Photographer Nearly Run Over by Threatening Man

File this one under scary and unnecessary. A California photographer had an intense encounter with a stranger who went so far as to threaten him and his client with a vehicle multiple times. 

Beware that there's a heavy dose of NSFW language in the above video. Alex Stone, a Los Angeles-based fashion, portrait, and automotive photographer, was on a shoot in a remote stretch of Ramona, CA when he and his client were accosted by an extremely aggressive man who claimed they were on his driveway (they were in fact clearly on a public road). The man became increasingly agitated and proceeded to drive his vehicle at them and their equipment multiple times, causing Stone to have to jump out of the way as he continued recording the altercation and trying to deescalate the situation.

For his part, Stone was exemplary in his handling of the situation, staying remarkably respectful and levelheaded in the face of the continuing verbal and physical onslaught and recording the above video as evidence. He notes that he specifically avoided provoking the man in case he was carrying a gun and that "it's important to keep your cool when confronted with difficult situations during any photoshoot." It's an unfortunate reminder that there are dangerous people out there, and the nature of our profession will sometimes put us in contact with them. Be safe. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Unless I am mistaken, I cannot find where to view video.

My apologies, it's available in the article here now.

I hope the photographer takes this to the police. Attempted assault with a vehicle, threatening behaviour and finally what seems to be an assault at the end of the video. On what seems to be a public road. It is just as well the protagonist did not have a gun otherwise this might have ended up a bit differently.

So please Alex, please go to the police.

*in case he was carrying a gun* :) you Americans.
In europe the chance is almost zero, so you can just stop filming when he gets out of his car and wack him with your tripod :)

That's called "assault" in America.

When somebody is trying to run you over we call it self defense

Hey Pete, did you know more Americans are killed by toddlers with firearms than by terrorists?

Careful, Pete doesnt alow jokes about 'merica on this site!

Glad it isn't up to you then.. See you posting all the time on this site. Always negative and condescending.

Must be exhausting being you.

Cool it guys, I'm sorry I made fun of Umerica! (imagine the fat guy on one of those disabled scooters waving his machine gun around) But all joking aside, no european would ever think: "in case he has a gun"

PS: I understand this type of person only represent a 1% of population, we have them here to, in europe (it's not a country)

Pete the right to bear arms was written into the constutution with muskets in mind, not automatic weapons and high velocity rifles. Also the legislation was written at a time when America needed civilian militias on the ground to fight off foreign enemies. Its very sad that so many Americans die because of the gun laws. I'm not anti American.....I'm very pro the idea that Americans can live peacefully, creatively and prosper........I'm anti people getting killed because of out dated laws.

Are you sure you are not the guy in the truck cause I got a feeling if we were on the street I would have been run over by now :)

Well, seems like people still don't get or don't want to get jokes about their guns and gun laws...
'mericans :D

Sure, sure. I wonder why you didn't write that message in "Heilvetica". Oh my Pete... grow up.

Striking contrast of remarkable cool and outrageous aggression. Too bad, as I'm sure he ruined a good part of their day. Did anyone see his "driveway"?

Glad the photographer is ok. I grew up not too far from Ramona, CA. I've had nothing but the most amazing experiences with people there. I purchased my county fair livestock from a few of the sheep breeders, and one of their residents was heavily involved in our county 4-H program for decades (40 years I think). The photographer showed a ton of restraint and respect.

I will point out that the photographer was definitely in the middle of a highway. If they did that in LA there would be hefty fines / uproar. Sometimes there's a bit of a double standard when it comes to what is ok in "the country vs the city". A road is still a road.

With that being said, no one, ever, should act like this dude. Hopefully the police can press charges and even suspend his license for reckless driving and endangerment. With that being said though, this is definitely a one-of-a-kind person in Ramona. It's an amazing little town full of awesome history and people. Glad the photographer and most of his equipment are ok.

Unbelievable! No matter where the photographer is standing, no one has the right to act like that driver.

This idiot behind the wheel of the truck really needs to go to jail, or at the very least, be placed in an anger management program. There is no way anyone should every accept that kind of behavior...there should e consequences for that. The photg, et al, did the right thing by attempting to deescalate the situation, BUT, they were well within their constitutional rights to photograph on public property as the road obviously was. Good thinking to get the bully's license give it to the police. Maybe the next time this jerk encounters a photographer, or anyone else, he will think twice before assaulting people.

Ok that is scary. I know we all get angry on the road and hell I've probably called someone an asshole when driving by but trying to run someone over and threatening to kick their ass is way over the line. The photographer was totally calm and this guy was just agitated past the point of reason. The other kid maybe shouldn't have said "fuck you" when he drove by at the end but It's hard not to when someone is being that insane.

Really hope the photographer takes this to the police and this guy gets charged.

Also maybe i'm blind but I couldn't see a driveway.

what an idiot...

I can tell you this is NOT a "one-of-a-kind" person in Ramona. I live in Ramona. This town is full of testosterone-pumped rednecks with lifted vehicles who think they own the road. One of them tried to run my wife and I over as we walked across a similarly quiet road to get our mail. I shouted something (I don't recall what, but it probably wasn't very nice) as he drove by and he slammed on his brakes, jumped out and tried to provoke a fight. Like he was fully entitled to run us down. This is a rural town where people move because they want away from the crowds of San Diego. Any disturbance to that and they're immediately offended. There are, of course, good people here. But there are plenty of idiots.

The very first thing I heard on the video is (I assume) the photographer saying, "I don't think it necessary to call the police."

Yes. Call the police. If it really is a public road, and someone is confronting you, telling you to get off his private road, one of you is in the wrong. And since it was the "redneck" who wanted to call the cops, he obviously truly believes this is his private road. Let the cops sort it out.

There is no way this guy believes this road is private. I live where this happened and Its not a private road.

My first stop would have been at either the PD or the Sheriff's office with the video. I would bet that his attitude would have been completely different if the photographer and his crew would have been about 6'5'', 250 lbs.

LOL. I've been watching this Russian ( group stopping people from driving on the sidewalk and now I see the "American" version.

Classic. I watched a bunch of those videos the other day too. Putting stickers on peoples windscreens and stuff. I thought that was pretty crazy, but this is something else.

Wow thanks for sharing that lol

Damn... imagine this c*nt having a gun... I would actually be terrified if i'd encounter someone like that in US... Respect for the photographer staying calm.. This is the only way to keep things from going out of hand..

The guy in the truck looks like a typical redneck, egocentric kind of a guy, that gives Americans undeservedly such a bad name... Every society has these kind of morons living amongst them unfortunately... I hope he gets caught by police for threatening the photographers life with his car..

That's why I am going to get a taser.

1. I thought about it and i think it would escalate things even more pointing a gun at this guy. Besides that, there would be fatalities when things escalate with a gun. I think a taser or pepperspray would be a better defending weapon.

2. It does make sense to bring it up because i don't think Americans realize that the majority of people outside of the US don't like Americans..
I'm saying this is undeserved because this is not my opinion.
And because i think people like this guy are ruining the image people have about the US.

3. Yes, movies, tv shows, the news and all other media shapes this stereotype about "rednecks".
- Shouting things like get off my property.
- Having an IQ lower than a grain of sand.
- Communicating like a five year old.
- Driving a truck which matches the size his ego.
- Not being able to see things through someone else his eyes.
Basically being a total irresponsible jackass.

Now don't get me wrong, this is just a stereotype. And as we all know stereotypes are often not 100% correct.
For example, i'm from The Netherlands, a lot of foreigners think we smoke weed every day and this is simply not true... I only smoke weed on Saturday.. ;)

I've met city people like this as well so really the generalization doesn't fit. The only reason why people are saying redneck is because they are all out in the country.

The guy is an ass period.

I live right where this happened. This is not a private road and if you keep driving to the end of the road there is a gated community or you can go right and thats where a private road starts. This road gets very little traffic so they were not blocking any traffic. Ive gone and done the same type of shoots there many times and Ive never had a problem. I have a lot of respect for Alex and keeping calm with this asshole. Not sure I could of handles this guy the same way. This video is getting spread all over Ramona Facebook pages so I know this guy is going to know its out there. Thanks for filming this Alex!

This photographer is in the wrong on every level. Sorry the local got pissed and acted like a douche, but shooting pics on a "PUBLIC" hwy WITHOUT proper permits (I'm assuming) and impeding traffic and causing a danger to both the hot tempered truck driver and any one else who drive up on this situation is ILLEGAL. All too often stupid photographers push the boundaries of proper judgement and think just because they think (feel) they are out in the middle of nowhere they can set up lights (I saw two Profotos) and an Audi R8 in the middle of the highway. If he's a professional he will get permits from both local city offices and/or police or CHP allowing him to block a public highway.

We also don't see what happened before this video. Mt guess is the truck driver came up on the location at highway speeds (or faster as is normal) and found this yo-yo in the middle of a driving lane.

<I>This photographer is in the wrong on every level.</I>

You "assume".

Then why didn't he say to the truck driver, I have permits. Because he didn't. If he did, there would have been traffic control (usually police or local road crews) to slow other drivers down to control traffic flow. As you can see in the video the car they were shooting was PARKED in the road. That is just a blatant disregard to other peoples safety and common sense. I do a lot of commercial location shoots. I NEVER EVER shoot in a public environment without a permit and especially never in the middle of a road without some sort of local authority controlling traffic. This is a blatant " I'll do what I want because I'm too stupid to think of the safety of others" mentality that is running rampant in America today.

Considering the guy never mentioned "permits", I'm going to "assume" that any permits they'd have gotten would not have made a bit of difference. After all, you can't get a permit for his "driveway". And since Alex mentions that he interacted with a number of people who drove by, we don't have to assume that the road wasn't blocked, or impeded.

Finally Alex did an amazing job of not escalating the situation.

That's probably the most important "level".

Any permit granting film/tv/photo rights with a parked vehicle on a public road would have required a state police officer to be present. Seems like these kids had none of the above.

If there was a permit there would've been a CHP officer with them and none of this would've happened. I had a similar thing happen in AZ on a car shoot but our cops were on motorcycles and the road rager didn't see them until they came out from around the car transporter for a chat....
That being said it is common for many people (except for Mr Shurtleff) to "bootleg" locations, including people shooting cars, seniors, weddings, fashion, head shots, dogs, cakes and pies.
99% of the time people wave and go by or slow down to check out the cool car, pretty girl, dancing dogs etc. (Fun fact: According to FilmLA every "commercial" photo video shoot must be permitted whether on public or private property)
Sadly Mr Driveway wanted to enforce some sort of extreme driveway property rights he felt he had. By assaulting the crew and threatening with his truck I think he crossed a couple lines and will have some 'splaining to do.
Why is there only one angle of video coverage of this?

Anyhoo they are lucky that no one got shot.

They were not blocking the road. You have no clue what a road block is. He was not impeding traffic at all. Even so it doesn't justify attempted murder and assault.

Careful of the fstoppers crowd, Lane. Given the amount of downvotes on your comment, I'm inclined to believe most readers here would've tried to execute the same car shoot on a public road without giving one thought to public safety. Few individuals here seem to have the experience, understanding, nor maturity for professionalism.

Man I don't care one bit if the photographer was in the wrong what this guy did was 100% scary and illegal. There are lots of professionals that don't get permits. Even large Hollywood movies shoot places they aren't supposed to.

I've gone into parking garages and places I shouldn't have but when I got caught the guard or property owner just said "please leave" and that was the end of it.

The guy in the truck is not within his rights whatsoever so I wouldn't blame the photographer.

WTH?!?!? "Every large Hollywood movies shoot places they aren't supposed to." I work with a few studios and they ALL are required to carry permits for anything that is placed on the ground (stands, vehicles, anything that can impede normal flow of public traffic, foot or vehicles). Why do you think so many productions left Hollywood for other venues, first it was the permit process, second it was the labor union rates.

I agree the truck driver probably acted like a jackass, but the photographer has NO right to be out on a public road blocking the road.

Parts of Black Swan were shot without permits, a bunch of slumdog millionaire was shot on the streets of India without permits. Hell even Hitchcock did it by shooting from a Van across the street. It may not be the norm but it's been done many many times. Tons of indie films as well shoot without permits if they are shooting handheld.

The guy wasn't blocking traffic completely. Like I said he's in the wrong but that does not excuse the assault with a deadly weapon(the car) the guy committed.

Also my comment said "even large hollywood movies" not every. You read that too quickly there bud.

Actually a lot of the runaway production started when other states started offering huge tax incentives to production companies in addition to going to "right to work " states for lower labor cost. I am not sure that the permit process was a driving force as FilmLA caters to the bigger production studios and permit service companies at the expense of us small fry. Which makes it expensive and difficult to permit every photo shoot so a lot of people go commando and hope they don;t get caught. my state, shooting on public property is perfectly legal and requires no permits. It's private property that requires permission, and some parks/etc. that require payment for use. Does it differ state to state?

It's illegal to block traffic on any public road or highway/freeway in any state. So if I feel it's MY right to set up a shoot in front of your house on a public street, do you feel that's OK if you can't leave your driveway or have to go around me with caution because I have lightstands or vehicles blocking part of the thru-way for you to safely drive down a street?

Blocking foot traffic on a sidewalk where you are impeding foot traffic is illegal. Same for blocking street traffic. YES, you can shoot on public property, but you can not impede others from using any public sidewalk. many police will allow you to use "human lightstands" ( assistant holding lights etc) but once you place any equipment on the ground in public, you are required to have a permit. If you stand trips a pedestrian and they injure themselves, you (the photographer) are liable. Cities issue permits for this very reason. You have to show proof of insurance to the city to cover your ass if an accident occurs. It cover the city from lawsuits and the photographer as well.

As long as they moved out of the way when necessary no problem at all.

I think it's mostly to do with putting things like light stands and such down that require permits. or if you are blocking traffic etc etc. shooting run and gun style in most places is probably ok but check your state laws cause it definetly differs place to place.

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