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This is an area of photography where the lady photogs have a big advantage over men. Seldom do people complain when a lady shoots kids, but if your male – you’re a guilty pedophile until proven innocent.
Now, our world is fudged up when it comes to kids and sexual predators. So I can’t complain much about this predisposition to prejudice, as that view is somewhat justified. It is just sad how things turned out.
Personally I love shooting kids. The expressions and their lack of inhibitions make them wonderful subjects for photography. But, every time I shoot stranger kids on the street I know I have to be extra careful. Consequently I don’t shoot as many kids as I like to.
I don’t know when this worldview came about, but I got my first taste of it when I was 16 or 17. I was living in L.A. and bicycled down to MacArthur Park to shoot some pix. I shot some birds, some kids as well as adults at the park. They had some retired ‘watch dog’ volunteers working at the park that kept hassling me about shooting the kids. Being kinda innocent back in the 1970’s I had no idea why he kept bothering me.
While I don’t get a lot of hassles, I still get some if I am not careful. A while back I was testing an underwater video cam at a public pool and was hassled a lot from the lifeguard. Two years ago I was shooting at a Catholic street fair After 10 minutes the chairperson came up to me and said they would call the police if I didn’t leave. Nowadays, if your a male photog shooting kids on the street…you’re automatically labeled a sexual predator. For some reason people can’t wrap their heads around why kids can make great subjects for candid photography.
I guess if my accusers’ viewed my portfolio it would not support my case much, but every male photog that shoots stranger kids is not a sexual predator. Sometimes it helps relax peoples worries if my wife is with me when I’m shooting. When you are a street and social documentary photog…people are your landscape. So that is what it is with us…we just shoot people of all ages trying to make memorable photographs.