I was going along to "I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist" in London's Trafalgar Square tomorrow, but I've decided that it's not the right thing to do...
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't go or that you're fuelling the fire by turning up, but I can't help but feel that this is only going to make things worse.
Why? Well, I look after a forum and there was a thread about a guy in the U.K. being a bit miffed at being stopped by Police and asked stuff.. Well, the thread went on and people offered opinions etc - and then one of our members, an ex policeman from the US (Or Canada, I can't recall) offered an opinion... And all of this got me thinking... Why would a cop stop you? He needs to think you're doing something wrong etc and yes, I know in a lot of cases the Police / Specials / Security Guards that stop us are not quite up with what we're allowed to photograph and not... But I can't help thinking that if we were a bit more polite and less stand-offish to start with, that the conversation would last about a minute and then both parties would be on their sweet way...The last time I was stopped and asked what I was doing I was immediately on the attack and was sure as hell that I was in the right!
I also think that as a result of all the coverage that this debacle has received, at least here in the UK, has created a heightened sense of "Well, I'm going to go out of my way to prove my point" and this is on the side of both the photographer and the policeman... And we both know where that ends up! with both parties trying to "one up" the other.
So tomorrow with you all turning up in Trafalgar Sq, and power to you, I can't help but think that it's just going to step this big back and forth joke up some more and that if we all started treating each other with a bit more old school "human'ness" that we'd get along a lot better...Why don't we as photographers invite the Police to come to Trafalgar Sq and do a huge portrait shoot and BBQ instead!..
I've no reason / proof for my theory other than what's going on in my head, but the next time I get stopped I'm not going to be a complete tool, I'm going to be a human being and treat the man or woman that stops me with some common decency and see if it gets me anywhere... If I get battoned and locked up for the night, we'll all know I was wrong... (Unless it's by one of those "special police women..nudge nudge, wink wink!" )