Clumsy Photographers

Photographers should be reporting the story, not creating it. But my word, we have been in the news a lot lately.

The latest episode was when Usain Bolt [was] Floored by Segway-Riding Cameraman.  The fastest man in the world run down by an out of shape journalist. Thank goodness he wasn't seriously hurt. Add this reported incidents of shooters causing bike racing accidents, damaging precious objects, and being disruptive in general.

The first rule of medicine is to do no harm. I think we should adopt this for our craft too. Being nimble (and aware) while we work to ensure that we don't get the shot at the price of others.

I'm always touched, and a little embarrassed, when I notice that someone on the street has stopped while I take a picture. They didn't want to ruin my shot. When I lower the camera from my eyes and see them patiently standing there, I immediately wave them through and thank them for their courtesy. For the rest of the day I make sure I'm extra aware of those around me.

If I'm wearing a backpack, I'm quick to remove it when entering a train, tram, or bus. And I try never to block anyone's path with a tripod.

I talk a lot about nimbleosity from the photographer's point of view. Traveling light has many benefits for us. 

But I also realize that stepping lightly through the world as I photograph it is a kindness to others.

As we used to say in the wilderness...

Leave only footsteps and take only memories.