3721 W 111th St.
Mt. Greenwood was my third pool and the first white (or not majority black) pool that I photographed. I took the same approach as before. This pool is accessed through locker rooms, so I went into the building, into the women's locker room and onto the deck. All with out seeing a single person. I removed my shoes. Took out my camera and took a picture.
You can see a crazy woman entering my frame from the left side in the above shot. When I took my camera down she was righ next to me. Who are you!! Who let you in?! she wanted to know. I laughed at the thought of someone “letting me in”. The building was unmanned from what I could tell and all the doors were propped open. I told her who I was and what I was doing. She was concerned that I had taken a photograph of her Summer Camp kids.
HER: You'll have to delete that.
ME: It's FILM.
HER: Well, I think I may need to confiscate your film.
Again I laughed a little. No one has the right to confiscate a photographers film, let alone for taking a picture AT A PUBLIC PARK.*
I calmly walked back to her bosses office with her. He was a nice looking, middle-aged white guy. She anxiously explained the situation to him. After I introduced myself to him and gave him my card he seemed convinced that I was not a threat in the least and was able to calm her a bit. She was very concerned about the photo because the camp kids have to sign a waiver to be photographed (BY THE PARK DISTRICT – NOT ME). She cited privacy concerns and then proceeded to make me vaguely aware of details of the various private situations going on with her camp kids, including foster kids and adoption etc.... HELLO – privacy. It was way more then I needed to know. Her boss made a call to some mean ass woman at the park district and she told me that I needed permission from her to take pictures at the pool and if I wanted to take pictures of “anything else” I could call some other Park District asshole. I took the number, thanked everyone and made my exit.
*That night, when discussing the issue with my roommate he brought up the Photographers Bill of Rights. Which states in part:
Members of the public have a very
limited scope of privacy rights when
they are in public places. Basically,
anyone can be photographed without
their consent except when they have
secluded themselves in places where
they have a reasonable expectation of
privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms,
medical facilities, and inside
Absent a court
order, private parties have no right to
confiscate your film. Taking your film
directly or indirectly by threatening to
use force or call a law enforcement
agency can constitute criminal offenses
such as theft and coercion.
Something to think about.
UPDATE: More about photography harassment HERE. Thanks Steven!