A mild dispute about the rules of tourist photography happened last night in downtown Savannah, or rather in the tourist section around Congress Street. Serves me right for going there. What happened was more or less a repeat of an incident that happened five years ago. Nobody was rude, nobody shouted, it was all cool. But I was once again reminded that while I don’t hate tourists as a rule I really don’t like dealing with them as they always seem to have tedious attitudes. Here’s how it went down in 2011:
“I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski…just don’t expect me to stop and wait while you take a photo. Because I don’t do that, no offense.”
“I raised my camera to take a picture of a couple of Clydesdale horses, and right at that moment a heavyset woman who was about to walk in front of my viewing path went “oh” and stopped and waited. She was being polite, of course, but I’ve said before that waiting for someone to snap a photo is a mark of middle-class cluelessness about photography. A good photographer has to roll with what happens, and sometimes you can get a better shot if somebody or something is half-obscuring what you’re shooting. You never know, and you’re better off not knowing.
“I never stop and wait for a picture to be taken…ever.
“In any case, I said ‘thanks…it’s okay…it’s cool’ to the woman. But I didn’t say it the right way. She took umbrage and asked if I had an attitude problem. I was just trying to escape but to mess with her I said ‘uh, yeah, I guess I do.’ She stopped in her tracks. “What is your problem?” People like you, I wanted to say. People who don’t understand that one of the tenets of mediocre photography is refusing to accept the natural unruliness of life and to just go with what happens when you’re shooting and stop trying to control everything. But instead I said ‘it’s cool, doesn’t matter’ and turned away.”