Photographing children - or the sad world we're living in

David A

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Arbus was a nannie that was often in Central Park and other NYC locations.

Arbus wasn't a nannie, that was Vivian Maier. There are quite a few photographs of children in Maier's work and I suspect many were taken without asking permission.

I'm not surprised to hear that the Arbus shot wasn't a candid. She seemed to prefer interacting with her subjects from what I've read.
 

GaryAyala

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Not my child.
 

Buster

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Arbus wasn't a nannie, that was Vivian Maier. There are quite a few photographs of children in Maier's work and I suspect many were taken without asking permission.

I'm not surprised to hear that the Arbus shot wasn't a candid. She seemed to prefer interacting with her subjects from what I've read.

I stand corrected- I mixed up two very great street photographers.. :smile:
 

Cederic

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Damn Gary those are some absolutely fantastic photographs.

If I see a good shot of children, I take it. I just don't do the speculative photography that I do a lot on adults.

I don't have children. I don't worry about parent reactions. I've never had any trouble. At the same time.. I didn't linger to get this shot without the random passers-by. (admittedly there was a constant stream of people passing by)
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emptysensor

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Excellent discussion on a potentially volatile topic. I agree with Amin's guide, but it's funny how the rules go out the window if you're as good as Gary is. And that's what makes this a difficult issue. A simple expression or minor detail of a photo can take it from to totally acceptable to "that's a little creepy". I tried to take a respectful picture of my Dad, who has Alzheimer's, with my sister looking over him. When I posted it, one of the comments was that my sister looked like she was trying to hurt my Dad, which I just didn't see. So the viewer can always have a different interpretation than the shooter. Since children are so vulnerable I think we need to always err on the side of caution, since there are unfortunately a lot of creepy people in the world.
 

elavon

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I took this distracting photo today. Before i have posted it I have consulted with an artist friend. The boy in the picture was eager to get his photo and was asking me to picture him before he started posing.

I would like to get your comments if I have made the right decision by posting it.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehudlavon/8705901482/" title="Boy by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr">
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"1024" height="1024" alt="Boy"></a>
 

GaryAyala

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I took this distracting photo today. Before i have posted it I have consulted with an artist friend. The boy in the picture was eager to get his photo and was asking me to picture him before he started posing.

I would like to get your comments if I have made the right decision by posting it.

I don't quite understand what in particular do you wish to have comments directed towards?

1) I agree the boy seems quite distracting.
2) Why did you consult with an artist? What was the artist's remarks?
3) I cannot speak to the laws in your country, but in the US, regardless if it is a child or an adult and regardless if the poser requested that you capture an image of them or not, generally, if you are in a public place, you have carte blanc to photograph that person (there are exceptions but I won't dive into them).
4) Can you expand upon "right decision"? If you are asking if you are within your rights under the U.S. Constitution to capture and post the image, yes if you were on public ground/land when you took the shot. If you are wondering if morally/artistically/ethically/et al/ to post this image ... that needs to be answered by you and your code.

Gary

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Not My Children
 

elavon

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Gary thanks good points,

I have hesitated to publish this picture because i did not want to offend the child family.

This is not a cute flattering picture and by publishing it I might hurt the them.
I have consulted the artist to get feedback regarding the artistic qualities, I did not want to publish crap. If the picture is not good, then by not publishing there is no offense and I will not have regrets.

Regarding moral and ethics, because of the cultural diversity of this forum I am sure that this can not answered by the members of this forum.
 

speedandstyle

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I generally don't shoot people at all when I am out shooting for fun. However I shoot children all the time as part of my job, I work for a church in the children's ministry. We use the pictures for in-house use only but some are posted to the church website or ministry facebook page. We have a standing disclaimer that we photograph from time to time and if any body does not want their child's picture taken that we won't. Nobody has ever asked for it though.

My thought on the matter isn't so much whether you photograph them or not but if you post them to the web. I recently took a trip to Epcot and there was a kid having a blast in this water fountain so I got a couple of shots of him. They turned out pretty good so I did post one up in my gallery. I added a disclaimer that if the parent of said child wanted me to remove the picture that I would.
 

fsuscotphoto

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I've found that one thing that seems to reflect on the subject is where the parents are from. In my experience taking a photo of just about anyone in the US 'deep South' will get you a smile and a conversation, including parents and their children. The further past Texas you go and the further north you go the more suspicious looks you will get. Of course this is my reality but it's been pretty consistent.

Ron
 

GaryAyala

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Gary thanks good points,

I have hesitated to publish this picture because i did not want to offend the child family.

This is not a cute flattering picture and by publishing it I might hurt the them.
I have consulted the artist to get feedback regarding the artistic qualities, I did not want to publish crap. If the picture is not good, then by not publishing there is no offense and I will not have regrets.

Regarding moral and ethics, because of the cultural diversity of this forum I am sure that this can not answered by the members of this forum.

Offending the family is again, a subjective opinion of the family. Regarding the image in question, I can see some family members being offended as it does not make their child look like a movie star and I can see family members laughingly approve of the photo saying "That's Moshi ... lol".

Coming from a news background, in many circumstances, it is difficult to walk that line between respect and publishing the story. Sometimes I'd have to cover a funeral, I'd dress in a coat and tie and stand away and shoot with a long lens (respect). But if a family member came up to me and request that I not cover the funeral ... I couldn't comply with that request. Similar rules here on the internet and this forum ... and I guess in life ... Shoot with respect but post for the greater good.

Similarly, even though I was in grade school, I still remember the photo in 'Life' of the bugler playing taps at JFK's funeral. An Army fellow, his cheeks blown-out, the brass instrument at his lips and tears streaming down his face ... symbolic, moving and that one image told a story of 10,000 words. If he came up and asked you not to published his photo because he would be embarrassed ... what would be your reply?

Gary

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GaryAyala

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Excellent discussion on a potentially volatile topic. I agree with Amin's guide, but it's funny how the rules go out the window if you're as good as Gary is. And that's what makes this a difficult issue. A simple expression or minor detail of a photo can take it from to totally acceptable to "that's a little creepy". I tried to take a respectful picture of my Dad, who has Alzheimer's, with my sister looking over him. When I posted it, one of the comments was that my sister looked like she was trying to hurt my Dad, which I just didn't see. So the viewer can always have a different interpretation than the shooter. Since children are so vulnerable I think we need to always err on the side of caution, since there are unfortunately a lot of creepy people in the world.

My mother died of cancer. It was a long and painful process. My news eye saw many many images I wanted to capture ... but I just couldn't talk myself into shooting her condition ... we all have to draw that line in the sand.

Gary

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Dalton

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Practical realities

I don't take pictures of other people's children without actual or implied consent. We have entered a period where parents and society are concerned about the safety of children. There are a wealth of subject available for photography and I just try and use reasonable judgement and behave in a manner which allows others to feel comfortable.

Life is good. Take it easy.

Dan
 

dragons4Mama

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Gary

You wouldn't / couldn't document your mother's battle against cancer, yet it's OK for you in your journalistic capacity to intrude on a family's grief? I don't get why you're the special case. The families in grief deserve the same respect you gave your mother and your feelings.

This thread started w/ a discussion on the appropriateness of photographing other people's children. That is just a subset [albeit a fraught one] of photographer's rights vs. the rights of the indivudual.

Does a photographer have the right to take any photograph he or she wants to? What gives the photographer that right? Do some people, because of the choices they have made in their lives necessarily give up their rights to privacy?

I believe that everyone has a right to their personal privacy, and that while photos of or including children, teens, and even adults can "tell a story" or "portray emotion", if those photos are taken without consent, they ARE an invasion of privacy.

Dragons4Mama
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GaryAyala

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Gary

You wouldn't / couldn't document your mother's battle against cancer, yet it's OK for you in your journalistic capacity to intrude on a family's grief? I don't get why you're the special case. The families in grief deserve the same respect you gave your mother and your feelings.

This thread started w/ a discussion on the appropriateness of photographing other people's children. That is just a subset [albeit a fraught one] of photographer's rights vs. the rights of the indivudual.

Does a photographer have the right to take any photograph he or she wants to? What gives the photographer that right? Do some people, because of the choices they have made in their lives necessarily give up their rights to privacy?

I believe that everyone has a right to their personal privacy, and that while photos of or including children, teens, and even adults can "tell a story" or "portray emotion", if those photos are taken without consent, they ARE an invasion of privacy.

Dragons4Mama
mother to 2 [grown] children - one boy, one girl; one ham for the camera, one camera-averse

The funerals I shot as an assignment for a newspaper was of a public figure(s) ... my mother was not a public figure. The funeral story was for the greater good of the community's right to know ... my mother's death served no greater good.

You have your opinion as to where individual privacy starts and stops ... and others have a different opinion, including the highest court in this land (USA). The law of the United States is clear that if those people are in a public place you have the right to photograph them without their consent. Your opinion of the matter, is just that, a personal opinion without much currency under current law.

If one desires privacy, there are many many places where that desire can be exercised, a public venu is not one of those places.

Gary

PS- If the American Cancer Society or the LA Times (et cetera) had approached my mother for a story chronicling her pain and suffering ... and had my mother consented to said story ... I would have volunteered to photograph the last chapter of her life.
G
 

Buster

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This shot is priceless.. especially in today's world.

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juangrande

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What's right and what's wrong is 90% of the time completely subjective ( ie opinion). It used to be considered right to own slaves.
 

GaryAyala

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What's right and what's wrong is 90% of the time completely subjective ( ie opinion). It used to be considered right to own slaves.

For an individual's code, yes, right and wrong can be subjective. In this country we have laws which tries to remove subjectivity from how one behaves in public. But, what is considered appropriate behavior and within the law in Times Square may not be considered appropriate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Actually, the question was "What gives the photographer that right?" ... in this case to photograph people in public places. The answer, based upon the United States Constitution, is the Supreme Court has clearly stated that one gives up their individual right to privacy the moment the individual steps onto public property. Hence, photographing anybody in public is acceptable under U.S. law.

To directly answer the question, The Constitution, the very basis of law and governance in this land, vis-a-vis The Supreme Court, has granted that right to photograph people without their consent in public.

Gary
 

GaryAyala

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Just because it's law doesn't make it right

While it may not be right under your personal opinion ... It is right under the laws of this country and it is right under my code and by my opinion.

Gary
father of two adult children (see below):

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Sarah

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Amy
 

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