Creep shots revisited (again)

Over a year ago, I wrote about creep shots – photos taken in surreptitious admiration, usually of women, usually by men. There was a time in my life when I took them. The discussion that ensued after my post on the subject led me to stop taking them, too replace them with the “paeans” I post from time to time.

Notably, it didn’t convince me that it was wrong (for me) to take them. It did convince me that if I took them, some people might feel violated and, without reference to whether they “had a right” to feel violated, I didn’t particularly want or need to go there. And more, people I liked and respected felt strongly that, well, that I was a creep for taking them and, while I didn’t exactly agree (there’s a thin line, in my mind, between doing something creepy and being a creep), I cared more about those people’s respect for me than I did about my “right” to take creep shots.

(I should say, here, that I honestly can’t see a difference between a verbal paean, a snapped photo, or a furtive sketch. All seem to me slightly awkward, creepy, in that one can imagine being caught, and in any of the three cases, being caught would be uncomfortable. But I don’t see, can’t see, any fundamental difference among them. No matter: readers did, and I’ve gone along with them.)

A friend recently called this guy to my attention. He followed women, and snapped photos, often up their skirts, as they walked up stairs, using a hidden camera.

For the record, this is a whole different thing: invasive, intrusive, violating. It is taking an image that wasn’t intended to be available (as opposed to recording one freely available to all, without permission required).

I don’t, however, believe it’s any worse morally (though again, it certainly feels creepier) than simply looking up a woman’s skirt: to me, the preservation of the stolen image in one technology (film, or digits) versus another (memory) seems inconsequential. It certainly feels creepier, but what’s the difference?

At the risk of reopening an old can of worms… what do you think?

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