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.
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.