Questionable Advice, Asheville, NC - 2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
When you're in Asheville, you usually don't have to look to long to find a situation like this. The woman on the left is a fortune teller or psychic (allegedly). Note the tools of her trade on the table in the foreground. The street is her office. The woman on the right is seeking her advice, although while I was there, she was doing most of the talking. I was about ten feet away, sitting on another bench facing them, with my camera on my lap. I kept looking around, and occasionally looked at my watch to give the impression that I was waiting to meet someone, oblivious to their presence and conversation.
So with the camera on my lap, I tried to capture this interesting scene. With not being able to look at the LCD on the back of the camera, it was very difficult to frame my subjects. There were many, many misses! But with a small, silent camera I was able to make enough exposures to get one decent one without either woman being aware. (Gee, you think a psychic would have known!)
Is this type of surreptitious photography a little creepy? Well, in the 1950s Walker Evans made portraits of New Yorkers on the subway with a camera hidden inside his coat. Many of those photos wound up in an exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So I would say, "No, it's not creepy, it's documentation; in some cases, maybe even art." Legally, the answer is also no. The courts have ruled that people in public spaces can have no expectation of privacy. In other words, they're fair game as long as they're in a public space, and the photographer remains on public space while he makes the photo. Besides, it's a fun way to kill a little time on an October afternoon.