As I said in an earlier post, my convictions were related to taking candid photos of pubescent girls. Whilst candid photography itself is not technically illegal (we’ve all seen street photography, where photographers capture shots of people who are unaware), context makes a difference, and so, too, do circumstances.
In my case, there was an addictive element to this behaviour, and it clouded my judgement. For a long time, I had successfully avoided arousing suspicion, simply by being careful to limit the shots I took, stay alert, and not get too carried away. But as the habit grew, it got easier to get carried away. Complacency meant I was taking more risks and was less likely to notice if there reactions from others.
So, one day I called in to a shopping centre to get something, and it turned out to be the most expensive purchase of my life.
A girl who appeared to be about 13 or 14 caught my eye, and by that point, grabbing my phone to take photos was second nature. Oblivious to signs that I had tipped off her mother, I snapped away, and then realised my mistake and moved on. By the time I got to the registers, mother and daughter were talking to staff about following up on the incident via CCTV footage. Stupidly, I paid by credit card, making it easy for Police to identify me down the track.
Did the incident throw me? Definitely, and I even stopped shooting for a while. But at that point, I didn’t have the skills to properly reflect on the harm caused, or to chart a new course for my life. A smart move would have been to delete all photos in my possession, find a psychologist and start turning my life around. Instead, I gradually returned to shooting, continuing to delude myself that my actions weren’t illegal and that I could avoid causing harm, so long as I was careful.
Of course, I was wrong. The damage was already done, and a few months later, I got a knock on the door. I’ll talk about the actual arrest in a future post.