I take pictures. I write stuff. None of it can be considered groundbreaking but it’s apparent that I have a slight knack for both so I have as much fun as I can.
Let’s get one thing clear: in the United States of America it is NOT against the law to photograph anyone who is in a public space, i.e. a park, sidewalk, street or shopping mall. Regardless of age, gender, race or profession, if you’re going about your business and as long as it’s not in a restroom, dressing room or hospital room, you may be subject to being photographed by a person like me. When you’re out of your house, there is NO legal infringement if someone takes your (or your child’s/spouse’s/grandmother’s) picture whether you want them to or not.
Shooting people is always best when they don’t realize they’re being photographed, candid moments are rich in spontaneity and realism. Unless it’s portraiture or a studio shoot, catching people in natural environments usually yield the most interesting images.
I almost explained all of this to the lady who pooped her pants in front of me after I took a picture of her small child while he was playing on the sidewalk but thought better of it.
She demanded that I ask permission before taking pictures of her kid and part of me understood her paranoia/fear/lack of appreciating artistry because I’ve watched television and seen people like Nancy Grace. I’ve read horror stories about…blah blah blah. But to approach me and make me feel as though I had done some terrible disservice to her child’s privacy, well, that’s just wrong. I can make an absurd list of things I could have done wrong in front of her child but shooting a photograph would not have been one of them. But she didn’t know me from anyone she sees on Law and Order so I let her rant while I held my tongue until I apologized.
She’ll get over it and will likely forget the whole exchange ever happened. I, on the other hand, will always have this picture that’s worth at least a thousand privacy violations.