. . . This just happened to me literally 30 minutes ago.
I was sat on a bench in Preston city centre, enjoying a well earned break from a days Street. Even when having a rest, the old Street Photographers eye is still working. Whilst munching on a Greggs Chili Beef pasty, there was an elderly couple on the bench opposite and showing that they were still very much in love with each other. I took a picture of them. Then an old man came along wearing a trilby hat, looking distinguished. I took a shot of him.
Then, what I can best describe as Vicki Pollard arrived, replete with the mandatory children. One of them began running towards the back of the bench and leaping high in the air over it, between the older people. “That would make a cool picture” I thought. He did it countless times, though each time I got ready to take the shot, he didn’t jump. I made three attempts and gave up.
Five minutes went by, then they got up to leave. Next thing I know, she’s shouting “you’re a sick pervert for photographing my kids” and that she was going to call the police. I remained calm and assured her that I wasn’t a pervert, that ‘perverts’ don’t use £1500 Leica kit and that I would stay here and wait for the police to arrive. She repeated that I was a pervert and that she was going to call the police. She left with her ill-fated children, one of them giving me the finger.
I waited 10 minutes while I drank my tea but no police arrived.
I feel physically sick and am left with this thought that what I love doing is now (somehow) dirty.
The uneducated and misinformed ‘masses’, via the gutter media such as ‘The Sun’, ‘The Mirror’ and ITV News, are destroying the oldest and most honourable form of photography in existence.
I’m writing this on the train as I make my way home. This is the first time in 10+ years of Street that I have experienced this. I feel sick to the core, am struggling to tell myself that I should take the rough with the smooth and that tomorrow is another day.
Update: Since posting this article I took the advice of some of the comments here and had some ‘business cards’ printed. Read all about them on my post here Hey Street Photographers, It’s Time To Get Your Cards Out . . .