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Thread: Social problems with photography

  1. #1

    Default Social problems with photography

    Hi,

    This evening I decided to take my 828 and my new monopod and shoot some random pictures. First, I tried to take a few zooms, so I setup on the little balcony just outside the door of my house (i'm on the 2nd floor). There were some young people sitting downstairs and they could see me with my cam and I made no attempt at hiding myself as I wasn't taking pictures of them, I wanted shots of the buildings in the distance. Not 2 minutes into my session, some of the girls sitting there start screaming "video camera! video camera!" and run off. Geez. The cam wasn't even pointed anywhere near them. Then this dude in a group sitting near these girls sees me and decides to get all gangsta on my a$$. He storms up the staircase and tries to make as much noise as possible coming up only to ask me, "are you taking pictures of me?". So I showed him the LCD, "look, can you see the ground where your friends are in this frame?" I had to adjust the angle of the ball head just to get them. After seeing all this, he apologised and ran off.

    Peachy, I thought, let's go take some pics of the moon and go to sleep. I managed to get some pretty decent pics of the moon, handheld with my CP5700, so I thought let's try this out with my fancy monopod and the 828. So I was outside, in the playground next to my block, with the lens pointing *straight up* and those girls went past again and they started screaming "video camera!" again!! (these are screams of terror, not delight, *I* was frightened) The worst part is, I had my back to them. And my moon shots sucked.

    What the heck is up with people? Are we not allowed to show a camera in public? Has anyone else had problems like this? Is camera fright really that bad?

    Hmmm... Is this an FAQ?

  2. #2
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    some people are just too sensitive to the ultrasonic whirring of the mechanism in the camera - IGNORE them and SHOOT your stuff

    *so long you are really NOT shooting at them

    *for more ethnical issues with street photography, just do a search .. willl satisfy your reading quota for a week.. heh heh heh

  3. #3

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    If there are guys getting all gangsta, I'd walk away. If necessary, I'd even apologise.

    It's not worth getting beaten up, or worse, having your camera destroyed.

    Sure, you're compromising your principles and being bullied, but what's that worth to you? The moon will still be there when they're long gone.

    Be aware that some people may be looking for excuses to fight, or even blackmail you to extort money, "confiscate" your camera, etc.

  4. #4
    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    agree with Streetshooter...

    I don like to shoot people and focus on architecture and weird stuff but I have people coming up to me and say, "I can see you from my kitchen and I am suspicious". I just tell them what I am doing and usually they are satisfied and walked over.

    Sometimes if my mood is bad, I ask them if they see a white man with a camera walking around, do they safely assume he is a tourist and let him be? And that because my skin was yellow, they think I am a local. THis I OFTEN tell the Esplanade security who tell me cannot photography the building. I just point to the white man with the video cam and say why cant white men be terrorist and I insist that the security go and confront the white men. I told him if he fails to do so I will have to take down his name and complain to Esplanade management about racist attitude of its staff. That frightens him off in a hurry.


  5. #5

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    Negative reactions by people in public places to being photographed stem partially from the fear that the photo or video images may be used against them. For example, secret photographs taken by private investigators acting on behalf of an estranged spouse, or hidden videocam footage taken by perverts to be posted on a sleazy website. The list goes on. Some time ago, I was wandering around Little India for some street shots, and a man who was cutting up cardboard cartons by the road told/warned me not to photograph him, lest his pictures come out in the newspapers or on TV (Obviously he had no idea that a proper news photographer will be using a DSLR and not a digicam!). The perceptions of many people you meet on the streets of Singapore today are skewed towards the potential dangers of being photographed in public. However, this can be gradually changed by greater public awareness that there are genuine photo enthusiasts out there who mean no harm, love their hobby, and derive no greater pleasure than to capture magical images that live on forever.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiansong
    Sometimes if my mood is bad, I ask them if they see a white man with a camera walking around, do they safely assume he is a tourist and let him be? And that because my skin was yellow, they think I am a local. THis I OFTEN tell the Esplanade security who tell me cannot photography the building. I just point to the white man with the video cam and say why cant white men be terrorist and I insist that the security go and confront the white men. I told him if he fails to do so I will have to take down his name and complain to Esplanade management about racist attitude of its staff. That frightens him off in a hurry.


    hmm.. interesting... and I tot your size a lone is enough to scare them off...
    hmm...

  7. #7
    Moderator sebastiansong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluestrike
    hmm.. interesting... and I tot your size a lone is enough to scare them off...
    hmm...

    nothing interesting about this... I feel you are discounting the fact that skin color has a lot to do in local context. Maybe you have yet to encounter it but I have seen it often to take note of it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiansong
    agree with Streetshooter...

    I don like to shoot people and focus on architecture and weird stuff but I have people coming up to me and say, "I can see you from my kitchen and I am suspicious". I just tell them what I am doing and usually they are satisfied and walked over.

    Sometimes if my mood is bad, I ask them if they see a white man with a camera walking around, do they safely assume he is a tourist and let him be? And that because my skin was yellow, they think I am a local. THis I OFTEN tell the Esplanade security who tell me cannot photography the building. I just point to the white man with the video cam and say why cant white men be terrorist and I insist that the security go and confront the white men. I told him if he fails to do so I will have to take down his name and complain to Esplanade management about racist attitude of its staff. That frightens him off in a hurry.

    hmmm..

    That should work most of the time.

    Now, everybody please GIVE the same response, otherwise that security person will still pull that same stunt on all honest local photographers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiansong
    nothing interesting about this... I feel you are discounting the fact that skin color has a lot to do in local context. Maybe you have yet to encounter it but I have seen it often to take note of it.


    you should ask the guard "ang moh tua kee?"

    we must do something about it!

  10. #10
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    hey guys, let's get back to helping the chap.

    dementate, i'm not sure how close you are to the people from your place such that they can spot you. i dont think people will typically "look up" for cameras in use, although you are staying on the 2nd level. maybe you might wanna go to a higher storey to try it out?

    alternatively... try shooting without the monopod. people may perceive the usage of a monopod to be a stereotype of someone who's not just testing out a camera, but potentially using it to steady a videocamera for some videotaping.

    another thing is to "be steady" and be very sure of what you're doing - if you show the least bit of being unsure, people will suspect what you're doing anyway

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetShooter

    It's not worth getting beaten up, or worse, having your camera destroyed.
    hhmmm......now we know what StreetShooter's priorities are

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetShooter
    If there are guys getting all gangsta, I'd walk away. If necessary, I'd even apologise.

    It's not worth getting beaten up, or worse, having your camera destroyed.

    Sure, you're compromising your principles and being bullied, but what's that worth to you? The moon will still be there when they're long gone.

    Be aware that some people may be looking for excuses to fight, or even blackmail you to extort money, "confiscate" your camera, etc.
    You're right, if this was anywhere else, I'd have been more communicative with the guy, in this case, I have seen him and his friends before, they usually just sit there all day and night long smoking, drinking and playing around, so I know that they aren't "famous" and are just looking for something different to do.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by sehsuan
    hey guys, let's get back to helping the chap.

    dementate, i'm not sure how close you are to the people from your place such that they can spot you. i dont think people will typically "look up" for cameras in use, although you are staying on the 2nd level. maybe you might wanna go to a higher storey to try it out?

    alternatively... try shooting without the monopod. people may perceive the usage of a monopod to be a stereotype of someone who's not just testing out a camera, but potentially using it to steady a videocamera for some videotaping.

    another thing is to "be steady" and be very sure of what you're doing - if you show the least bit of being unsure, people will suspect what you're doing anyway
    They were about 15-20 meters away but the group of girls were facing me, so in the course of their animated discussion the must have seen me.

    Thanks for the advice dude, being my first time encountering stuff like this, I went with my instincts and I was "steady". And now I know what to do from the experts

  14. #14

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    on that day, how did your physical appearance look like? eg if your hair is long and u didnt tidy it and if u had sloppy clothes...then it may give u the "psycho" image ie the wrong kind of image. but my take is that u r just unlucky to bump into a bunch of people who a paranoid

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