It is increasingly difficult to photograph in London and other big cities. It looks like all places are private these days, we just point the camera at an important building and we are immediately surrounded by security as if we were criminals. Sometimes I think that carrying a gun causes less panic than a camera. If you shoot with a mobile phone there is no problem but if they see you with a camera, it is the hysteria, how bigger the camera, worse. They forget that there are mobile phones with better resolution and GPS than cameras.
I have been told that most public buildings in London, even some parks are private, or artists don’t allow photographs unless they’re paid for (again). So, they sold a work but continue to charge for the rights. This may be legal but is it fair? What would it be if all photographers, everyone, stopped photographing? Social media and papers would be blank. We are promoting places for free but we are still treated as criminals. Soon we will only be able to photograph trees and mountains, well, until God has an agent and lawyer to represent Him on earth.
When is comes to people it is the same, everyone is paranoid about security and privacy even when in public places. They post everything in social media, even private things, but get very offended if they are photographed in a street. I never photograph a person without asking his permission anyway.
Yesterday I was taking some shoots in London when a guy came to me. “You took a photo of me.” I was with my headphones and I thought he wanted a photo. “Sure, do you wanna a photo of you where?” – “No, you took a photo of me. Why?” – “Did I? Where the hell were you?” – “The other side of the street” – “For God’s sake I’m taking pictures of the city, the traffic, not of you. Do you want to see the pictures?” – “No” and turned his back on me. I thought to myself, what are you afraid of? Are you hiding something mate?
This had happened to me before, a couple of times in a really rude way, shouting at me, making me feel like a criminal. To be honest I really love to photograph London but I am getting fed-up of this.