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Friday, July 9

Snapping Pictures Can Make People Snap

Today I went on a lovely picnic with my friend Jenn and her 4-year-old son. We had peanut butter and banana sandwiches, fruit salad, mint limeade, and other goodies. We played with bubbles, and splashed in the fountain in the park. And Jenn, who is a photographer, brought her camera to take pictures of the kids. That’s when things went downhill.
Before I go any further let me just lay out the rights of photographers {in case you’re unaware}:
  1. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees your right to take photographs of anything you want, as well as publish them.”
  2. Nobody can…forcibly delete photos, expose your film, or harm you. If anyone does…you can sue them under civil law to recoup the damages.”
  3. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy” for example, if they’re in a dressing room. {This is a clear policy for US photographers and seems to be applicable in Canada as well based on point #1}.
So, now you know. And now when you read the following it should be abundantly clear who was out of line.
So Jenn is taking some fun shots of our kiddos playing with the water {and as soon as she sends me copies I’ll post some for you to see}. We’re having fun, minding our own business. When, from clear across the park, a woman approaches us and orders Jenn to delete any pictures in which the woman appears. Jenn assured her that she wasn’t in any of the shots. But the woman just kept repeating herself, “If I’m in any shots delete them.” Finally Jenn says “right, but you’re not.” She even offered to let this complete stranger look through all the pictures on her camera. Jenn reiterated that the photos are close ups of our kids, that we are on a picnic, and that the woman is being rude. At which point the woman turns to me {as if I’m Jenn’s mother or babysitter or something} and says
“I have a problem with your friend.”
“I have a problem with you,” I replied.
Now, let me make this clear, I hate confrontation. I’m scared of people. I avoid conflict whenever possible {and often when I should be standing up for myself}. So if your behavior has gotten me upset enough to actually speak up then you’re really out of line.
“You’re not in the pictures. She told you you’re not in the pictures. Why would she even want a picture of you?” I continue. Then Ms.I’m-Going-To-Harass-You-And-Refuse-To-Listen-To-You makes a lawyer threat. I told her “go ahead!” Jenn tells her “call the police! Go ahead, call the police!” {The woman does neither which is almost a shame because I would have loved to see them tell her “Lady, you’re nuts. They haven’t done anything wrong. Stop wasting our time.”} The whole thing ends with the woman complaining that Jenn wouldn’t give her Jenn’s business card {to which Jenn said “I don’t deal with crazy”} and the woman approaching another lady in the park {presumably to complain about us}.
I absolutely don’t blame Jenn for refusing to provide contact information. I’m not in the habit of giving my phone number to paranoid strangers who harass me either. In fact, I walked home along a different path because I didn’t want this lady to know where Lucy and I live.
So, word to the wise:
  • If you’re in a public park you have no right to not be in the background of someone’s pictures {or the foreground for that matter}.
  • If you want to approach anyone you happen to see with a camera and ask them to delete precious childhood snapshots despite the law saying they don’t have to and they assure you that it’s not necessary because you’re not in the pictures then take them at their word and leave them the hell alone.
  • If you ignore the previous two points and continue to annoy two mothers trying to have a good time with their small children and the photographer offers your the completely non-obligatory courtesy of proving to you that you’re not in the pictures either accept her offer or shut up and go away.
Geesh. Seriously guys, it was five and a half kinds of obnoxious.
Have you or someone you know ever been harassed for taking pictures in a public place? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll share the three best stories in another post.
siggy

10 Stubborn Stains:

Anonymous said...

OMG WOW!!! I can't believe nut jobs like that are even allowed in public!!! I have never had an experience like that and I'm usually toting minimum of 3 different cameras around my neck at any given time! My kids, nature, whatever strikes me, I snap pics of.
Heck, i've had total strangers ask me to take pics OF THEM... nvr had a single person tell me not to... that's just crazy!
Way to stand up for your friend, sounds like she needed it.

VM Sehy Photography said...

I feel for you. This is exactly why I don't photograph people. Sounds to me like she borders on paranoid. And I'm proud of you for standing up to her. I, too hate conflict and often let people walk on me. So I can understand that if you're saying something, she's way stepped over the line. Hope your next visit to the park is more relaxing.

Jenn Galloway said...

GAH! I am even at a loss for words! CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY!
I am bringing the disk of pics over today... P.S. - watched her from the car for a bit, and she walked in circles around the intersection 2 or 3 times... need I say more... ;)

Anonymous said...

Are you in medicine hat? Saw a similar exchange recently.

Deidre Gustus said...

That is sooo crazy! I hate confrontation too but I wish I was there I would have gotten in that ladies face big time! nobody threatens my friends!!!!!! What a wack job! Glad you stood up to her Holly.

Brittany said...

Geez Louise! The nerve of some people... How can she be so full of herself to even think that your friend was taking the time to turn the camera on her - some complete stranger - when she has her child to focus on? Wow. It does kind of stink that the cops never got involved; I'd love to know what they would have said.

Kerri said...

That woman is crazy! I'm like you... I avoid confrontation as much as possible, but if you are really out of line, there's no stopping me from opening my mouth and saying a few words.

I can't wait to see the pictures of the kids! :)

- Kerri
http://thequeenmom.com

KK said...

Wow, I hate confrontation, but I'd have let her have it!

alwaysasilverliningblog said...

She was clearly psychotic. Although it's for that reason why when I take photos of people while I'm on vacation, I snap it really quick and then turn in another direction and pretend to really take a picture of something else. Hehe..

Crystal HW said...

That is NUTS Holly! I would have been mad too!!

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