That’s what I said was the difference between what I did and what this creep did, only I wasn’t talking to him, I was addressing another creep who made the same quote he did “I am allowed to take pictures of people in public places, I don’t need their permission.” He proceeded to show me his photographs after having interrupted a conversation I had with an artist I was photographing with her permission.
“You see, I said, you are acting like a creep, like a paparazzi, like a stalker, like a voyeur and that’s the difference between what you do and what I do. I get people’s permission to photograph them. I respect them. I respect their rights and their privacy. That’s the difference between a creative photographer like me and an Asshole like you. You’re not an artist, you are a voyeur and you’re making excuses.”
Then I explained to my friend the artist what I was talking about, “Where do you draw the line?” I asked her “When a sexual predator gets bored with taking photos of people and starts photographing up women’s skirts, or when a pedophile starts photographing children? Where does it end? When do you set boundaries? And how are those photos going to be used?”
My words had shocked her. She admit, she hadn’t thought about it that way.
The first creep is the one I photographed. I was doing a photo session with permission of a tango teacher and her student in front of the Art museum. He came out from around a car with his camera. “Who are you? I asked. Who are you with? what company do you work with?” He had refused to give his name, had refused to disclose who he was with, who he worked for, nor give a business card. This guy had red flags written all over him. He was creeping me out as well when he would moan about a shot. Literally. I stopped the photo shoot, got louder and told him to ask the tango teacher her permission before continuing to photograph her. That’s when he arrogantly stated that he didn’t have to ask permission of people in public places. So I went up to the tango teacher and asked her if she was ok with it or did she want him to stop. She said it was ok. It was her decision.
1 in 5 women have been the victims of stalking, rape, and sexual harassment. Predatory behavior and grooming begins long before the act of crime.
Which brings me to the point I made to the artist friend of mine. “This guy’s a follower, creeps teach each other how to act. This was a teaching moment. Maybe he’ll think twice about it next time.”
I have one regret. Not photographing the second creep. I think this how I will make my protest. Photographing these guys photographing people without their permission. Then posting their photos while writing articles about how they are violating people’s rights to privacy.
As for the guy in the photo, ironically, that same day I dealt with him, I saw him again, coming into the coffee shot, this time limping. “You again! I said loudly, following me too?” It was a rhetorical question. I noticed he was limping and imagined him getting kicked in the shins by someone who had enough of his disrespect or maybe he tripped after trying to outrun a jealous husband or boyfriend or someone who was chasing him to give him a piece of their protest.
Use your gifts for good, not evil.