I was lost in thought as I walked in tall grass bordering the creek this morning, when I heard a voice call out. I looked up the slope. It was from two cops standing next to their cruiser stopped on the roadway, about 30 yards away.
“Can we talk to you for a minute?” one of them said.
“Sure,” I replied, and walked over.
“We’ve been getting complaints about, uh, a bald headed old guy who keeps taking pictures of young girls' asses,” the youngest said.
I replied that I have been a professional photojournalist all my life, as well as a fine arts photographer, and I take pictures of whatever I find of interest, and that includes old and young men, old and young women, and everybody and everything in between.
“May I see what you have in the camera?” he said.
“Do you have identification?” the other one said.
“Yes, of course.”
I got out my drivers license, gave it up, and handed the camera to the other one. Showed him how to scroll through the images.
I said I understand there’s a big difference of opinion concerning first amendment/free speech rights on the one hand, and a person’s right to privacy on the other. “But I can see why people get upset when somebody takes their picture in a public place.”
“Yes, that’s all true,” the young one said.
He studied the images. A trash truck driving up and workers emptying bins, a John Deer mowing tractor cutting grass. Also a few running and bike riding shots, an old guy walking onto the covered bridge. Sunlit green leaves above a gray guard rail. A car in the parking lot with an American Flag flying above its door.
Fortunately—and thank God—no young girls' asses!
The older cop said, “Are you still at this address?”
I said yes. He scribbled my information on his pad.
The other one finished his review of my images, handed me the camera.
“People are afraid of girls being kidnapped and raped and murdered and all that,” he said. “So we had to respond to the complaint, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. ”
I said, yes, I understood.
“Thanks for your cooperation, we really appreciate it,” he said. “So enjoy the rest of your day.”
I resumed my walk. Good thing I got a lot of images over the past three, four days, I thought. Because I won’t be taking pictures here anymore.