Yesterday’s experience on the street, being caught in the act, left me thinking. Did I do something wrong? What made these two women make the wrong assumption? What made them see me as a creep, a dirty old man?
I do believe it was more about their issues than me taking photos. Maybe a bad experience or so. I am not saying I blame it all on them but such a violent reaction must come from somewhere.
I try to be respectful, I don’t jump on people or flash them out of nowhere like a Bruce Gilden for example. I love his work but his style is not something I could adopt.
When I hit the streets I prefer to use the candid style and thus as inconspicuous as possible. I avoid eye contact but if I am caught I smile and say thank you. I almost always get a smile back.
Sometimes I ask permission to make a street portrait and I immediately explain why. I have been, friendly, rejected, it happens and then I smile and walk away. No hard feelings.
I don’t shoot children and avoid the homeless but I would ask the latter for permission if I feel it is an image worth to be taken.
I would ask permission if my subject would be out of the ordinary, Diane Arbus style albeit I am not sure if I would photograph this group of people as I would feel I am exploiting them in some way or another.
So I try to be respectful, document and avoid taking an image that in any way ridicules my subject.
Don’t forget I am still new at this and still growing and gathering experience.