Let's Get Married (1960)

Another Anthony Newley vehicle, with Anne Aubrey as a woman who finds herself unmarried but pregnant.  James Booth has a few minutes of screen time early on as a Cockney street photographer.  Shabbily dressed, glib, and relentlessly perky, he follows Aubrey down  the sidewalk, jabbering away and trying to get her to pay him for a snapshot he took of her.  When this fails, he offers to pay her to pose for some  "artistic" pictures . She  declines ("My father wouldn't like it") and Booth warns her she's losing money.  Then  he darts off to harass somebody else.

Text copyright Diana Blackwell, 2002.






George Orwell's classic on poverty,  Down and Out in Paris and London, gives this good description of the street photography scam.  (Harvest, San Diego, 1933, ISBN 0-15-626224-X)


The most prosperous beggars are street acrobats and street photographers.  On a good pitch--a theatre queue, for instance--a street acrobat will often earn five pounds a week.  Street photographers can earn about the same, but they are dependent on fine weather.  They have a cunning dodge to stimulate trade.  When they see a likely victim approaching, one of them runs behind the camera and pretends to take a photograph.  Then as the victim reaches them, they exclaim:

"There y'are, sir, took yer photo lovely.  That'll be a bob."

"But I never asked you to take it," protests the victim.

"What, you didn't want it took?  Why, we thought you signalled with your 'and.  Well, there's a plate wasted!  That's cost us sixpence, that 'as."

At this the victim usually takes pity and says he will have the photo after all.  The photographers examine the plate and say that it is spoiled, and they they will take a fresh one free of charge.  Of course, they  have not really taken the first photo; and so, if the victim refuses, they waste nothing.

(pp. 169-170)