Diminishing Photographic Freedom
Everyday I'm scrutinized as amateur photographer during my morning and afternoon walks because I carry my camera everywhere I go. It's getting so bad that I've become afraid of even taking my camera on these walks due to the fact that someone will have something to say about the images I take. Not because that my camera along with its home made handle, (from a distance) appears to look very similar to a small axe or so its been told.. But the freedom to just stop at someone's yard because I've noticed a flower or mushroom etc.
Noticing the "Welcome" mats and signs in the persons yard.. I didn't receive a very welcome attitude after I was subjected to a bombardment of questions by the resident. "What are you taking a picture of?" or "I'm calling the cops!" Often and at times, the police would show up soon after I had passed an area.. Because I had just taken a photograph of some flowers blooming on a tree..
For the past week, I've been trying to come to terms with the fact that while I walk, I will and have been stopped due to people calling the police on me for taking pictures of.. Mushrooms in a community center's front yard. That's right.. Apparently a few overly concerned people called the cops on me thinking I was taking a picture of the community center and they felt threaded by this.. Not realizing I had found a well shaped mushroom in the front yard of the community center. Never the less the cops showed up 10 mins later asking for me to delete the images on my camera.
"What for?" I asked.. Then I was forced to show the officer the images I had just taken.. Two shots of one mushroom.. Shaking his head, the officers simply drove away.. Slowly I'm being hounded by these types of incidents within our community.
Case in point: For several weeks my wife and I had been noticing a truck parked in the ally with it's engine running, We became worried about this strange truck just sitting in our lot so I told my wife to call the cops while I snuck around the house and grabbed a picture of the truck's tags.. Later the police showed up and again, The officer asked me to delete the images of their undercover officers surveillance vehicle.. So apparently they knew we were there and that I had just taken images of the truck.
Upon a daily bases, I've walked under an over pass which the bridge isn't holding up very well. The pasted winters have create weak zones on the concrete substructure and one can see that the bridge is slowing falling apart.. I'm so tempted to get a shot of this, but I'm forced to refrain from doing so in the knowing that it's in a public zone and everyone is watching. I've even had the police inform me; Quote, "You can get into allot of trouble if you keep taking photographs around here" end Quote.
Also, upon writing this, My wife informed me that the police are now confiscating cameras and cell phones because images have been taken of the police or the police have been caught doing something illegal.. This has me worried.. I'm always in fear that no matter what I take an picture of, someone, somewhere will undoubtedly have something to say about it or call the police on me.
So now.. Not only are we hindered in our ability to taken images at the right moment, we are hindered at what may happen after we take the picturers.. It's almost like the way I felt when I was taking pictures with my 35 mm camera, I just didn't want to waste that expensive film. I believe it's called "catch 22" damn if you do, damn if you don't..
Today, I was considering walking to the Library, after not walking for more than 1 week.. My wife has mentioned that she doesn't want me to walk around this area anymore due to the unsafe conditions and paranoid persons. Not only have we lost our photographic freedom, but our personal freedom to come and go as we should. My morning walks just aren't fun anymore and when something isn't fun anymore.. One would tend to stop doing it and move on. Perhaps I'll move on.
Oh and about that mushroom everyone was so worried about?..
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.