It's totally legal and entirely creepy. A gaggle of gentlemen, armed with cameras and an absence of shame, have taken residence in Boston's Downtown Crossing snapping what they claim are artful "street photography" pictures of everyday people. Oh, and upskirts.
Again, it's totally legal, but apparently the difference between what's legal and what's pervy is about as gray an area as you're going to find in the public photography world. In a WBZ News tipster's video, for example, one of these totally normal gents bends over behind a group of young women and snaps a picture of what the reporter describes as areas of bare skin. So, just some good clean wholesome photography fun going on in my state capital, is what it is.
Hypocritically, many of the men (obvious pseudonyms given, all) did not appreciate having their pictures taken, nor WBZ video being made of them, and asked repeatedly for the cameras to be turned off. Which doesn't make them look creepier or ashamed in the least.
And listen, I'm all for street photography and the art of that practice. The Sartorialist, one of my favorite photo/fashion sites, has made a name and a business out of it. But, if you've ever seen the behind the scenes of how that site works, he'll always ask permission and identify himself to subjects, whether he's already snapped the pic or it's a staged one.
So, on that note my fellow Bostonians, I propose this fun social experiment: Descend on Downtown Crossing yourselves, armed with cameras, and complete my next social photography art project. I call it "Pervature: The Lost Art of Capturing Horny Old Men Taking Pictures of Girl's Naughty Bits, 2011." We should probably set up a Tumblr or something.
What they're doing is all totally legal. Did I say that yet? [WBZ]