December 7th, 2004


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12:43 am - on being the creepy old man...

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on being the creepy old man... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: December 7th, 2004 - 05:17 am (Link)
When citgirl and I were doing the photography for her book on the Dino-mite Days exhibit (well, she was taking the pictures, I was wielding the mighty laptop) we came across several situations where there would have been some great shots with kids playing on or around the dinosaurs, and that was awkward as hell. Meredyth made sure to make herself as "kid-friendly" looking as possible, usually wearing her Dino-mite Days t-shirt, and we talked to the parents if we could find them prior to taking any pictures, and if we couldn't find the parents, we waited until the kids were gone to take any pics. Granted, this was also because pictures of their kids might end up getting published (assuming that the lawyers at the Carnegie ever get off their asses), but also it seemed to reassure the parents. Usually, I would stand around and talk to the parents while Meredyth took the pictures so that I could tell them about the book, and what generally ended up happening was that the parents were delighted to help us, and asked us to let them know when the book was published. Even so, I felt really creepy the whole time.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 7th, 2004 - 08:05 am (Link)
yeah, I think you're pretty much experiencing the same feeling. But in your case, as least you had a "legitimate purpose" that you could explain to the parents. "My wife and I are collecting images of children playing for a book, do you mind if we photograph yours?" As opposed to me, "oh your daughter looks cute. I'm taking her picture."

Also, it likely helps that you're white. It shouldn't. But it probably does.
[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: December 7th, 2004 - 09:13 am (Link)
"My wife and I are collecting images of children playing for a book, do you mind if we photograph yours?"

Actually, it was even better than that. "My wife and I are collecting images of the dinosaur sculptures for a children's book. Would you mind if we went ahead and took the pictures with your kids in it?"

Also, it likely helps that you're white. It shouldn't. But it probably does.

I'm fairly certain it does make a difference, which really sucks. Interestingly, though, it was the black families who were more likely to agree, and more interested in helping out. Heck, when we were taking pictures of "Jazzosaurus" over in the Hill District, the people who were hanging out nearby went and got the artist, talked to us about it and all his other art for a while, and invited us back for an improv jazz concert the next day. Pretty damn cool.

What made even more of a difference, however, is the fact that Meredyth can come off sounding like a very large 8-year-old when she's talking about the book. :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 7th, 2004 - 09:22 am (Link)
yeah, its a different mentality. Where white people might be afraid that the scary nubian black man taking pictures of their kids is going to kidnap, rape and kill them, black people think that the goofy white people hanging out in the hood taking pictures of their kids must be doing something important. Goofy, but important. Granted, those are stereotypes and your milage may vary, but you're right, that is kind of an interesting phenomenon.
 

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