Friday, 30 December 2011

I'm Not A Terrorist, I'm A Photographer. Even if not a very good one.

I'm not sure how many photographs there are going to be on this blog, you know. I do rather fancy popping in a few rants about actual Types of Letterbox, by way of a USP or at least a way of venting my rage and pain when I come home with skewered fingernails or ripped knuckles, but another cause for rage and pain in the wider world is the current attitude towards photography, or at least towards possession and use of a camera in a public place. I have actually had my collar felt, or very nearly, for the awful crime of wielding both a digital camera and a notebook on a quiet suburban street, and though the Noddyplods who did the near-lifting were very civil and there was no taking-into-the-van-for-a-kicking involved, it was unsettling and really, when I think about it, very annoying.
It happened a couple of months back, when Mr Kite was still being a would-be property magnate, and had assigned me to a few days' house-hunting. The brief was to roam a designated area and report back to him any houses or flats that were for sale, for rent or unoccupied, something which I had previously been doing while delivering leaflets offering to buy properties the owners wanted to sell. So there I was, outside a none-too-delightful 60s terrace, snapping the middle one with its For Sale board and up popped Little and Large the Noddyplods, wanting to know what I thought I was doing. I explained. I gave them a copy of Mr Kite's property-buyer leaflet. They listened, then they asked for ID. Having been down the payday loan shop before starting work, I did have a phone bill in my pocket, which they studied gravely before calling the station to run a criminal records check on me! Midway through this malarkey, I realised that Large, the taller plod, was in fact the plod who usually patrols outside Trainboy's school, chasing away the parents who park in the No Parking zone, and mentioned this. I prattled brightly about Trainboy, schools, parenthood and the community, and the fact that Large was off his regular patch as much as I was. The plods relaxed a little, and then relaxed some more when the station got back to them to say that they had absolutely no record of me ever having done anything naughty, so they wished me well and wandered off. Leaving me feeling a bit like that poor sod who almost got labelled a peedafil and hauled off in a meat wagon for taking a picture of his own kid riding a plastic elephant in a shopping centre.
So if I get observed taking photographs of people's front doors I will probably end up in Guatanamo Bay.

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