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RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

But ... I'm in places where a permit is NOT REQUIRED. 100% of the time the officers have found me to be in the right. But there mood/tone is still lacking understanding of the "why" and they typically suggest that it is "best for all concerned" if I "move along".

This isn't about me needing a permit or permission ... this is about me trying to foster some (key word "some) understanding to those who don't understand.



Skarkowtsky
Registered: Feb 22, 2009
Total Posts: 1420
Country: United States

I get you, and I stated my position to what you just posted above me. I don't think they're going to care much. They'll respond to the call, some will agree with you, and some won't.

Those that agree with you won't need to see a promo, and the ones that disagree won't be convinced, but will insist you leave, or point your lens in a different direction.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

Skarkowtsky wroteeople were paranoid about, even if I was standing in a public spot on the ground.


I get the officers responding to the call ... I appreciate their sense of duty and share that perspective with them. In fact, one of the detectives is himself an avid photographer and we have had this discussion. Actually, this stems from part of my discussions with he and some of his fellow officers that I need to develop something to show the public that might alleviate some of that paranoid suspicion and thus mitigate the following call to law enforcement ... prevention vs. cure kinda thing.

Anyway ... a few bucks for a couple of cards isn't that big of a deal, particularly if it can help me keep the mood / tone of my perspective on task.

+1 @ probably not changing minds too much ... but law enforcement has been asking me repeatedly to show them some evidence (such as a card) of my credibility to being a "photographer / artist". They seem to hinge on the card as somehow being indicative of propriety. Okay, I'll play.

That to me is kinda silly ... anybody can make up a card. To me, there's no real credibility in a card itself. The credibility (to this endeavor) is in the image and the ability to claim it, own it and discuss it. That then corroborates my propriety of my presence (not that it really needs corroboration, because I'm JQP in a JQP domain) ... but I'm just trying to create a piece that will do what others have been clamoring for ... mitigate their suspicion, and provide some form of evidence that I should be taken seriously for what I'm doing.

It shouldn't be that I need to offer such at all, but if it helps (even a little) then it'll be nice to not be as impacted by so much suspicion.



Skarkowtsky
Registered: Feb 22, 2009
Total Posts: 1420
Country: United States

Out of curiosity, what are you photographing, and how close is it to the public eye that there always seems to be other people wandering around, paying attention to your activity?



Eyeball
Registered: Jan 11, 2005
Total Posts: 3755
Country: Mexico

The more I read your explanations, the more I think that a jacket with your name/logo/etc. would be more effective as I mentioned before. Here's my logic in a little more detail:

- The cops don't want to be hassled over a non-event.
- It is easier for them to discourage you than it is to discourage the general public from reporting strange behavior.
- Therefore, the ideal objective is to try to get the public to not make those calls.
- A "defense card" is not going to discourage people who are going to call the cops without approaching you (apparently that has happened).
- Having your name and vocation clearly visible has a chance at least of discouraging that initial call. They see your name and they see what you're about.
- If they do happen to call anyway, they have the opportunity to identify you by name to the dispatcher with the chance that the dispatcher can kill the inquiry then and there.

This is also just something for you to think about. If you decide to go ahead with your "defense card", I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to make it as close to a normal business card as possible, including your phone and email. For people that DO approach you, you don't want to create additional suspicion by handing them something out of the ordinary or something that may have the implication that you are hiding something (like your phone number, for example). You need something that is going to break the chain of suspicion, not add to it.



Skarkowtsky
Registered: Feb 22, 2009
Total Posts: 1420
Country: United States

That's a brilliant idea, Eyeball. I think it's a fair compromise, Kent.

Develop the card into an actual business card, buy a jacket a surplus shop and shell out some dough at the embroidery hut in the Mall. Have the jacket logo match the business card and posture yourself as a professional, with a unified brand.

I think that will help with anyone who gets close enough to confront you, one-on-one.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

Random ... the last instance was me taking a picture of the post office / general store and train station in a small village. Another time it was taking pictures of a tennis ball/net at the tennis courts (where oh gee, people were playing on another court). Another time was standing on the street corner at night ... "evaluating" the location for a possible future shot (no images taken).

Sitting in my car, I took a picture of a restaurant sign (30 feet in the air) for a test shot. I had just purchased a new flash card, and wanted to make sure it worked before I left the area. Some lady called reported to people at Walmart that I was "up to no good" taking pictures of her (as if) ... that one got me surrounded by four squad cars ... State Police, City Police, County Sheriff and one unmarked detective (how I met the detective).

There's more, but you get the gist. Sometimes, I just stand out like a sore thumb and it freaks people out.



Skarkowtsky
Registered: Feb 22, 2009
Total Posts: 1420
Country: United States

Sounds like your neighbors have a lot of free time on their hands. Try Eyeball's suggestion. I think it's the solution.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

Hmmm ... @ no phone number = chain of suspicion.

+1 @ additional info @ attire (previously mentioned as part of future goal also). Additionally, I plan to get similar signage for my vehicle (although that can be construed as a possible "steal me sticker"). Sometimes I am in proximity to my vehicle, other times I'm afoot.

Dennis is spot on at prevention vs. cure and I'm right there with you guys. There are multiple scenarios as to how these things proceed / play out. No one thing (card or otherwise) is going to address them all. But, since I'm not "in business" looking for clients (in this personal work mode), I'm just not looking to plaster my phone number around to people that are adversarial. That being said ... most likely this application would not even result in (the adversarial) people keeping the card, but merely seeing it. Point noted, thanks again to all.



Camperjim
Registered: Oct 17, 2011
Total Posts: 1908
Country: United States

Thinking about this more has just caused me to have more questions. I am curious as to where and what or who you are shooting that is causing all of this concern. I have been all across the country including several urban areas and I have had only very minor issues. Mostly the issue has been no tripods. In some museums and galleries, photography is not allowed. And finally I was stopped at an airport and a ferry dock due to ill defined homeland security concerns. That is a pretty small list for years and tens of thousands of images.

I wonder if being a serious; i.e., professional photographer will cause more issues. I know that most of us are under the radar even if we sell some images, but professional photographers often face limitations and special fees. Those limitations apply at many parks, arboretums, gardens and other places where less serious photography is not questioned.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

Well, lets see if I can recap a few locations for you Jim:

Walking down my own street carrying long glass
Standing on a street corner at night
Parked on the side of the street across from the Post Office
On the street/sidewalk shooting a building ... homeowner comes out to inquire why I'm taking pictures of his car
Public park @ tennis court
Public park @ pond where joggers run by and people feed the geese & ducks
Parked in a parking lot where I had just purchased camera equipment (CF card)
Looking in windows of empty building (for sale) as a possible future studio ... on the list of empty properties the downtown development manager provided for to me to go look at.
On the roadside shoulder (permissive by county) ... nearby train tracks, nearby coal mine, nearby oil field (key word here is nearby, not on their property),
At public lake (sunset glimmer/glow).

On campus (where I was an attending art student). Once because I was walking across a field (no picture taking) past the daycare center (about 75 feet away) en route to a small watering hole where a local GBH visited on occasion. The allegation was that I might be going there to take pictures of the kids if they came outside to play.

Another on campus while taking a picture of a trash can's contents. My own art teacher (for whom I had previously presented some of my works to our class) reported me to security for taking pictures of students in the studio. I never had my camera in the studio, or ever even pointed my camera toward the studio. How do you even begin to explain the degree of paranoia associated with that one (I'm assuming one of the students complained at my proximity to the doorway/window)? Could she not have just come said something to me directly if it was freaking out someone.

BTW ... as I was walking across campus, there were plenty of other students taking pictures with SLR camera (likely photography students) and cell phones galore. Nobody says "boo" to them, yet I get "busted" for walking across a field and taking a picture of a trash can.

The first 2 or 3 times ... that was one thing, but I'm probably around 15-20 instances by now. Sadly, it has caused me to become somewhat "paranoid" now whenever I go out. It is interfering with how much I go out, and how much I'm able to "get lost" in my work. It seems as though I'm forever "on guard" now.

It seems that whenever people see a "real camera" pointed within 360 degrees of them or anything of theirs they somehow think I'm ... A) taking a picture of them or their stuff, B) taking a picture of something I'm not allowed to take a picture of, C) violating their rights, or D) endangering society by taking a picture with my camera.

I really didn't mean for this thread to go this direction ... I just wanted to know if you thought the image was indicative of someone who took their photography more seriously than the "Average Joe". I've written on this matter over the years in the Pro Forum and the Alt Forum ... so it isn't anything that has only recently developed.

It should be again noted / pointed out that in 100% of all cases involving the authorities I was found to have done no wrong. It isn't like I'm going out there and violating permits, rules, laws, etc. ... I'm just going out there where I'm supposed to have the liberty do so.

As an aside ... given my experiences ... I marvel whenever I see others post street photography with people's faces in the scene. I can't even imagine shooting that genre without incurring exponentially more of the above.

BTW ... as to the "WHO" I am shooting, the answer is typically "Nobody" (go figure) ... it is often the suspicion that I might be shooting someone (parking lot lady, day care kids, students, tennis players, joggers, duck feeders, homeowners, etc.) that gets everyone in a tizzy. Contrast that with the dirt bike riders or surfers who actually enjoyed giving me some "face time".



Camperjim
Registered: Oct 17, 2011
Total Posts: 1908
Country: United States

OMG, sounds like I would consider moving away from southern IL.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

The upside is that I happen to know first-hand how responsive and diligent to duty our law enforcement personnel are.



Oregon Gal
Registered: Nov 02, 2008
Total Posts: 1998
Country: United States

It sounds like you have had more than you're fair share of interference in you're pursuit of photography. I personally have only had one cop drive past me several times while shooting at night in a local town. I was shooting window displays and I suppose it could be construed as casing the business, so to speak. He never did stop but it was very obvious he was watching me.

I imagine you spend more time pursuing photography than I do but it does sound like people have to much free time on their hands.



AuntiPode
Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 6790
Country: New Zealand

The logical question is why have people become so irrationally fearful? Fearful people willingly trade freedom for a false sense of security. There are elements in society who want a police state and who work to make people afraid. I posit to such elements, the loss of the freedom to photograph is an trivial price to achieve the police state agenda.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

I don't feel anything remotely oriented toward a "police state" agenda or attitude, per se.

Fear is typically predicated on either knowledge of a real threat, or ignorance/uncertainty as to whether or not a threat actually exists, or the degree to which it can do harm.

Many people are afraid of snakes. Yet, there exists many snakes that are actually helpful in rodent control, etc., and certainly the vast majority of snakes are no threat to people. There are however some that are very dangerous.

When you have the ability to identify the difference between a coral snake (venomous) and a scarlet king snake (non-venomous), you have the ability to assess the level of fear that is appropriately warranted. However, if you are not able to tell the difference between the two, many people will naturally be suspiciously fearful anytime they come across either (unless they have never been exposed to the possibility of a threat/harm.) And of course, there are those individuals who even when extended certainty of it being a scarlet king snake, they will still remain fearful due to a generalized fear of snakes.

Given the similarity in appearance of an (venomous) RYKY pattern to an (non-venomous) RKYK pattern, it takes a bit more knowledge or exposure to the differences for one to readily recognize which one warrants fear vs. which one is harmless. Without that knowledge or exposure to recognize the difference, the fear born out of ignorance/uncertainty can be a healthy one. One can call for someone knowledgeable in snakes, one can attempt to kill it themselves without knowing it's true identity, or one can just leave it alone and walk away.

When I am out working or scouting, I tend to have a serious, studious "casing" look about me. Because I will get on the ground for perspective or climb around dirty environments, or am en route to or from other "dirty" endeavors, I tend to wear "shabby clothes" that I'm not concerned about ruining. I'm middle aged, male and drive an older truck. I've got a "photographer's vest" ... I really don't like wearing it.

My profile can be rather similar at times to others not striving for such artistic endeavors. For those who can't distinguish the two, I "get" where their mind goes ... I can see it in their eyes as they look at me. Kinda like Barbara knowing that she was "being watched" by the officer patrolling the storefront area.

In this regard, I don't find the "police state" agenda to be part of the equation/issue. Nor, do I find it to be an "irrational fear". I find it to be that people have been shown the picture of a coral snake, and whenever they see a scarlet king snake they immediately assume that it is coral snake. Society has been proliferated with issues & stories about people who are "up to no good" in their unusual mannerism ... yet they may remain unable to identify/distinguish the difference between that and the value of another who is doing good despite exhibiting unusual mannerism.

Those who are aware of how/why someone with a camera might be doing some good when exhibiting peculiar, different or unusual mannerisms are not afraid of such persons. We can recognize the diligence involved & absorption into the effort and see the value in it. The general public has been more conditioned to be fearful and suspicious than they have been toward the recognition of the difference.

From pedophilia to terrorism to identity theft to burglary, etc. ... people have been warned to be suspicious of others exhibiting unusual behavior. Walking down the street in a residential neighborhood carrying long glass is (by definition) unusual behavior. So is standing on a street corner for an extended period of time at night.

Thus, the issue here is how to help others to recognize (via evidence) and discern the difference from a position of suspicion/fear predicated upon ignorance/uncertainty to one of knowledgeable recognition that a harmless possibility exists, thus aiding to curb their suspicion / fear.

The presented offerings @ attire, signage, jacket, logo etc. are all viable (and likely forthcoming) toward rendering greater identity / recognition to assist with distinguishing that which is harmful vs. that which is harmless. Part of my perspective is that the more traditional business card itself is insufficient to afford recognizable discernment from others. Having an image such as I've chosen on the card affords me an opportunity to further discuss the tenets of composition and tonal values, etc. with someone who wouldn't otherwise be able to envision such things from words alone.

The card, the image and the accompanying dialogue regarding the process of subject selection and image making should be enough to bore anyone to sleep ( ) such that they will no longer have the fear of ignorance/uncertainty of malicious intent. They'll simply know this guy is different, thus the knowledge of such renders his different mannerisms as known/certain rather than to be construed as suspicious / threatening predicated upon the unknown / uncertain.

After all, who in the world obsesses over such things as implied leading lines and tonal value rate of transition. Of course, for those who have an irrational generalized suspicion, it may prove to be moot. But for individuals with rational capacity, it could be helpful to afford evidence for discernment between threat vs. non-threat. And, if it actually spawns into something about "art" or "photography" ... well that's just icing on the cake.

Simply put ... people are afraid of that which they don't understand (the world is flat and you'll fall off the edge). Always have been, always will be. The intent here is just to have a little nugget at my disposal (and always with me, i.e. business card format) that I can hopefully help them better understand my seriousness and credence as a ("fine art") photographer than I have been able to do so far with words alone.

Thanks again to all for the valuable input.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12992
Country: United States

Oregon Gal wrote:
I imagine you spend more time pursuing photography than I do .

This has been over a span of time since 2008, but just when I think it's an "isolated incident" ... it happens again.

Oregon Gal wrote: He never did stop but it was very obvious he was watching me.


Kinda kills the mojo a bit when you feel that you are under suspicion.



dmacmillan
Registered: Nov 03, 2007
Total Posts: 4739
Country: United States

I'm puzzled by your problems. I never have a problem with people confronting me or calling the constabulary, although I shoot in public frequently. It makes me wonder if the difference is geographical.



AuntiPode
Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 6790
Country: New Zealand

No surprise photographers are being harassed. Governments in the Anglo-sphere are promoting the fear and directing part of it towards photographers as possible terrorists. For example, a quick grab from the top of a very brief google search:

http://www.petapixel.com/2012/08/09/terrorism-prevention-video-asks-public-to-report-photographers-to-police/

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/105938/nppa-contends-tsa-poster-equates-photographers-with-terrorists/

http://photographernotaterrorist.org/



Oregon Gal
Registered: Nov 02, 2008
Total Posts: 1998
Country: United States

I will add a touch more to the story and address your frequent encounters with authorities. The Officer continually drove by very slow, almost stopping, numerous times watching my behavior and seeing what I was photographing. I stopped my photography and focused my attention back at him, while this was distracting, I continued on with my photography. I do have to say this is a small town, low crime area, which is on the national historic registry with its own Police Dept. I had my bodyguard with me, so I felt quite safe. I can understand how people may over react to a situation and I feel lucky that it has never happened to me other than this minor incident, but am saddened that our rights seem to be slipping away and are being tested. I believe we need to become educated as to what are rights are so we can in turn stand up for ourselves without being confrontational.

Based on what I read on your last post above it sounds like your scouting draws unwanted attention. It appears by your attire and behavior you are being perceived as a "Person Of Interest" and thus you have more contact from the authorities. I have to agree that photography attire (logo, business card ) would go a long way in allaying suspicion. The easiest solution would be to have a few shirts and a jacket embroidered on the left chest pocket area, with a small name on the shirt / jacket such as, "Kent Southers Photography" and keep basic business cards handy. If you wear a hat you can have this embroidered as well. You can also have another "Custom" business card which you use for advertising purposes. I would refrain from signage on my vehicle as this screams expensive equipment and could result in a theft but this is a personal choice.



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