We’ve all been there. You’ve just taken possibly your best picture of the day and the subject says ‘No!’ – or ‘you can’t take my photo’. Fortunately, it happens very rarely but when it does, how should you react?
Well, let’s start with the legal standpoint. In almost all circumstances, provided your are on public land and not cause nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress, you are perfectly within your rights to photograph who you wish, whether they like it or not. If they don’t like it, what do you do? There are a number of possibilities . . .
Well, you could agree with them and either don’t take their picture or delete the image you have just taken. For me, as a photojournalist, the latter goes against the grain and is a last resort. You will need to make a judgement as to how much you want that picture (or to what extent you will not back down as a matter of principle). If the person is twice your size, extremely angry, aggressive or threatening, you may think it’s worth backing off. Move on and find someone else. If you feel you are in control of the situation, however, I would suggest you persevere.
Whist out shooting with a group of course students in Shoreditch last weekend*, we were challenged by some kind of ‘street enforcement officer’ with a fluorescent jacket who noticed that a few of us had taken his picture. He demanded to know what we were doing and why we were doing it – and told us to stop. He was quite aggressive and it would have been easy to back down. But no, why should we? So I smiled, calmly explained that we were perfectly within our rights, were doing nothing wrong and that it was none of his business. His reaction? He grumbled a bit and stormed off, knowing full well that he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
(Actually, I’m glad this encounter took place because it gave me the perfect opportunity to put into practice something I had been explaining to students earlier about ethics and the law.)
So, assuming you intend to ‘win’, it may be just that the subject needs reassurance as to your motives. Often by saying that you’re a street photographer, or are working on a student / camera club photography project or something similar, the heat of the situation may well dissipate vente pfizer viagra.
Another tactic is simply to smile. A big smile is often disarming, almost always diffuses tension and leads to a conversation rather than a confrontation.
The best tactic, however, is refine your shooting technique to the point where you’re not spotted in the first place! There is plenty you can do to blend in and become ‘invisible’ on the streets. Read my previous blog article about this for some in-depth tips.
* I’ll see if I can update this post later with a few pics of the encounter.