I currently am working a temporary part-time job where I take photographs of street intersections and street signs for insurance claims. It is definitely adventurous work and each day that I do this job usually includes an interesting event or story to tell by days end. With that being said I thought I would compile a list of my top 5 annoyances from shooting photos on the streets of Tennessee in hopes that this article will sort of be a “heads up” for you on what you can expect so that you are fully prepared.
Annoyance #1 – Disrespectful or rude people (including gangsters). Now I don’t mind it that people may occasionally stare at the guy in the street who is taking photos, I’m sure they are wondering what I am doing in front of their house. I also do not mind when a person kindly asks me what I am doing, why, or who I work for. BUT I absolutely hate being treated disrespectfully. I’ve had people yell and tell me to go home and others follow me in their car and take photos of me. Sometimes you will encounter a gangster or two and need to use your instincts on how to approach the situation. Luckily I’ve never been threatened or had a weapon pointed in my direction up to this point. Usually most people are nice and respectful but there are some bad eggs out there, I like to say eggs because I feel as though I am not always dealing with fully developed individuals.
Annoyance #2 – Dogs that chase you because they are not tied up and are roaming freely in the street or their respective yard. I hate when this happens, I’m riding down the street on my bike heading towards my next intersection and then I hear a bark, “no biggie” I think to myself until I look and see a dog darting at full speed into the street towards me. Why can’t people tie up their yard pets or get the invisible fence? For the love of me and the mail man! I understand if I am shooting on a country road but this usually occurs in residential neighborhoods. You gotta be quick sometimes!
Annoyance #3 – Dogs that bark at you and think they are tough when they are not. These dogs really get under my skin, they are usually small dogs such as a chihuahua or some sort of terrier. They can be cute little dogs, but when they start barking at you in a threatening manner I feel like picking them up and launching them over the nearest rooftop. These are usually the type of dogs to bark non-stop at you and even run toward you but then if you turn around and start walking towards them they run away.
Annoyance #4 – Dogs that have annoying barks and howls…it sounds like your torturin’ a munchkin!
Annoyance #5 – People that hang outside in the street for fun. Tim already addressed this in his article What To Do About Taking Photographs In The Neighborhoods of America. Why do so many people just hang out in the street or in front of their house all day?!?! I mean, why can’t they find something more productive to do with their time? Come on people go find some work to do, read a book, go to the park, go build something or help someone else build something for crying out loud! It’s quite annoying when I ride up to an intersection and have to walk around a group of people in the street doing nothing in order to get my photos done.
“So now you pretty much know what I do. Pretty dang exciting, huh?”
My closing words of wisdom are to stay alert, stay on your toes, use your instincts and hopefully you’ll be a surviving street photographer.