Caught in the act


It is said that there is a first time for everything.
It is true.
It was bound to happen.

I am still at home but feeling slightly better. Saturday’s therapy session did help me very much.

Monday morning means market in our main street. Photographing helps me fight my demons so I decided to stroll over the market and look for some interesting street photos.

After a long walk I came back home and downloaded the images on my computer. Made some coffee and then decided to hit the street a second time.

I did some grocery shopping at the same time and when I turned around, ready to go home, it started to rain again.

I held my grocery bag in my left hand and the small, black and unobtrusive Ricoh GR 2 in my right hand. People opened their umbrellas so I shot from low, camera pointing upwards in order to get their expressions.

I have become quite good at avoiding eye-contact when doing candid shooting. When I see an interesting person walking in my direction I frame discretely, stop and look at a window display, peeking from the corner of my eye and pressing the shutter button.

Two colorful dressed mid-aged women with umbrellas walked by and I shot and I immediately knew this was not going to go well as I sensed the had noticed.

The time for them to process what they (thought) had seen took a little longer than I had anticipated. I continued walking leisurely and then heard yelling “Sir what are you doing?” Sure enough the two women came in hasty pace towards me looking mad.

“I am a street photographer,” I said friendly, giving them my broadest and most sincere smile.

“You are photographing woman’s legs,” one of them said, spitting out each word in disgust. Her eyes flaming, surrounded by an unnatural brown skin, already in decay as a result, I guessed, of heavy smoking.

“Not at all,” I replied, still smiling, “I shoot street scenes.”
“You cannot do that, it is illegal,” the other lady told me.

“No,” I said, “not in a public place if it is not for commercial use. I love to take photographs on the street, interesting subjects like yourselves. Documenting everyday life. Of course if you wish I’ll delete your pictures.”

“You are taking pictures of woman’s legs,” the other lady said with repulsion, “show them.”
“And delete ours,” the other lady yelled.
Hell, those two were really upset.

So I showed them my images and asked to point out those they wanted to be deleted.

“OMG!!”, the smoker yelled, “there are people on your images!!!” The disgust in her voice resonated over the whole market. I could just as well have shown her kiddy porn. People stopped and looked at us.

“That is why they call it street photography,” I replied, smiling and calm but with some sarcasm in my voice, “Google it, you might learn something.”

“You are not photographing the street, you are photographing people, sicko!!!” she repeated, this time the disgust in her voice was enveloped with hate.
She looked at me, eyes still flaming mad. “Stupid son of a bitch,” she yelled.

It was time to go, this was going nowhere. I did not delete their photos; in the end it did not matter. It was not about me taking photographs, it was about something bigger. Something I could not, cannot comprehend. Sometimes we are victim of past experiences or whatever, unable to control our emotions.

I choose not to take that path and fantasize what could have ignited these two women.

So I politely said goodbye.
“Idiot,” the smoker yelled behind my back, “get a life, do something useful, poor sucker.”

I half expected they would follow me and send the cops over to my place.
They didn’t.

Hand (2016) Ricoh GR II
Hand (2016)
Ricoh GR II

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7 thoughts on “Caught in the act”

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ I must admit, looking back I would not have wanted to miss such a moment as it spices a day and helps build experience to coop with such rare situations.

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  1. Some people, you just can’t help Stephan.

    It sounds like you handled it well–I am sorry you had to go through it.

    At least you had the courtesy to show them them the photos.

    M.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark, yes, I was very surprised by their effusive reaction. Showing the photos is a normal thing to do, they have every right and it is a way to calm them down. When somebody asks me why I took a picture I tell them I found them interesting, special clothes or explain I document for non-commercial reasons everyday life. This and a smile works almost every time. I guess in this case it was about their issues, maybe a bad experience. Yet I found it interesting as it helps me cooping even better whenever there is a next “incident” like the one I experienced.
      Take care,
      Stephan

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