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03-29-2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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Street Photography can be Dangerous

You just pretty much need to read the article for yourselves. New York photographer Marisha Camp and her brother were crossing the US collecting images for a show. In West Virginia they were stopped by local residents who thought that they had taken photos of their teenage sons. They needed to be escorted out of the state by the West Virginia State Police for their own protection.
Convinced that we had taken photographs of their teenaged sons, this couple had tracked us down and they were not leaving without our camera. I refused to hand it over. At this point, the woman opened the door of the minivan, pointed to a backseat, said that she had her gun right there, and we were not leaving until the police arrived. A hostile mob was beginning to gather, spurred by phone calls and the couple's loud insistence that they were just trying to protect "the kids" without having actually witnessed a crime or presented any tangible evidence of actual wrongdoing.

03-29-2015, 12:28 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, there are ignorant jerks everywhere.
03-29-2015, 12:29 PM   #3
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Sounds like a backward country not the US.
03-29-2015, 12:58 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Where I live if your being held against your will and have not committed a crime, it is called kidnapping. That is a crime and those good citizens should be arrested.

03-29-2015, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #5
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there are ignorant jerks everywhere. this situation looks like it was handled poorly on both sides. The highly overreacting parents and the photogs who think it is perfectly ok to shoot anyone anywhere as long as it's in public even if they aren't breaking any laws, think papparazi. Much could have been done by the photographers to diffuse the situation rather than get indignant and emotional. The First thing I would have done is to show the parents all the pics, give them my business card and then ask if they wouldn't mind having there pic. taken so they too could be in the book too. Offer to send by email a copy of the pics taken of them. Offer to buy em a beer, etc. most of the time you'll find yourself getting dinner invites in an area like that. Treat them like hics ,even it they are, and the next thing you know your starring in a remake of Deliverance.
03-29-2015, 01:46 PM   #6
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After reading this story again I say the photographers are partly to blame. First of all if you go into some small poor little town where nobody knows you, with out of state plates and you start firing your camera away like a maniac, you might get that reaction anywhere in the US, especially if that town is not use to seeing tourists. Then you start taking pictures of kids without their parents permission and you are playing with Fire ! Even if you meant well, the proper thing to do would be to ask permission. The excuse that they were planning to shoot a Documentary doesn't even hold up legally an makes matters worse. If that was the case it would mean those pictures could be used for Public distribution, not just vacation snap-shots.

Even when I travel I am very careful what I shoot. If I notice signs of nervousness or discomfort I put the camera down. I have been to places in the Caribbean where people especially dirt-poor people do not want their pictures taken for obvious reasons. I once had a guide who told me not to take pictures of the down-trodden if I could help it...
03-29-2015, 01:49 PM   #7
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"[...] I'm not naive in regards to insular cultures and an attendant inability to understand outsiders, but a "misunderstanding" does not, CANNOT justify being held hostage and having one's life threatened. While I was happy to escape physically unscathed, I find it much harder to overcome the fear, the inescapable sense of vulnerability... the trauma of yesterday."
It sounds like this lady has already worked up a theme for her next documentary. This description reads like literary drama.

Last edited by lightbox; 03-29-2015 at 05:49 PM.
03-29-2015, 04:43 PM   #8

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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
...They needed to be escorted out of the state by the West Virginia State Police for their own protection.
This makes it sound like the police kicked the photographers out of the state but the link doesn't say that. The photographers were escorted away from the "scene" and now they are no longer in the State. They may or may not have visited other parts of West Virginia after leaving that one scene.

03-29-2015, 05:24 PM   #9
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A pocket full of business cards, a tablet with a collection of the work you are doing and a few friendly conversations with people can do wonders to putting people at ease. People can be intimidated by cameras sometimes. I do motorcycle rallys, races and events and you never go around shooting pictures without asking.
03-29-2015, 06:29 PM   #10
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I can't really think it's even possible for it to happen around here. Well, at least people don't carry guns like that in Sweden and you had one in your car and pointed to it in malicious manner it would get charged as a crime for sure.

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