There are photographers in this world that have forever been branded as being creepy. We’re not talking about Terry Richardson (at least not necessarily). Rather, there are much smaller names out there that tend to give the photographic arts a bad name. They’re not necessarily street photographers, or portrait photographers that try to sleep with their subjects, but instead they’re those who have ill intentions. While you may not be that way, it’s simple for any one of us to come across this way and the biggest way to prevent this from happening is also a photographer’s biggest strength.
More than being able to come up with cool and crafty ideas is the fact that a photographer can have people skills. While there are some incredible photographers out there with no people skills, we have to admit that life may be tougher for them in certain situations. People skills as a photographer need to be combined with having respect for your subject and your own image as a photographer in order to truly be effective.
For years, it was perfectly fine for people to photograph children in public without facing backlash from a child’s parents. Then voyeurism and malicious intentions became a real thing that was mostly connoted with men. In more recent years, society has found it to be completely negligent of a gender and instead based on the individual. The important thing to do to prevent a parent from getting angry at you is to explain to them what you’re doing, why you want to photograph their child and then offer them a business card, print or tell them to shoot you an email. You’ll need to figure out what these reasons are, live them, and believe them. When you fully and truly believe in your own intentions, then you can probably convince someone through your mannerisms that you mean no harm.
The same concept can be applied to portraiture in asking someone for their photos, and in many other situations. The not-creepy photographer has respect for their subjects, respect for their own image, and has a completely open back-and-forth dialogue of communication with anyone and everyone interested in their work. If you can’t speak for yourself, then you’ll have a bigger problem explaining your actions even if they may not be in any way wrong or ill-meaning.
These photographers are also not exploitive of their subjects, can stop when someone says no, but can also work on some sort of middle ground.
In many situations, being a photographer has to do with listening to someone else and trying to figure out how you can best help someone or alleviate the situation. While you’ll know very well that you’re not a creepy photographer, someone else needs to know this and you’ll need to talk to people about it and explain yourself.
Sadly, what we need to keep in mind at times is that even though what we’re often doing is nothing wrong, what we’re doing can be misconstrued by the public.