When I first started taking photographs around the city, I remember a fun hour spent in a playground photographing kids splashing around a water fountain. But that was years ago. Times have changed, but I didn’t know how much till I recently passed another playground on a steamy August morning. Inside the surrounding iron fence, I spotted a fountain of water jets shooting skyward in graceful arcs. Seeing what looked like a nursery school class joyously galloping toward the cool water sprays, I raised my camera.
I was completely focused on the kids and water trying to frame the action through the fence’s narrow openings when a strident, hostile voice came out of nowhere and ordered me to stop taking photographs. Startled, I looked up to find a woman planted on the other side of the fence. She was big, full of bristle and staring at me as though I had committed or was about to commit some heinous crime. Whoah!
You can see her here, much enlarged and lightened against the shady background where she apparently first zeroed in on me before marching up for a direct attack. I was so caught off guard, so discombobulated about what she thought I was doing and so startled by her militant stance, I was beyond framing a response. One thing was clear. She was geared up for a big confrontation. I, however, wasn’t. I was standing on public property and as far as I knew I wasn’t breaking any laws, but laws don’t mean much when a snorting bull is stomping the ground about to charge. Reflexively I glanced down at my camera and previewed my few shots.
“No more pictures!” she angrily demanded. Did she see me as some potential kidnapper? Some perverted pedophile? Someone using kid’s photos to make money? I didn’t want to know. Cooly I replied, “I’m not taking pictures,” and after a little more fiddling with my camera I left her and her off the wall suspicions and walked away.