My first confrontation

I’ve been engaged in the practice of street photography for around two years and until about a week ago, had never had anyone challenge me regarding my taking photos in public places.

I know that the fear of having this happen is common among street photographers and I’ve heard all of the justifications regarding the fact that taking photos of people in public places is unquestionably permissible.  But I finally had someone question what I was doing.

At the moment the confrontation occurred, I was standing in the shade, leaning against a building at a busy intersection.  I hadn’t taken a shot in several minutes.

As I stood there, a rather large gentleman walked up to me and said, “Did you just take my picture?

I was caught a bit off guard by his question given that I hadn’t raised my camera to my eye for some time.  I responded, “A picture of you? Why would I do that?”  (To be honest, he wasn’t that photogenic, nor likely to be a participant in a “decisive moment” any time soon.)

My wife said you took my picture.

I raised the camera in my hand, I suppose to indicate that it had been hanging unused at my side, and said, “Nope, I haven’t taken any pictures of you.

He paused for effect, turned slowly, walked a short distance to where his car was parked, got in, and drove off.

As the popular saying goes, “Remain Calm….”, respond honestly and if you did take a shot of someone who objects to that having occurred, smile and delete the image. Statistically speaking, it probably wasn’t a keeper anyway.