to see and to be seen
i know that some of you will frown about this. but i believe that public space is public space - there is no right for privacy there. it means, whatever you do when you move out of your private zone at home, is being potentially visible to others, may be recorded, documented, analysed, used for someone else's purpose or simply appear in a completely different context.
why is this important? because in the age of internet and global connectivity of everyone with everyone else, too many people make the dire mistake of assuming that privacy is a right being carried around everywhere they put themselves. it is not. in fact, this concept of privacy is totally insane and has never existed at any time in history nor any place or culture in this world. we are public appearances, whenever we mingle with others. and the fact that we now have devices to document this, doesn't change anything - at least not in this basic situation.
this is important for photographers. so many of us, me included, shy away from taking people pictures in public. we learned - or assume, for that matter - that celebrities are annoyed about the constant paparazi hunt, and we fear that we're doing something similar when we shoot in public. we try to avoid criticizm and scolding by angry people who didn't want to have their picture taken. we want to be polite and ask them first for their permission, and of course obey if they deny it. this is because photographers are usually very nice people, full of ideals, lovely characters and a general soft spot for humanity.
but i tell you people: stop bullshitting yourself and everyone else. there is A PLENTYTUDE of amazing subjects and scenes and great scenes out there, just waiting for you to point your lens to! overcome your prejudice, your nicety, your fear of getting clobbered, your shyness behind the lens... go out there and sin in the name of lumière!
because photography is as much a social skill as it is a technical. and that means you can interact socially with your environment though that camera. there is so many possibilities to do this in a non-violent way (and even the violent ways may be fun). pretend shooting something aside the target you actually want. use long tele lenses. shoot people in a crowd and swiftly move on. smile your most handsome smile after you took someone's portrait. pretend not to understand his or her language when they scold at you afterwards. have a "journalist" badge with the logo of a local newspaper on your chest. wear good running shoes and keep your equipment always neatly pocketed for a tight escape.
most of all: stop bashing yourself with moral. there is non behind photography, there is none behind being in public, and there certainly isn't much in being interested in other people's oddities.
just one warning: don't shoot people in public in texas. they wear guns there and they don't hesitate to use them.