Hi all. It’s been a while since my last post here. I thought I’d share with you something that happened to me very recently.
One day last week, while I had a bit of time to myself, I went to the Waterfront here, a very popular local spot, with lots of picturesque views, boats and plenty of people. It’s a place where people meet, relax, or at work or taking a break from work or college.
I took my camera with me as I am a very keen photographer and nearly always have a camera with me wherever I go.
I popped in to have a cup of coffee first at a nice coffee shop. When I finished, I walked out into blazing sunshine and took a few moments to let myself adjust to this. My phone signalled an incoming email so I started to read it, but in the bright sunshine I found it quite difficult to read so stood to one side of the pavement to shade it as best I could. I was reading intently and was vaguely aware of a car parked half on the pavement quite close to me. As I continued reading I became aware in my peripheral vision that a man had got in the car. I moved to make sure I wasn’t in the way. He got out of the car again and walked purposefully toward me. I looked up and saw that he was talking to me, (I also had earphones on listening to music) I removed my earphones and told him I was sorry but had not heard him. He asked loudly and quite aggressively “why are you taking photos of me?” I replied that I was not and was just reading my email on my phone. (my camera was round my neck) He didn’t believe me and continued being quite aggressive. I decided the best thing to do was to walk on. He approached me again. Now I made the mistake of saying to him “why are you assuming just because I’ve got a camera that I’m taking photos of you?”. It was the way I said it. I had let my voice rise. Oops! This man was quite a lot bigger than me and I immediately realised that I was provoking an already angry and aggressive person. I won’t repeat what he said to me here, but suffice to say there was a lot of swearing. He then pushed me quite hard in the middle of the chest. I stood my ground and just pointed out that there were quite a lot of security cameras around us and that this wasn’t wise. He left with few words directed at me.
I took a few minutes to gather myself and recover my composure. I didn’t feel angry with him, but I did feel quite scared and realised I could have got into a potentially dangerous situation. I like to think that I’m someone always prepared and able to relate to, communicate and interact well with others. I reflected on what I learned here. I could have just walked away after denying that I had taken a photo of him and explaining I was just reading an email. That might have been the end of it. But I suspect because he was fixated on the possibility of having had his photo taken without his knowledge he might still have come after me.
I’m developing a strong interest in ‘street photography’ an area of photography that’s becoming quite popular. I realised that to do it well, I need to work on developing my skills at interacting with people on the street. In my opinion this has to be a genuine interest in people and the subject of the photograph. I prefer to let someone know what I’m doing as that’s what feels personally ethical to me. Reading photography publications, websites and viewing ‘you tube’, it seems a lot of photographers have issues with this and often find themselves in tricky situations. Ironically, I was not taking a photo, when my situation happened!
I may be a therapist , but I’m a human first, and have to deal with the challenges of life just the same as everyone else. I choose to respond as best I can, knowing how difficult that can be in the heat of a moment. I may not get it right, but what is right? As long as I learn from my experience and accept my part in it I’m doing OK. I do my best to view every being as OK, however challenged I am.
I decided to make an effort to accept the other person who had confronted me. In other words he has the right to do that in my eyes, and I am able to respond to it. It is a personal challenge and I would think a challenge for all of us. It’s a chance for mindfulness and kindness to both ourselves and others and to express compassion to others and self too. Acceptance, mindfulness, kindness and compassion are the main points here and I’m going to continue discussing these in the next post.
Until the next post, I wish you well.