Today I took my camera down to Beverly Hills to capture some street photos. There were lots of shoppers out on this very warm and sunny day.
I have shot before in this area. I always am amazed that people will walk up to me and ask if I’m waiting for someone important to walk out of a store or restaurant…merely because I have a camera. Especially in Beverly Hills, a DSLR is an indication to the ignorant that you most likely are a professional paparazzi. You’re tailing some celebrity and selling your work to the tabloids….
Like the incident the other day in Van Nuys, at the Valley Municipal Building, where my photography caused a lady to suspect me of malfeasance, it is remarkable how carrying a Nikon makes others uncomfortable. We have come to a point in our society, where people make private phone calls in public, discussing the most intimate and personal matters. But photography is sometimes thought of as someone else’s business. We don’t walk up to strangers on their mobile phones and ask, “Who are you talking to?”
We dress like slobs on the street, use language that would have embarrassed our grandparents and nobody objects. Yet security guards, strangers and others are actively policing and harassing photographers, threatening and discouraging the right to photograph public buildings and people on the street.