"Counting Change"....and a Common Photogs Story.
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On a typical Sunday here in Downtown Long Beach [Sunny, slightly crowded, and generally friendly], I was out on my trusty bike, with my trusty Nikon D80, and 85mm f/1.8 lens looking for something or someone interesting to shoot, when I happened upon this gentleman, counting his small handfull of change, and preparing himself to sit, and see if someone near would lend a hand.
Me, being the compassionate and inquisitive person that I am ;-), I decided to take a shot, then approach the man, and offer him a dollar for his story (as I normally do), when I was abruptly broadsided by Long Beach's finest "Official" city guides/officers.
Out of the corner of my Nikon viewfinder, I saw three Black and Red uniforms approaching me. I then lowered my camera to smile and say hello, when I was asked "Excuse me Sir, but do you have a permit to shoot"?
I replied "No, but I have gotten previous permissions to shoot from the local police and the city"
That's when they hit me with the bombshell!!!
Although they were very professional, they firmly told me that I can no longer shoot on this corner because some lady has called and said that I was taking perverted pictures of the women walking by!!!
I was in shock!!!
I could not believe what I was hearing!!
I have been shooting in Long Beach for years now, and there are even some police officers and local businesses that easily recognize me, as I am ALWAYS out there, in the same places.
This was clearly a mistake!
I quickly showed the city guides my camera (to clear myself of any wrongdoing...not one voyeuristic shot on my card), and explained that EVERY police officer on patrol has seen me here more than once today and didn't say a word, and the City has actually told me it was ok to shoot...but since some woman unknowingly thought I was some pervert, I was forced to leave.
The City guides believed me, but they still had to do their jobs, so I could not be upset with them. I was more in shock than anything else.
What bothered my more than that however was the fact that 1. If I was some pervert, would I be sitting on a public corner in my BRIGHT ORANGE sweatshirt...?, and 2. I was not able to do my good deed for the day (pay my dollar), and get my story to match my photograph.
Anyway, I know this is not one of my better "Street" photographs, but I think the story explains why.
I've been asked 'not to shoot' by many, and chased off many private properties, but I have NEVER been labeled a pervert!
Honestly, I am still in shock...a little.
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