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Yellow Vest Man strikes again

I can’t work out whether he was being considerate or predatory, but he waited until I’d tripped the shutter before pouncing. I could see him out of the corner of my eye as I looked down into the waist-level finder, waiting for the figure to reach the plain of focus.  As soon as the shot was taken, he was on me in a flash:

Yellow Vest Man: Can I ask what you’re taking photos of and who they’re for?

Me: Ah, well…

YVM: Because this is a private estate, you see?

Me (spotting the public pavement surely no more than five meters away): Well, where does the private estate end and the public pavement begin?

YVM (pointing at the private/public line  50cms from where I’m standing): Here, see?

Me: Well then…

YVM: So can I ask what you’re taking photos of and who they’re for?

Me: I’m…(sigh)…taking photos of buildings and people and they’re for me.

YVM: Oh, that’s OK then, because otherwise you’d need a permit.

Me (slightly taken aback with the ease at which that standoff was negotiated): No, no. This film will sit around for a couple of months, then it will get processed at some point, but it will be months if not years after that if anything more happens to it.

YVM: I see, ok.

Me: And even then, at best it will sit as a digital file doing nothing for years.

YVM (backing away now): Oh right.

Me: And if I do ever make a print, it will probably be for my eyes only.

YVM: Yeah.

Me: In fact I doubt it was even in focus.  I’ve just changed the focus screen, you see.  I just like using old cameras.

YVM (turned and on his way): Well, good luck.

This was on Friday on the walk to work, and it’s nor the first time I’ve been stopped in the Broadgate complex; their security is pretty swift. But I’ve had far worse conversations, this guy was actually OK, happy just to see me on my way.  Some YVM are very insistent (and wrong) in claiming I cannot photograph their buildings, cannot wave a camera around, cannot be on their estate without permission, etc.  I’m sure you’ve all seen it, but there was a good video doing the rounds last week of five photographers’ experiences shooting in the capital.  All of them got stopped at some point. The Yellow Vest Men are the only baddies here, the police do a pretty good job in these particular situations to explain and diffuse any tension. In my case, I was actually, technically, albeit pedantically on his turf. By half a meter.

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