Last week I was shooting pictures downtown during my lunch hour. Nothing special really. It seems lately I have been favouring bikes and buildings. Anyhow, what really amazed me on that particular day is the number of times my partner had to tell people, "that's OK, you can go ahead" because people were reluctant to step in front of my lens while I had the camera to my face.
I really find it quite humorous because without the camera to my eye people's behaviour is markedly different.
I am sure we have all had cars brush close past us while walking through crosswalks. Most of us have probably had to make room on the sidewalk so groups of two or three, walking side by side could pass by without a collision. I have even been rundown on the sidewalk by a bicycle courier! But oh man, when that camera comes up to my face, suddenly, the world waits for me. It really makes me laugh.
"Is he taking a picture of this?"
I really do not mind people stepping in front of my lens. On the streets I expect it to happen and I try to operate as discretely as possible with minimal interaction with the people around me. I just want to go about my business quietly and efficiently.
I have never taken the time to see if the same thing happens with a little compact camera as opposed to a DSLR but my suspicions are that it would.
I guess on the bright side it is nice that people are making the effort to be courteous. What would be really grand though is if that was the default behaviour for all of us, every day, without the camera.