"I got harassed" oh... the drama of it all... I used to think I was entitled to everything I wanted right away without any compromise, I was king, I ruled... then I turned 8.
I get asked a couple of times a year, "Did you just take my picture?" to which I always answer, "Yes" ... and I am usually asked one of two things, "Can you delete?" and/or "Why did you take it..." I shoot street candids and street photography almost every day of the week, usually capturing anywhere between 10 to 20 different person a day.
When I am asked, I answer honestly and with a smile, I'll give you the best example, this gentlemen below, wearing a suit holding a skateboard ... photo op galore... *click* but that was not the image I captured, the image I captured was in lower light, he was leaning against a wall, eating a hot dog with one hand holding his board with the other...
When he asked, I said yes I did... short and to the point, no... "I have a right to" on my part, his answer was if I did, I did. I did not even try to evade it, nor did I hide the fact I was taking the image in the first instance. He asked why, "Cause I thought it was cool, you're wearing a suit and you have a board, it was a nice contrast." He then asked, "Can you delete it?" to which I then asked "Why?" He answered, "I am starting a new Job on Monday and I don't want it published in the papers..." Fair enough request, to which I answered, "I am not a journalist, most pictures I take I never actually use, if you want me to delete it, I'll delete it." ... I did, it wasn't like I was actually even going to use it ... Then he walked a bit with me and we talked... at one point I asked, "It would be cool to retake it here, as you cross the street, there is more light, I'll e-mail it to you." He said okay, I had him cross the street 3 times to get this one, he gave me his business card... I e-mailed him the picture and he loved it.
Are you that entitled to the image you capture... yes and no, do you have to sound entitled about the images you make, yes, if that's who you are... I shoot street candid and street photography for fun, it's my golf game. I thread lightly and nicely, it never pays to be aggressive or try to reason with people, taking pictures is a little like whale watching... if you miss a shot, or have to delete one, another will come up for air shortly, nothing is ever truly a missed opportunity or a lost chance.
No one has ever threatened to break my camera or beat me, perhaps because I never start off with - "I have the right to take the picture and keep the picture!" Pretty much everything in life is a negotiation, your freedom stops where other's people perception of their own freedom starts... Thread lightly, perception is reality
If someone wants to call the cops on me, I let them and that has happened once, I was right they were wrong, if someone wants to hold me against my will until the police gets on the "scene" no problem, I'll have them charged with "Forcible Confinement..." a criminal offence but first and foremost ... it is in my capacity to act as a gentleman to avoid getting to that point, with a smile.
The best way to handle such encounter is to keep your answers on point, a yes or no question only requires a yes or no answer, how does, "A person has no expectations of privacy in a public space, I can legally take your picture and there nothing you can do about it.!" fit anywhere in any such conversation... you want to diffuse a potentially explosive situation, you don't add fuel to the fire of who's right, who's wrong... in the big scheme of things it doesn't matter - whether or not you are packing heat, a smile combined with calm, honest and short answers are your best weapons.
Now on to more pertinent and serious stuff ... the picture in question, nothing which will win awards.
Of course you may be caught off guard on a bad day and someone could just rub you the wrong way and that's a completely different story.
Another example, at night and I am taking a picture of a laundromat, this guy steps into my frame as I am about to take the picture. He must have seen me, yet he stands there and doesn't move, then shouts, "HEY YOU! DID YOU JUST TAKE MY PICTURE!" ... I answer, "No, I was taking a picture of the laundromat..." he says, "You have no right to take pictures of people without their consent!" to which this time around I answer, "It is not like anyone can see you with those exposure settings..." ... "You have to ask, delete the picture!" Huh oh, unlike the first image above I deleted, this is actually a good image, I am not deleting it, "Sorry..." I say this time around, "I don't have to ask and I am not deleting it but I can show you the image." Which I did, "Oh... I guess you can keep it... but it would have been nice to ask." Every encounter is different, you might be having a bad day, they might be having a bad day... I just know I can run faster scarred than anyone angry.
How the situation turns out is really up to you... The important thing is to be honest and honestly all I wanted was the brightly light laundromat window at night without anyone in front of it ... however serendipity made it a better image.
I don't think there are any right or wrong reaction and ways to handle such encounters - it is part of the game. How you deal with it will often be responding in kind to how people approach you. If they want to call the cops, let them... you don't have to wait for them to show up and no one can hold you against your will.
By the way the laundromat image was made with an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app whereas the skater in a suit capture was made with pro-stuff
What you use to make image can make a difference in how people react.