A few days ago I went to the city of Malmö, visited my favourite music store owned by my favourite music sales guy ever. We haven't met in a while so we shared a few laughs and other stuff, and I tried a couple of acoustic guitars (I'm slowly starting to look for a new one). And I also visited Malmöfestivalen who was on its second last day.
Anyhow, while walking on the back streets of central Malmö I saw these cool looking pillars who were casting shadows on the ground. So, I thought I should take a couple of photos, since at the time and place it looked kinda cool. And there were a few people, maybe a family (I'm not sure since I really didn't look that closely), who were going into a private doctor's practise (I saw that when I walked passed it). And I waited for them to go in to the building because I didn't want them in the frame. And I took two shots when it was clear.
When I started to walk again I heard a guy with a very bad accent, I'd say he was originating from the middle east (yeah, I'm such a racist) saying something from inside a car. So I took out one of my in-ear buds, leaned into the passenger side and said "excuse me?". He then said (and all of you politically correct people might want to stop reading here since this is oh-so-racist) "why you take photo of people, who you work for?!", and I said "well, I didn't and I work for no one" so, he said once again "why you take photo of people?!" and once again I told him that I didn't. So he said "what you take photo of if not people?", and at this point I didn't really want to discuss with this guy, but said politely at first (at first, may I remind you) "well, it's none of your business really, but I took photos of those cool looking pillars and shadows".
He didn't understand that.
And once again he repeated more aggressively "why you take photo of people, you can't take photo of people?!", and my patience with this guy started getting close to zero at this point, so I replied, "dude, this is a public place, do you understand? I can take photos of who or what ever I like" and he replied "no, you can't take photo of people" and I replied "well, I didn't but yes I can". He then said and was getting even more worked up "no you can't take photo of people!", once again I said (and now I'm starting to get a bit irritated, since I don't have much patience with idiots) "yes I can, you should study the fucking law!". He replied "no no, you can't take photo of people!" and "you can't take photo of people, can I take photo of you?" and then started to grab his phone. I kinda chuckled and said "sure you can, it's a public place". He just stopped and looked like if he was thinking "oh crap..." and then said "no, no I can't take photo of you, you can't take photo of people, let me see your camera, show me your pictures!". So now I started to laugh at him and said "dude, I'm not showing you shit, deal with it". He was now very frustrated and looked like he was going to get out of the car and I started to get ready to put my camera away so I could punch him in his face if had to, but then he just said again "you can't take photo of people!" I laughed again, said "bye bye now" and started to walk away. I heard him mumble something more from inside his car, but I put back my in-ear bud and walked on.
That was a fun anecdote. A free guess is that maybe he thought that I was working for the Swedish "Försäkringkassan" and was afraid of getting caught of insurance fraud or something, I don't know or maybe he and his family is in the country illegally, who knows? Anyways, while this might come off as being racist, I'm sure I'm not one of those guys. I just don't have patience for ignorant people of any kind really. And I can assure that I'm not a violent guy at all, but I wouldn't hesitate to punch this guy if he'd try to grab my camera or attack me or something. I've nearly done that to a kind of aggressive guy in Copenhagen 6 months ago.
So, this is just one of the joys of doing street photography. And also, know your rights as a photographer when you meet someone like this. :)