So I’m on the westbound Queen Streetcar with my weapon of choice around my neck. Suddenly, unprovoked and out of nowhere, this short old lady sporting a pixie cut and dark shades starts to ask me very tursly if I’m taking photos of people. Before I could even say anything she tells me that I shouldn’t be photographing people without their permission, and babbles on about consent and blah-blah-blah. Rightfully I tell her I’m not doing anything and she says she doesn’t believe me. I mean … what is this, the inquisition? I’m being told this and I haven’t even found a subject interesting enough on the streetcar to photograph. Who is this bitch? She’s treating me like some fucking predator. Please! Like we need to go over that stupid shit again. So I move away to prevent a scene from happening while calling her a degenerate and take a seat. As time goes by and as she is getting off, I slowly move back into the same spot where I was. When she finally got off, I took back my spot.
Let’s be clear on one of the simple rules I follow:
If I’m caught when I’m about to take someone’s photo by that person, I either run away, or put down my camera, or ask if I could take their photograph.
If I ask someone if I could take their photo, and they say no, I respect that. I don’t try to discreetly try to take their photo afterwards. That’s different from being told not to photograph anyone by someone I’m not photographing, and to make a big scene out of it.
But you know what? From now on, every time I meet someone who tells me I shouldn’t be taking photographs of people, as in of anyone or on anywhere … I’m going to photograph them, or at least threaten to photograph them if they keep it up and if they fail, I’ll photograph them and post them in this series along with a little story of the incident. Little militaristic, true, but it’s a way some photographers should fight back against pests that cause trouble for no reason. I’m a photographer. They aren’t. I photograph what’s happening around me, on the street. Street life. Street photography. I’m a little apprehensive about photographing homeless people … who aren’t sleeping or passed out or who don’t catch me photographing them. I’m also on public transit, so if you don’t like it that I’m taking pictures of people, don’t bother me or you’ll get your picture taken.