Friday, 28 December 2012

Street photography

Henrik Nor-Hansen

In Vancouver I found a huge grocery store that had good natural light from the ceiling. I decided to do a project about shopping. I was interested in that glassy look some people get when being bored or overly tired.

But it turned out that I was underestimating the customers at the store. I was on their turf, and I soon got rounded up by a mob of hockey moms, or just suburban women in general. One of them shouted that I photographed her nine year old daughter. This is when I realized that further arguing could be difficult.

I told them about my art project. I thought this would prove that I was not perverse. But knowing about my project enraged them even more. Why? Because taking pictures of people in a shopping mall was not art.

Then I suddenly knew these women. I grew up in the same kind of suburban neighborhood. Canada or Norway, it doesn't matter. It's a kind of inflamed anger that's really puzzling.

They demanded the pictures deleted. I knew they had no right to do so, but what the heck. Who cares? Next time I will just use a more compact camera, with a silent shutter.

Fred Herzog (born 1930) is a Canadian photographer, and many of his pictures have become icons of Vancouver's short history. He once said that it was way easier to do street photography in the past. Now we're all paranoid.