Anti- Street Photography Mob Confrontation Locked

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thiefofpresence
thiefofpresence Contributing Member • Posts: 520
Anti- Street Photography Mob Confrontation

The Mermaid Parade is an annual event in Brooklyn NY (Coney Island Beach) that draws thousands of participants and tens of thousands of spectators. When I tell you that everyone has a camera out, I am not exaggerating, from cell phone to long telephoto cameras, everyone has their cameras out. Think Mardi Gras.

I was walking down the boardwalk after the parade, photographing costume wearers (including the ones that parade around naked wearing only paint) and I am suddenly confronted by a mob that was apparently out to find and try to humiliate street photographers.

They started screaming - "You have to have our permission!" and "Look at this guy, he looks like a pervert" and "Delete my photograph!".

For most of them, there was no conversation possible. They swarmed me like an angry mob and continued screaming at me, and one of them ripped the hat off my head (which they never gave back).

They had one member, apparently their public relations head who was able to have a calm discussion with me (while the screaming and spectacle went on, now with photographers on my side yelling at the mob).

I asked him if he had ever heard of street photography. I asked him if he was aware that a claim to privacy in public, let alone in public on the day of the Mermaid Parade, is quite crazy. I told them that I delete photos all day long when I am respectfully asked, that as long as I am not accused of something I am innocent of, then I have no problem deleting a candidly taken picture if it disturbs someone.

As PR people do, he did a good job of listening to me, and talked to me without screaming or personal insult, but asked me to just delete the photo and diffuse this tense situation. After quite a while I finally relented. The truth is it was one of the photos (about 9 out of 10) that I delete back in the editing room anyway.

But I regret my action. I think the next time this happens, I will be standing my ground. This group was no accident, they were out trolling for street photographers, and I was neither their first nor last "student" that day, out to preach the evils of street photography as objectification of subjects. How ironic that in order to preach that message, they had to get naked and disguise themselves as Mermaid Parade participants, objectifying themselves long before I made documentary note of that.

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