This post is about my encounter with the person now known as the D-Bag Photographer in SoHo.
Before I go on, let me say one thing.
I’ll never claim to be the best photographer in the world, but I will claim to have a nice amount of common sense and would never purposefully attempt to be an obnoxiously rude or creepy street style photographer.
The D-Bag Photographer
There I was standing at the corner of Prince and Crosby Street Wednesday evening when I noticed a guy with a camera walking down the sidewalk.
His arm raised, he pointed the camera directly at someone, snapped the shot and quickly walked away. He never even made eye contact.
I thought, “Surely I didn’t see that correctly.”
Then he did it again to someone else.
As he approached me, he pointed the camera my way and snapped. Then he pointed it at another guy 10 feet away from me and snapped. And then as he crossed the street he put the camera right in a woman’s face and snapped, which prompted her to say something as he walked away.
This type of street style photography rude behavior is what makes people avoid photographers and certainly adds an element of creepy to the situation.
As the made it to the other side of the sidewalk I couldn’t help but think, “that’s not cool at all.” So I crossed the street and slowly (far from a chase) caught up to the guy.
Upon catching up to him I politely said, “Hey man, what are you shooting for?” He replied, “What do you care?” I said, “I shoot quite a lot in SoHo and just wanted to let you know that people don’t appreciate you running up to them and quickly sticking a camera in their face. It’s rude and could easily turn people off from street style photographers.”
Then he of course started to get defensive and said, “This is a public domain and I’ll shoot whomever I want.” He then proceeded to point his camera at me and snap away. I let him act like a 2-year old, but had I not had my camera on me my reaction would have likely been much different.
After quickly realizing that I was not talking to a rational person, the conversation faded and we went our separate ways. But I couldn’t shake how rude the guy was.
If you’ve been a long-time Fashables reader you might be thinking, “Ryan, you take photos without asking people all the time.” That thought is 100% correct, but my style is so much different than this guy. Here’s why:
- I stand out in the open
- In no way am I acting like I’m not taking the shot
- I almost always make eye contact if possible
- If the person stops to ask why I snapped a shot I introduce myself and give them a Fashables card
- You’ll never find me sticking a camera in someone’s face and dashing off before being yelled at
- If a person were to say something and request to have their photo deleted I’d do it in a heartbeat
- And most importantly, I don’t act like a creep when shooting
My style of shooting was not formed out of the fear of talking to people or approaching strangers. Here’s exactly why I do not always ask to take a shot:
- The average person (keeping in mind that this blog focuses on “normal’ish”) tends to freeze up when asked to pose, which inevitably hurts the shot; keep in mind the goal is to make people look good
- I prefer to catch people in their natural environment instead of staging a shot
- Not everyone has time to stop for a shot and by the time you ask… the moment has passed
All I can say is that if you ever encounter someone such as the D-Bag Photographer; please know that the behavior is not normal. Most street style photographers are incredibly nice and, if anything, humbled by the opportunity to take your photo.