Downtown Crossing ‘Street Photographers’ Crossing The Line?

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

CBS (BOSTON) – It’s legal for someone to snap your photo while you’re walking down the street, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying.

A WBZ-TV viewer passed along some video he recorded at Downtown Crossing this week.

The viewer told us he sees a group of six or seven men, armed with fancy cameras aggressively hunting down and photographing women and children nearly every day.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports 

The video he shared shows what seems to be some sketchy behavior.

His story was backed up by other people at Downtown Crossing, who tell WBZ-TV these guys are constantly getting in peoples’ faces and acting very defensively when someone asks them to stop.

“Those guys are out here every single day, following people up and down the street, nonchalantly taking pictures of women’s body parts,” said Craig Caplan, who owns three kiosks selling various items not far from where these men hang out.

Caplan says he’s seen them focus their lenses on women’s breasts, legs, and behinds. As for what the men do with their pictures, he has no idea.

“I’d love to know,” said Caplan. “I mean, if it was my wife, girlfriend, daughter, I would have a big problem with it.”

WBZ-TV’s cameras were rolling as some of these men darted in and out of crowds on Friday afternoon, snapping away.

When confronted, a man who identified himself only as “John,” said he and his friends were simply ‘street photographers’.

He acknowledged that he does “have to be a little aggressive to do this type of photography” and that people shouldn’t be bothered by it.

Asked if he specifically targets young women or children, John said, “false.”

Another street photographer, Pierre Philippe, admitted he could “understand that people are bothered by this” but also denied taking any kind of obscene or inappropriate pictures.

A third man, named Joe, called it “ridiculous [and] absurd” to think he and his fellow photographers would target children or women. “We don’t do anything that’s suspect or could be considered suspect,” he said.

“There’s no law against taking pictures of anything in the street,” pointed out Andy Klein, another man in this group.

When asked why so many of their subjects are put off by being in their pictures, Klein responded, “Well, people imagine things.”

The men claim that none of their photos ever ends up on the internet as part of pay site. They say their pictures go into their private collections; some, they say, will be part of an upcoming art show that focuses on the work of local street photographers.

  • marty

    If they were bothering me I would take their camera and smash it….then they’d learn to mind their own business and pay the people that they are photographing!!

    • HJH

      Check out this blog for the full story on what these guys are up to. It’s written by one of the guys in the video:

      • Jack

        The guy who wrote this blog left a phony name and generic email address. Anyone who works in DTX sees these guys on a regular basis. We see them taking pics without people’s permission and focusing on body parts like rear ends, breasts and so forth. It’s a simple thing to put a few harmless foot pics up on a blog and call it art but those of us who see them every day can’t fathom why they are aloud to keep doing this.

      • Jack

        Where are all the pics? At a gallery? Online? Years worth of tasteful artistic pictures must be somewhere. Where can we see them all? Why do you guys take the pics from the waste like you’re trying to hide what you’re doing?

        You aren’t fooling anyone. Many of us see you every day. Pick a new neighborhood. We’re done with it in Downtown Crossing. Plan on many of us confronting you. It’s enough already.

        Let’s see you guys sue the news. You couldn’t even make a case for what you do other than, “Turn off the camera.” Really? You “artists” sure clammed up quick.

      • Janice

        I’ve seen a photo exhibit by one of the photographers they talked to in this piece at City Hall a few years ago. He’s a completely legit artist/photog. Sanctioned by City Hall no less! This “news story” is complete garbage. WBZ will be lucky if the photographers in the piece don’t sue them.

      • Andrew Coutermarsh

        Also, once it becomes obvious that the newsperson is simply interested in generating a story instead of having a real dialogue or telling the truth, it becomes pointless to have a conversation, so “turn off the camera” becomes the only thing you can do to protect yourself.

        You have NO idea how much talking was actually done on camera. You only saw what WBZ wanted you to see. This is why it’s generally important to see multiple points of view and perspectives before assuming one knows the truth.

      • Andrew Coutermarsh

        If you want to see their pictures, you can do what somebody does with any other artist: buy a print.

        Get over yourself.

      • samuel quinn

        jack, you don’t know jack. we “artist” are aloud to be loud, so allow us to do so. jack attack.

      • This Is For You Jack

        Jack, you don’t know the law. Also, unless you’re looking through the camera, there’s no way you can know what they’re really doing. Next time you see them, confront them or just talk to them (but be sure to first hide your body parts).

        They’re “aloud” to keep doing this because guys like you can’t spell, let alone reason. When you wake up from your slumber, a light will shine and everyone will be as nice and considerate as you are…

    • ty


      A response by one of the photographers in this hit piece:

      WBZ had access to what they shot, and refused to show what they were shooting and didn’t tell truthfully their side of the story. This is a manufactured story, and WBZ is a fraking joke.

      They should think about suing for libel. And people who’s first reaction was to equate this with perverts, rapists and criminals should do some soul searching.

      Those kind of thoughts don’t pop into normal minds people!

    • bob

      and then he would sue you and you would have just lost a lot of money for nothing.

    • Ryan

      Marty, may I call you that, I could think of worse to call you. Taking their camera’s and smashing them would be breaking the law, Theft, Destruction of property, and assault, what they are doing is not breaking any laws, in fact, it is protected by the first amendment. You are one of the comatose media junkies suffering from delusional social paranoia. You are an ass. I would like to see you try to take my camera there keyboard warrior, you would only try once. Self defense can be a beautiful thing!

    • Gregory Peel

      That action would qualify as assault.

    • Wes

      Marty, I’m not a street photographer but if you had any clue what artist’s photos go for these days (unless you are one of the very few who have made it big), believe me, you’d be insulted by what these guys could pay you for being photographed.

    • andy

      …And you would get arrested for assault, and destruction of private property. Just because you don’t like what someone is doing, doesn’t mean you have the right to react violently.

    • Tony

      Enjoy your assault charges and civil law suit then.

    • xxx

      And you’d go to jail.

  • Bill O

    Sure you would, Marty.

    I do hope my street photographer friends who are the subject of this hit piece (the televised version where they are identifiable) will consider legal action in response to this story. This would have been a great opportunity for a news organization to cover the rich American tradition of street photography, and the local artists who follow in the footsteps of the greats – Harry Callahan, Meyerowitz, Winogrand, Cartier-Bresson.

    The only ones “crossing the line” here are the WBZ staff, with shameful and false accusations of these photographers being pornographers. This was trash journalism.

    • profootballwalk

      Harry Calahan and Winograd? In your dreams.

    • blackbear1


    • M

      They like to organize feet?

      “pedi” = feet
      “pedo” = children

      “phile” = to like, to be interested in
      “file” = to put away, to organize

    • Learntospellplease

      And you are a rapist of the english language. Seriously. Please get offline.

    • Faye
    • Archie

      Just saw this… A notice about the exhibition they talked about in the article.

    • Mark

      “I’d love to find out what they’re doing with it”

      Then why don’t you walk on down to the gallery, you ingrate.

      Hmm, seems like tier one reporting, has CNN heard of this? Some of you guys might be getting promoted!!!!!

      “Will you shut that off please?” Uh, he’s being pretty damn nice when you get up in his face. And you’re not photographing him, oh great one, that’s called a “video camera”. Say it with me, V-I-D-E-O. Okay, now you’ve got it. A photograph isn’t captured at 30fps, now welcome to doltville.

      “It’s what they have to do, for their art”

      And did you even bother looking to see if said art existed? No. You didn’t really care much about reporting the “facts” here, all you wanted was to go on your own self righteous witch hunt in order to show how incredibly pious your news crew is.

      Congratulations, you have proven your tiered ability to be moved by rumor and unsubstantiated fact, now maybe tomorrow you can pretend it’s not april fools
      and imagine as if you have any skill as something we like to call a “journalist” and actually report the news, without inserting your own bias into the story, k thanks bud.

      And haha, you can’t even screen cap, you had to film your monitors for the video, you guys are such a failure of a news team.

      • Mark

        I feel bad for these people below me who are so easily swayed by such a sensationalistic story, how bland it must be, being so susceptible to rumors and unsubstantiated facts.

  • SMC

    It may not be illegal, but it is creepy and disgusting. As a young woman, it infuriates me that these creepy old men are allowed to sneak up on women and take pictures like this. (Such as the man caught bending over behind that poor woman to take pictures of her legs.) Anyone with good intentions would back off when so many people are upset.

  • emom

    Pardon me, BUT WHAT <<<< you mean to tell us that these old men, have RIGHTS to just walk up behind women and children and not ASK their permission to take their photos, I am sorry, I thought if you were to be photographed you needed to sign a waiver otherwise the photos were deleted or turned over immediatly… REALLY THESE PERVS HAVE RIGHTS,, oh i AM SORRY NOW THAT THIS STORY HAS AIRED I SO BET THAT SOME MOTHER IS GOING TO YELL COP, a perv photo graphed my childs legs, give us a break will yuh,,, in the world of pedophiles and sicko's, this is boardering on privacy. and just wait it will come out that is is wrong…SORRY FELLORS this is wrong,

    • Michael

      To bad, in your sanctimonious indignation, you are in fact, WRONG. Next time, bone up on photographer’s rights before you spout your ill informed ‘opinions’.

      • Patrick

        Yeah, its to bad there are a few no talent sexually confused weirdos out there, but this should not be the grounds on how all photographers are viewed. It would be really sad if life was only recorded on terrible quality video recorders with no real artistic representation. Most people that pick up cameras and persue this hobbie/career are really interested in showing the world how beautiful or terrible it is from their own perspective. Imagine someone calling James Nachtwey or Ansel Adams a perv for taking photographs.

    • James

      while I am not agreeing with what these men do. The law is this. They only need a release form if you can be recognized in the photo, and the photo is for commercial use. Downtown crossing is a public area, and as that you have no reasonable (and that is the key word reasonable) expectation of privacy. If they are taking pictures of your bare legs you have already given up that privacy by wearing a skirt etc. If they however were to stick the camera lens of the skirt, they have gone beyond what is reasonable, and have broken the law. These men legally have done nothing wrong whether you agree with it or not. As a photographer I personally would not do something like this. It does feel creepy, but at the same time art is often controversial. This definitely falls into that realm.

    • Ryan

      Might I suggest you lock your children in their rooms and convert to Islam, and wear a hi jab, if you are that concerned about “privacy”. Wake up Hun, there is no expectation of privacy in public, and yes, they have rights, JUST like you. If you thought they had to get your permission, or have you sign a waiver, that or delete or turn over their photos, then you are sadly lacking in your understanding of the law, maybe you should educate yourself on the REAL laws of the country, not the ones you or people like you make believe into your reality. The world is a much safer place today then it has ever been in the best part of 70 years for the safety of women and children, and people like you STILL suffer from media fueled delusional social paranoia (from “news” pieces just like this). YES, every man with a camera is out to get you and rape your child! Grow a brain, e-mommy!

    • Tony

      Boy, you have no idea how the law works, do you,

  • Des

    Unless the photographers are detaining people or interfering with their movement, this is a non-story. They are making photos in a public space.

  • royp

    We should go down there and follow these guys around with video cameras. See how they like it.

    Laws reallly need to be changed. Capturing a person inadvertantly is one thing, these guys are zooming in on womens legs. That is creepy and invasive,

    • DavidinD


      Laws should be changed??

      How the eFF do you know they were zooming in on womens legs? It appears that they had a wide-angle lens. They even showed the reporters and there is a link above.

      Do your effing research before you make a new oughtta-be-a-law

    • DoesNoOneReadTheConstitution

      The First Amendment. Look it up.

    • Lucky Phil out near Kickadogalong

      RoyP, wake up fella.
      People are followed around by video cameras every minute they are walking in the street.
      News flash. It’s called CCTV – they are everywhere, just that you forget they are there or don’t even know they are there – in the shopping mall, the supermarket, on the street, in the car park everywhere. They follow your every move. What do you think are in those black domes?

      Emom, you need to get out into the real world and not get over the fearmongering.
      Not everything you read in the papers and see on TV or the internet is actually correct.
      Sorry to break that on TV

    • Dave

      As a street photographer myself, I’d personally welcome you following me around with a video camera. This is just another news story designed to bring in more advertising and stir up controversy. Does Boston really need another national news story about overreacting to something? Have you actually read the response from the photographer that was interviewed, talked to politely, and then slaughtered on the local news?

  • Bg

    This pathetic story will have WBZ shut off in my household from now on. For a “news” organization to attack one of America’s most important artistic pursuits and to attempt to smear photojournalists for a typical Boston-local-news scare story is sickening. I sincerely hope that the photographers on the television broadcast sue WBZ off the air for defamation. I also hope that Bostonians overwhelmingly support them to prove that this is a city and not some New York suburb assuming it is entitled to special privileges as WBZ typically represents it. WBZ should be ashamed of itself and I look forward to hearing on WHDH and WCVB of the enormous payouts it’s forced to make to these photographers.

    • WW

      When they take a few “Street” pictures of your wife’s body come back and tell us if you feel the same way. That guy in the video was most definitely bent over behind those women taking pictures.

      • RawheaD

        Billy Bob,

        The link provided by several people in this thread has information on an upcoming photo exhibit. Why don’t you try to read for once? I understand it’s probably not your strong suit, but still.

      • Michal

        Well, to start I always make sure that my wife is dressed up properly. If you go out on the street with your tits and ass out, you’re asking for it… If EVERYONE can see it on the street with the naked eye, what’s the difference if the guy takes a photo of that? 1000 guys have seen it in flesh anyway.

      • Bill Bob


        The old she’s asking for it line? Really? That’s as ignorant now as when a rapist uses it in court before being put away. These guys aren’t artists. They’re creeps. I see them every day for years! Where are the thousands of pics they take? They might have some credibility if there was a gallery or a web site they could point to showing the thousands of pics they too. BUT nope. nothing.

    • JRM

      WBZ is protected by the same rights to freedom of press that your little friends exploit in a most intrusive and disgusting manner. It is obvious that WBZ struck a nerve, as they caught you in the midst of borderline voyeurism; your only response seems to be to whine and threaten to sue. I applaud WBZ for taking this risk, and bringing another issue of serious invasion of privacy to the public. I definitely agree that street photography is an important artistic pastime of this and many other countries, but your perverse defense of illegal, sexual photography is, well, that…perverse.

      • 1stAmendment

        There is nothing illegal or sexual about the photos these guys were taking (as evidenced by the links provided). Furthermore, it is entirely protected by the First Amendment. In addition, there is no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when you’re in public. So… you’re wrong.

      • Andrew Coutermarsh


        For the last time, there’s no such thing as an invasion of privacy in a public place. It’s simply a non-issue. You can’t walk around in public and expect any kind of privacy.

        Yes, street photography is voyeuristic. That’s its nature. But not voyeuristic in the sexual sense. It’s simply a way to see into people’s lives in a way that is, frankly, noninvasive, and shows how groups of people act in today’s society.

        I have to wonder, Bg, if you’re the same kind of person who thinks that when you buy a portrait from a portrait photographer, you think you’re allowed to make as many copies as you want, because it’s a photo of you, rather than something whose copyright is owned by the photographer.

  • emom

    Wasnt it not to long ago , that people were getting in trouble for using their cell phones to take photos but if someone else was in it that they could get fined or something,… I seem to remember soemthing on this from last year or so… some one please check , as these guys armed with cameras, with telephoto lens, can do anything even from a great distance, and the people havent a clue ,, I am so greatfull to have learned about this actions , Yes its invasion of space, let me ask how would you feel if all of a sudden you see OLD GUYS with cameras snapping photos of the back of your legs rightup to your bottom and it was of your 6 year daughter,,,, that would freak me out enough to ask what they are doing and ask to look at what they are doing,, if they have nothing to hide they would graceiously SHOW YOU,,, If they do to you like they did with the news man,, and say and do nothing to show you , then there is serious cause for alarms, A true photographer will let you know they are photo graphing you as if they plan on using it I would think they need your permission.

    • Ryan

      a street photographer would not let you know he was photographing you, maybe he would after, as it takes away the natural look, poise, and feel of the photograph. just because you are too narrow minded to try to understand it does not mean what they are doing is wrong.

    • ThinkBeforeReacting

      They aren’t using “telephoto” lenses, they’re using wide angle lenses, that’s why they have to get close. Nothing in the article says they were taking photos from far away. And even if they were using telephoto lenses, as has been stated many times above, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you are walking down a public street. If they can snap photos of your legs up to your bottom, then your skirt or shorts are exposing your legs up to your bottom…they aren’t putting cameras under skirts (which WOULD be illegal).

      There is absolutely no need to obtain permission unless the image is going to be used for a commercial purpose, meaning, promoting a product, promoting the photographer’s business, etc. It could be used in a textbook, in an art gallery, or posted in an online gallery on the photographer’s website with no permission needed. Educate yourself on the law before talking like you know something about it.

  • emom

    Oh how would you actually feel if alll of a sudden you happen to see a photo of you child and dont remember it, to reconize thats your child and you have no idea why that photo is there in some book, magazine, poster, art gallery, or worse some web site,,,, I think most would be irate and ticked, I say keep investigating these guys, If they are on the up and up then its all good , but if they continually block you and demand YOU get out of their face, then there are red flags with that…….. they are up to no good then,,..,,,

    • Andrew Coutermarsh

      The problem that shows up in situations like this is when somebody does explain what they’re doing and that’s not good enough for you. If a woman walked up to me and asked me what I was doing, I most certainly would hand her my business card, explain what I do and show her photos from my camera… but I don’t HAVE to do that. I do it so as not to appear creepy, but appearing creepy is—guess what?—not a crime. (photos of some kids skateboarding)

      I took those photos from a distance at first, and after the kids who were skateboarding down at the boardwalk where I live, and once they noticed me I engaged them and showed them. They loved it and began doing tricks so I could capture them in action. A few weeks later I got a comment on my blog from the grandmother of one of the kids, thanking me for the photos and exclaiming how great she thought it was that I had wanted to take them in the first place. And it never would have happened if I hadn’t started out by doing it surreptitiously.

      But the fact of the matter is, there is no legal way that you can prevent photographers from taking your picture. If it creeps you out, well, I’m sorry to say that you have no recourse. None. There is no Constitutional right to not be offended.

      Oh, and by the way, if you were looking through a photography book and saw your kid’s picture? You’d still probably have no recourse. You only need a model release for a photograph that is used in a NON-editorial context. That means that newspapers, news websites, blogs, art galleries, etc. can use photos without a release all day long. When the photograph is used to promote a service or product, that’s where releases are needed (commercial photography vs. editorial photography).

  • steven Alexander

    The only objectionable parts of this story are, one the bias against the photographers by WBZ and the pack hunting nature of the photographers.
    The art of street photography is widely accepted in the world of art and exhibited in great museum around the world. Why a television news department would find this form of art unacceptable is mind blowing, after all don’t news cameras intrude into all sorts of personal and private spaces to capture a moment. And as for this group hunt on the street, if the description on the news report is correct, it would seem to not contribute to the ability to capture really natural events on the street.

  • Rich

    It is actually a group hunt. They are out there daily. They are often together as a group,especially in the afternoon. Street photography is,in my opinion,one of the best forms of photography. These guys may have incredible skills and talent,but they cross the line when they aim their cameras at women’s breasts,behinds and legs; they have been seen many times doing that by people in the area. I have female friends whom have been approached and photographed inappropriately by these guys. If anything, these guys make street photography look very bad, not WBZ-TV 4

  • ron

    If their version of street photography is so innocent and widely accepted,
    why do they object so strenuously to another group of street photographers doing to them what they are doing to others???

    • RawheaD

      Are you serious? Look at the kind of lunatic responses you see in this thread. Having a TV crew come in and portray you like that is like putting a crosshair on your forehead. Would *you* like it if a TV crew came to you, doing something that it perfectly legal, but just happens to be considered *bad* by a certain sector of society, after which the piece gets aired for people in that sector to see?

      Use your imagination, people.

  • TiredOfIt

    I propose many many people show up downtown with cameras and follow these photographers relentlessly taking pictures of THEM, because it is legal, and they can’t stop you.

  • timma

    keep video taping them. eventually one will cross the line as that a$$hole did by taking a pic from an inappropriate angle. i wouldn’t be surpirsed if one of them is a sex offender that has blended in as an artist.

    • Andrew Coutermarsh

      It’s attitudes like this that result in people getting accosted by police for taking photos of THEIR OWN CHILDREN, for fear that they might be pedophiles.

      I hate this change in attitudes that seems to result in the ASSUMPTION that somebody is up to no good, rather than the assumption of, “perhaps I simply don’t understand what it is they’re doing, and therefore I’m attributing a little bit of fear to something that needs none at all.”

  • Bill Lee

    someone please send me the address of these men so I can hang around there houses and take some photos.It would be kind of fun I think

    • Andrew Coutermarsh

      If you did that, you would TRULY be violating their privacy, instead of what they’re doing, which doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy at all. If you disagree, you really, really need to understand the law better.

    • Tony

      And then you would be in the wrong. Go read up on expectation of privacy and harassment. Following someone with the intent of harassing them, shooting someone through their windows – that’s breaking the law. Snapping their picture on the street corner as they pass – this is legal.

      Get informed on the law before you open your ignorant mouth.

  • emom

    Oh I say lets go ,, set up a photo opt and sit and snap photos of them snapping photos of women and children with out them KNOWNING,,, I am sure if we show these people and the parents of the children ,,, well lets just say,,,, watch out you guys cause H*LL HAS NO FURY OF A EXTREMELY ANGRY WOMEN OR MOTHER……… If these guys wont let you see the photo they took, then I feel the next step is a nice phone call for harashment….. wonder if that might make them leave or change their minds or have them investigated…………

    • Tony

      Eh, as a street photographer, I say knock yourself out – assuming you follow the law, of course. If you want to take my picture, go right ahead – I have nothing to hide.

  • Jay

    These poseurs aren’t artists. They’re not even photographers. Street photography is about telling stories. It’s about capturing the vibe of a city. It’s about capturing emotion. These bozos aren’t doing any of that.

    • Michael

      And you know this how???

  • WhatNonsense

    What a stupid story. What they’re doing is 100% legal. Now if they’re profiting off of images of people, thats another thing. But thats not the focus of the story. They’re taking photos of people in public. This whole obsession with whether or not people are doing ‘weird’ things is the problem. They’re not molesting people, they’re not even hurting anyone.

    • srl

      You can actually sell them, as art. A release is only required if their likeness is being used for commercial purposes. It’s interesting that they’re not at all concerned with the fact that they’re probably being recorded on video by surveillance dozens of times through out the neighborhood.

  • Ty

    Wow, so much Wharrgarbl and Derp in this thread.

    I’ll put it this way, if these photographers were taking shady pictures of people, there’s need to run up to or around their victims. They’d use a 400/500mm telephoto lens and do so from 1000 feet away, where you morons would have no idea what they were taking a picture of.

    They’re making art, and you reactionary idiots need to have a reality check and remove those tin foil hats. Shame on WBZ.

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  • silverbullet

    Those amateurish dudes kick the old genre ‘streetphotography’ with their shoes. Looking at the video it’s clear that this is ‘photography under an open sky’ but not streetphotography in it’s real meaning. By these blokes people become more and more sensitive about men using cameras in open public…and the results out of this actions is boring, boring and more boring…….as shooting lions in the zoo.

  • eileen

    As a female street photographer, I don’t believe the public would have such a strong reaction if it were a group of woman rather than a group of men. The public associates men and cameras as creeps and pedophiles. Those kind of people hide from their subjects. These men appear be to straight forward about what they are doing. Knees, thighs, breasts, if you want them hanging out there, they going be ogled at and and in this case photographed. I shoot woman, I shoot men, I shoot homelessness, I shoot garbage in the street, I shoot children at play. I shoot in groups, I shoot alone. I am a photographer regardless of the fact that the general public feels we are on some dirty little mission of perversion.

    • Sean Galbraith

      As well you should be. Keep it up.

      • Michael

        Sanity! What a concept. thanks for providing some.

  • shutterbug

    This is ridiculous on two fronts, both of which ought to shame WBZ.

    First, some of the greatest names in photography — Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank — are known to us because they captured life on the street. Street photography has been an art form for more than a century.

    Second, as a photographer, I always check out other photographers’ gear and techniques. I see these guys in action almost every day during the spring and summer and from what I’ve observed they aren’t “targeting women and children.” Period. Unless they’re radically changing their MOs when I walk through, this segment is a real misrepresentation of what they do.

    • 123454321

      I’ve talked to them a couple times and they don’t just stay downtown and they seem pretty chill. You are knowingly subject to being photographed when you leave the house so if you’re concerned with someone photographing your bare legs, cover them up.

  • emom

    Photographers are not the problem, those that are asked what they are doing, and DEMAND that you turn of the cameras and mind your own business. Well seem to have something to hide, IF it is all on the up and up , and its purely on a get the VIBE of the city,,, Why not show share and prove to the world thats what its all about,, if there is nothing to hidem Why not show the person you are photgraphing the photos let them be the judge , I find it all a bit creappy to see older men photographing only WOMEN AND GIRLS,, why wouldn’t anyone be worried about that…… PROVE IT IS HARMELESS, whats the problem with that.

    • ty


      They did, and they even taped what the photographers shot. They edited it out of this manufactured story.

    • jwm

      Apparently you didn’t look at the blog link in one of the very first posts, in which one of the photographers posted several of his pictures of legs and feet. Take a look if you want some proof of what they’re doing. From experience, these cameras are not the type you’d use to shoot up a skirt, they’re wide angle lenses and you’d literally have to put the camera itself up someone’s skirt to get a perverted picture. Here’s the link:

    • JHJ

      Emom, please click on the link and read the other side of this story and let me know your reaction. Thanks…

    • Andrew Coutermarsh

      Here’s the thing, though, emom: They don’t have to do ANY of that. They don’t owe you any kind of explanation, no matter how much you’d like to get one. They can choose to extend that courtesy to you, but it is THEIR CHOICE to do so.

      Even if they WERE taking pictures for their own, erm, “enjoyment,” there’s nothing you can do about it. If I were some pervert who got a sexual thrill from looking at women’s ponytails, or some other equally odd fetish, and I went around taking photos of the back of women’s heads all day, most people wouldn’t assume I was a pervert. But they wouldn’t KNOW, either.

      What you say is true: they COULD be perverts. You’re absolutely right. But that doesn’t change the fact that even if they WERE taking pictures for some sexual reason, it’s not like you can stop them. As long as they aren’t invading your space or trying to take photos of something that you’ve chosen to cover up (i.e. your underwear), then you can’t stop them and if you were to ask them to stop, they still wouldn’t have to. You really need to understand the law better, I’m afraid.

      And again: There’s no law protecting you from feeling skeeved out. And there shouldn’t be one, either. The First Amendment is there to make sure that artistic expression trumps somebody else’s discomfort every time.

      • Andrew Coutermarsh

        The thing is this: As afraid as you are of pedophiles and perverts, statistics show that you have almost zero reason to be afraid of them. Child abductions have been down steadily over the last several decades, but just like shark attacks, people are so afraid of them and the news sensationalizes them so much that they think it’ll happen every time they go outside.

        It doesn’t.

        The problem with “constant vigilance” (to utilize a line from the Harry Potter books) is that you become hypersensitive to the environment and you think that things that aren’t happening really are. You see potential threats everywhere. That’s not how I was raised, and it’s certainly not how I’m going to raise my future children. I rode my bike everywhere, by myself, when I was a little kid. I’ll give you one guess as to how many times I got abducted.

        As I said in another comment: Maybe if you took a step back and thought, “Hey, I don’t understand what these guys are doing, so maybe I should assume they AREN’T doing anything wrong,” instead of “I don’t understand what these guys are doing, so I should be afraid of it,” we wouldn’t have all these problems.

        You say you aren’t a photographer, so I’ll give you some education about it: With a standard DSLR camera and a 28mm lens (which would be pretty common for a street photographer), you’d have to get pretty damned close to somebody’s butt in order to get a shot of it. I’m talking, like, within a couple feet. If the guy was any farther away from the subject than that, then he was getting a general shot of the lower half of the woman’s body. Wide lenses do amazing things for shots like that. Heck, I’ve used a 10mm lens on my camera to make a tiny room look positively PALATIAL. With that lens, I can literally take a picture from three or four inches away from somebody’s nose and get a shot of their entire face. (It’s very distorted when you do that, but sometimes that’s the effect you want.)

        What I’m saying ultimately boils down to this: You don’t know the motives of these guys. They don’t know your name, your daughter’s name, or where you live. The amount of threat to you is almost literally nothing. So why waste your energy getting worked up over it? Can’t you have a little faith in humanity and just assume that they don’t mean anything by it?

        Also, I would suggest that the next time you encounter something you don’t understand, rather than going on an internet message board and complaining about it… maybe you should try educating yourself FIRST, rather than flying off the handle? Too much of this world’s hate is generated by ignorance. You can alleviate a lot of problems by just doing a little reading on a subject.

      • emom

        Andrew Coutermarsh, I hear what you say, I am a mother and feel this is very wrong,, I have seen many photographers in many areas, However, those I have seen don’t seem to bend over in odd positions to gain a shot,, I am no photographer But I do know of those shots caught in odd angels… But in this story this guy approached was well a bit close to the lady he snapped a shot and seemed to be looking way down…. Maybe as I had already said if these guys had not demanded that the news cameras shut of THEIR cameras when asked what they were doing would I say what I have said,,, I do not agree with there methods and if I had seen someone taking a photograph in a very peculiar position , I would approach them and ask what they were doing and would ask to see what they took as a photo. After all its my child and NO I am not trying to hide my child ,,,My child has been in the newspaper a few times , but they had permission thru the schools, which every parent has to sign . If these guys have the first amendment on their side ,,, then DON’T I, I feel I have just as much right to know and even understand why they are doing this., Maybe there should be some rights for the subjects, Honestly as a parent we need to protect our children from many dangers, we talk about pedophiles all the time and we hear stories of them being right in front of us, even women would be leery of things like this,,, Maybe we are to uptight, but as soon as we let our guard down, start to relax that’s when we hear of the worst,,,,, In the long run is it to much for them to just explain and show what they are doing, invite the public to a showing, put their fears at ease, then maybe we can relax,, I rather air on the side of caution and leave risk behind.

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