Seems like it’s important to say first, we’re not sharing these types of reader reports in the spirit of having everyone freak out about the motives of every stranger they encounter. But from the comments and discussions, there seems to be power in people sharing this kind of information in this way — even if it’s just to gain knowledge and reassurance. Maybe someone out there knows what these incidents were really about and can enlighten everyone. So, toward that end, two more unusual sightings — this time involving people taking pictures — read on:
First, this one out of the inbox tonight:
Tonight at about 7:30 pm a woman parked across the street from our house, got out of her car and started taking pictures of our car, including the license plate. My husband went out and asked her if he could help her, and she said no. When he asked why she was taking pictures of our car, she said it was for a project her son was doing at West Seattle High school, and asked if it was illegal to take the pictures. My husband told her he preferred she didnâ€™t take them, especially the license plate and asked why she didnâ€™t download some pictures off the internet. Her reply was that they needed to be taken with a camera. My husband returned to the house and she walked down the street with her camera leaving her radio playing loudly in her car. After about 10 minutes she returned and knocked on our door. My husband opened it just a crack and asked her what she wanted. She asked if she could take yet another picture of the front car without the license plate. He told her again that he did not want her photographing our car, but that it was not illegal. She told him that she couldnâ€™t see him very well as the door was opened just a little. We found it odd that she wanted him to open the door wider even though she could hear him clearly. She also still had her camera in her hand ready to take another picture. She did take another picture of our car even though we asked her not to. After she did this she then took some pictures of her car which was still parked across the street. We thought this was odd also, why would she take pictures of her car in front of our house.
A young man then came from somewhere down the street and got into the car and they drove off. We noticed that they drove by our house three more times within an hour. We are wondering if there really is a project at the high school that would require students or their parents to take picture of cars? Even if there is such a project this womanâ€™s behavior seemed very strange to us.
And this came in from someone else a few hours earlier:
I wanted to mention something that happened at Lincoln Park on Sunday, May 4th. It was a great day and the park and lower playground were packed with picnickers and kids. I was pushing my pre-schooler on the swings – which were all taken. A tall man in a black muscle shirt and black shorts sat down on the bench very close to the swings. He had a large dog, coloring similar to a Rottweiler. He also had a camera and proceeded to shoot pictures of kids on the swings. I watched for a minute and realized he didn’t know anyone around there. When the camera was pointed at my kid I said “What are you doing? Do not take pictures of my kid, please.” He said OK, but didn’t apologize or say what the pictures were for so I will assume they were for no good. Soon after, he got up and left.
Something just didn’t feel right and I assume that I should be asked permission before my children are photographed, even in public. Do you know if this is true? I think it would be a great article to post what the rights or limitations of photographers are in public places. …
I hope more parents speak up if they see something a little suspicious like this.
As we wrote back to that person, it’s not illegal to take photos of kids (or anyone else) in public places, but certainly permission should be asked in a situation like this (unless you are taking a wide shot and nobody is particularly distinguishable or zeroed-in on).