A Photographer Told A Group Of Teens To Stop... Then Shots Rang Out.
It is a jungle out there. Photographers need to be aware of their environment and who it is they are dealing with. Not a good idea to correct a group of people in public when you don't know them. It's like walking into Alaskan Grizzly country by yourself.
"While taking some Landscape pictures on the night of 9/12/19, CT was approached by 3 gentlemen who wanted their pictures taken. Through conversations the men started calling CT racial slurs. Being the person that CT is, he asked the gentlemen to stop politely. While facing one of the gentlemen, he was shot 9 times by two of the kids. He was hit in the legs, arm, wrist, shoulder and hip. CT managed to call the police and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he received medical attention. Thankfully none of his injuries were life threatening and he’s expected to make a full recovery. CT is currently undergoing therapy." ~ Go Fund Me Page
Looks like this was in an urban part of Phoenix in a not so great area. Just a horrible incident.
Urban shots make me nervous sometimes, especially in not-so great areas. My main concern is someone wanting to steal my camera. I just feel more vulnerable carrying around a several hundred dollar piece of equipment. But this reinforces things can happen to photographers aside from people just wanting to steal equipment.
I prefer to photograph alone - hard to find people that want to go with but even if I do they are just distracting. I've gotten really good at trusting my gut - only one time did something feel REALLY off. It was at a park in Tucson with a bridge that offered a panoramic view. The sun was setting and the whole park felt off. It was in a kind of out of the way area - and didn't have a lot of people there. I get most nervous in urban settings when there aren't a lot of people around.
Some shady characters were watching me the whole time. I kept my camera in a backpack instead of around my neck til I got to the spot to take the shot (which was out of view of the shady people), took it quickly, and got out of there.
I also tend to dress down when I go out and shoot, especially urban areas. I feel looking kind of rough myself makes me less of a target. Many of the people (not just photographers) I hear of mugged or robbed are dressed up in nice clothes. I get nervous for other people just wandering around with their camera swinging around their neck. I do that out in the middle of nowhere, where there is no one else around, but I wouldn't do it in the city unless I had other people around.
Anyone have any weird experiences out taking photos?
i never liked the thought of traveling alone, i'm always looking out the viewfinder and at the reflection on the screen to see who's behind me. i do wonder who and why the N word was said though. and why they wanted their pictures taken in the first place or how he would have gotten it to them.
i'm hyper watchful of my surroundings. i don't take the camera out in the city unless i have to, and the bag is kept on my side so i can put it back in real fast. i'd rather be in a quiet area. i don't like people noticing i have a camera at all. for urban places a small camera is probably best.
Read this one on PetaPixel...I used to live not far from there on Indian School Rd. It's a tough story for sure but bad things can happen almost anywhere. Yup, definitely a bad idea to get into it with a group of unknown strangers.
I was a photographer for an insurance company in South Central LA after the LA riots in 1992. As I photographed the front of a damaged building, I saw a group of three men on the sidewalk down the street. They saw me too, and started to yell and walk towards me. I hightailed it out of there. I think they thought I was taking their picture. It was only a couple of days after the riots ended and emotions were still running high.
That was a scary time Jenny. My main stores for business were located in Hollywood and at the corner of Fairfax and Washington Blvd in Culver City. That was a couple of blocks from the flashpoint. I took a couple of days off from working those areas.
Like Chance, I prefer to work alone. Keeps me from feeling pushed to move along. My son in-law and I like to hike, and I am fortunate that he doesn't mind relaxing while I'm shooting.
A couple of months ago I was working alone early morning in a rugged park in the San Fernando Valley. I had this eerie feeling that I was being watched the whole time, so I did my business and left. There are so many people living in the hills and caves anymore.
One Could get in to a situation but sense the feeling of the area and your intuitiveness to bow out of there. Have a good plan B if you are in that situation. Go fund me , cant be the answer to all and it doesn't legitimate the situation. Everyone should have a plan.
I usually carry (other than a camera and tripod) as I live in an urban area and usually photograph the city at night. Sometimes with a friend and sometimes alone.
Homeless/alcoholics/druggies I don't worry about at all and usually will talk to them or at least listen to their story, they just want change (now a dollar) for their next hit.
I don't give them anything and they are not going to steal my equipment, which is usually visible.
Just my experiences.....
My head is always on a swivel as I am more concerned about a group of young kids/adults or a car that can quickly approach. That's where some problems occur.
I always dress in a black shirt and dark jeans as well.
If I ever did find myself in dicey situation and they only wanted my equipment, and I felt it I was outnumbered or it wasn't worth it, they can have it.... Most of it is insured anyway.....
It's crazy at times.....
I specialize in fine art photography, long exposure – architecture and occasionally landscapes and still life. Here is a list of criteria that I adhere to when preparing for a photography trip and hopefully being safe:
- Identify what and where I want to photograph.
-Use Google searches to identify do’s and don’ts in the city plus safe and unsafe areas.
-Research Google Earth where I want to photograph and its surrounding area.
-Perform Google searches of images for … what I want to photograph. If it doesn’t measure up it gets crossed off the list.
-On arrival, talk with locals regarding any new hotspots to photograph not mentioned on the internet or word of mouth from others.
-Follow up with locals and the police when I arrive at my destination to reinforce where to go and where not to go.
-Research the weather conditions during my stay.
-Research distances from where I’ll be shooting to where I’m staying.
-Always! Always make sure someone knows where I’ll be and what time to expect my return where I’m staying.
-Make sure someone has my phone number and will check in with me during the day or night.
-Separate your cash from your wallet for emergency use.
-Check the tides if I’m shooting around a coastline.
-If you’re shooting landscapes, what can I anticipate as far as wild life as well as people that may cause me harm.
-Locally if I’m shooting in the Everglades, Big Cypress or preserves anticipate alligators and venomous snakes.
-With respect to landscape and seascape photography throughly know the terrain and understand the risk reward of getting that award winning creation.
-Throughly identify what gear I’ll need for the shoot. I always take two camera bags. One for transporting my gear in the overhead and one smaller sling bag in my checked luggage that I use on a given day carrying only the essential lens(es) and accessaries. Travel light and be efficient for that day’s shoot.
Listen to your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, DON’T DO IT. Don’t think for once it can’t happen to you because it can, day or night and in a safe area as I found out.
Your first responsibility is to yourself, getting the shot is secondary.
You know, most urban shots are wide angle anyway, especially at night. I wonder if there is any cheap little quasi point and shoot that still has decent resolution and long exposure capability I could buy and use vs lugging my Nikon out on the city streets. I don't do a lot of urban photos but would like to do more than I do. I am always hesitant for all the reasons already being mentioned here though. And it's not to say a point and shoot alleviates the risk of being robbed or worse, but at least if equipment gets stolen it's not as much of a loss. Like what Mike said earlier.
Taking pictures like that is something I would never do. I tend to avoid situations where people can get close to me, but, if I were out at night like this, then I'd probably be prepared to shoot in another way besides the camera. Extreme, you say? Well, as was said, "It's a jungle out there."
Yikes, I went to that park by myself! It's not a great area, but it's not a super bad one either. The park is popular with photographers because there are love birds nesting in saguaro cacti. The love birds are descendants of pet birds which escaped in the 1980's and have established themselves in Phoenix.
Today, I was wary about getting shot by a turkey hunter. Foliage season and hunting season seem to coincide.
Usually, my concerns are:
- ripping my pants on barb wire
- getting attacked by a dog
- stepping in a cow pie
- falling down an embankment, slipping into the water or some other natural enemy
- Ground hornets - they got me last week.
- Getting accosted by some gear head shutterbug who wants to talk about some latest camera.
- Getting the car stuck in the mud, snow or being sideswiped by a snow plow.
The worst encounter I had was a guy asking me what I was doing and saying his father would have run me off. But that ended friendly.
It's a real concern and photographers need to be careful no matter where they shoot. I have been in remote forest and isolated rural towns and always have someone with me. I leave quickly when someone is carrying a gun as when my friend and I were at a waterfall in Kentucky years ago.
Also be aware that you are carrying equipment thats costs hundreds and you're a walking target for thieves.
Enjoy the process and use common sense.
You've also got to be extremely careful in residential areas. Even nice, quiet, affluent neighborhoods can pose extreme risk.
I was talking to someone who had a gun pulled on him in his OWN neighborhood for trying to take a picture of a rainbow. Someone barrelled out of the house below the rainbow with a gun convinced he was trying to take pictures of their house. The photgrapher threw his hands up and the guy took his camera to thumb through his images to see there were only rainbow pics. Truly disturbing but an example that more urban or seedy areas are not the only cause for concern.
I've done most of my urban night shots with my iPhone. It's less conspicuous and, in the dark, with bright city lights, it does real well. There's not as much of a need for fine detail, it's inconspicuous when I'm not shooting, mine is not a new model, so it's low on the theft list, I'm not carrying a bag full of goodies and with sufficient software edits, the final product is good. I know that the camera people will excoriate this idea, but it has worked for me.
“Be courageous. Not every photographer is going to do things perceived as risky but creating work that really matters is always an act of courage. Fear is the greatest obstacle to creativity and I think too many photographers play it safe instead of making work that is uncomfortable for them, or requires them to be vulnerable, to approach strangers, to try something they’ve never tried, or create something that’s different from the usual. There are billions of photographs made every day – the ones that stand out are the ones with soul, and that takes courage.” https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/seven-dangerous-photographs
Never ever try to correct people's behavior or tell them what to say or not to say. The use of the "n" is ubiquitous in youth culture in the USA, from the music, to the way they talk to each other - even if the guy knew this, he probably would have still been shot. Reading the article, those were some very bad people that shot the guy and they are all going to prison.
...when working in the desert I always get an uneasy feeling about slithering creatures that I didn't see.
But I do agree that the human factor is by far a greater danger overall. And since I watch lots of Investigation ID... it is even worse in my mind. :) Having a bit of street smarts can work to one's advantage though.
If you read the article, had "Artist Sight" or one brain cell of "street smarts" you would see that the shooter was provoked... they treated him like one of their own by calling him the "n" word (a term of endearment with many young people) and he told them to shut up. They offered friendship and basically he said FU in response. If you don't have street smarts, dont go anywhere... except a swamp.