not about to stop.

Sheba Wheeler said...

I have a Canon G9 I keep with me at all times, and it's a great camera that thinks it's a SLR! You can go fully manual and even put an external flash on it. I think you are right...when I'm fully equipped with my DSLR, a Gary Fong diffuser, a battery pack, an external flash ontop of a Stroboframe and my heavy backpack, I would think that would be threatening to some. It's something to definitely consider as far as perspective and how you want people to perceive you.

gcmandrake said...

I came across a web site this afternoon: Photo Attorney that I thought you might find interesting.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Thanks. I've been following Carolyn or a while!

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