TIME TO GIVE UP?
A situation recently arose whilst I was out with my 35mm film SLR. Having read some articles on street photography I decided to give it a go. In a busy outdoor shopping precinct I put the camera up to my eye to judge the light quality and the scene. It was not ideal so I changed position and tried again. Still not good enough, so I decided to go home. I spent less than 30 minutes in the precinct.
That evening, I received a visit from a police officer who interviewed me as to my movements during the day. Apparently, the police received a report from someone who alleged that I had been taking several photographs of children. In fact I had taken no photographs at all, and when I showed the officer my camera, complete with the brand new unexposed roll of film she went away happy.
It would appear that I had been followed to my car and someone had taken my vehicle registration number and contacted the police. Digital cameras attract more hostility than film, perhaps because of the former's convenience of use for illegal purposes. Unfortunately, though, all photographers seem to be tarred with the same brush and branded as perverts or terrorists.
I know it's usually OK to take pictures in a public place subject to certain restrictions, but with so many 'ponderables' and having to constantly look over your shoulder. I'm seriously considering giving it all up.
P. Carey, Hampshire.
A Letter in the 'Have Your Say' section of Amateur Photographer magazine of 20 March 2010. An edited version.