Some Q's about pictures of people.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Djarum, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I'll be honest. I've never cared much for taking pictures of people unless its taking pictures of friends and family. The main reason is mainly to the awkwardness and concern about the individual's rights of whom I'm taking the picture of.

    The type of picture taking I want to address is where pictures are taken of individuals in their environment. Say taking a picture of a confectioner( I think thats what they call them) making homemade candy in a shop or someone playing an instrument on the street.

    Taking a picture of a street performer is pretty easy in terms of consent because they are perfrorming, in the first place. Usually eye contact and a smile and nod confirms the OK to take the picture. But what about non-performers? The ideal picture is one of the individual acting naturally in their environment. But if I ask consent to take the picture, many times the person, even if they say yes, retreats or becomes more consious of what they are doing, even if what they are doing is their way of life. What is the easiest way to address this?

    As I stated, I've never been one to take pictures of people. However, I think that some basic understanding of the best approach is still important because many times people are in my shots. I've looked at the street thread and looked at many of the pictures and the one's with people, and I am unclear about what permission is required to take those pictures.
     
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    DJ,
    In the public domain, no need to ask permission....Depending on intent.
    What that means is.... Non commercial use.
    I never ask unless I want a Posed portrait.
    I'm on the street at this very moment. If I had to ask to make photos, I'd go home and paint the kitchen.

    If you feel the paranoia that exist out on the street, you'll never be comfortable working.
    I am totally aware of this but won't let it stop me.
    Just be innocent in your approach and you'll feel little if any resistance.
     
  3. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    our societies become more paranoid and suspicious by the day ..... this is the direct result of psy-ops by the intelligence communities of the western govts , anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty can verify this with a little research and an open mind..... it is a sad realization of orwells warnings to the citizen of the world about the direction society would take as fascist agendas were implimented in more and more places in the world,

    the fear you feel in shooting freely in the spirit of the moment is one widely shared ...
    i tend to shoot clandestinely , or i shoot in areas where a lot of activity is going on to minimize the chance of confrontation often i am just not feeling it and choose not to shoot in certain situations

    the world is in a much worse place psychologically speaking fron the time cartier bresson thru winogrand shot candid portraits of the world , this is a sad loss that many choose not to think about, to avoid the emotional pain that realization brings


    do what i do shoot anyway but size up the moment , and always respect a persons right not to be photographed
     
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  4. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    or do what shooter does:smile:......:bravo-009:
     
  5. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 14, 2010
    Toronto
    Accosted For Taking Pictures Of Kids On Bikes

    I was out walking the dog last night and a youngster on a bike approached. I got down and started snapping as I could see she was into it, smiling for the camera. Seconds later following mother goose was on top of me, cell phone out, calling her husband to complain about the pedophile in the park taking pictures, threatening to call the cops.

    All this and these people live four houses down the street from me. I talk over the fence with her husband on my walks. As I walked back I spotted him and described what had happened... I could see him putting his cell phone away. He looked at me and said "What the hell were you doing taking pictures of little girls anyway?"

    It's getting nuts out there folks. Be careful, whatever you think your rights as a photographer are.

    Bokeh Diem
     
  6. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    see my post re. 9:55, sorry for your unpleasant encounter ,community is dead
     
  7. nokiamia

    nokiamia Mu-43 Regular

    102
    May 20, 2010
    Malaysia
    i'm quite uncomfortable taking pictures of strangers too. but using a micro 4/3 helps to a certain extend. i wonder how these guys do it, with their slr and stuff --> 100 Strangers
     
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  8. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    That looks like a fantastic idea for a project nokiamia... I think I'd like to do a 90 face project on similar lines. :2thumbs:

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  9. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    Jason
    SS,

    While I respect your opinions, it seems like not only are the attitudes of photographers changing, but the attitude of people in general are changing. Its not just a commercial use issue anymore. Even if compensation for the photo doesn't exist, publicly displaying people's photo's, say on a blog or in a forum like this, becomes a bigger issue. Back in the film days or pre-Twitter/Facebook/Myspace era, it might have been different, for both the photographer and the people being photographed. But now, people don't want their photo circulating the web if permission was not given, even if it was a documentary style photograph.

    I've read several blogs and even the current book I'm reading that we should respect the people we are photographing, even if they don't know we are photographing them. One blog suggested a "shoot first, ask permission later" attitude, while a book I am reading, especially when photographing people at work or more candid portraits, that we should ask first.

    I think my own apprehension to take other's photos are just as much as how I feel if I was photographed. 99 percent of the time, I wouldn't care if someone took a photograph of me doing whatever, but there might be that 1% where, its a moment that is not necessarily about being photographed that I reject, but the idea that the photograph would be on the web somewhere.

    The more and more I think about this, there are really two seperate things at play in the digital era. That is, the photograph, and the display of that photograph. I've browsed the Real Street Thread, and to play Devil's Advocate, I wonder how some of the people in the photos feel that their photo is being displayed on a public website.


    Keep in mind that I don't wish to stir up controversey on the site. I ask the questions so that I can advance my own photography, but with the understanding that this is a digital era in which we live.
     
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  10. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    thee project is interesting but has a weak premise, you ask permission and shoot , and when you do the moment is gone.... as challenging as collecting stamps or presidental quarters
     
  11. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Dj, I can certainly empathise with your feelings regarding this topic - and at the same time I would like to think we still have the freedom to shoot whatever we wish in a public space... My advice would be to frame with your LCD in an obvious tourist fashion and blend right in.

    As for the shot above of the girl - if I'd have been in the situation as described, I would have deleted the image from my camera, with respect for the feelings of the parents. Even if you know that your intentions were pure, you have to respect the wishes of the parents imho... I guess you could have asked the mother if it was OK to take the portrait on their behalf - offering to give them a print as a friendly neighbour? obviously too late now, but you live and learn...

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  12. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I feel uncomfortable taking open photos of people on the street as well in spite of my freedom to do so for private use, so I resort to surreptitious photos. I took some the others day with my film camera, and it'll be interesting to see what actually comes out. I had to judge the focus distance by feel while leaving my camera hanging from my neck and kinda pointing toward my subject. That works less well using a modern lens without distance markings, so if I do it with my GH1 I take a manual lens with me.

    I do try to stay away from taking pictures of kids because I understand that concern - I wouldn't want strangers to take photos of my kids either, and I think kids should be off-limits anyway. But that's just a personal opinion.
     
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  13. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    My understanding was that you make a friend, find out their story and take their portrait to go with the story... a sort of street interview exercise. I read somewhere that making friends and being in comfortable company can lead to some fantastic environmental portraits.

    Obviously there are other times, where you want to catch 'heat of the moment' activities in public spaces where you wouldn't take the time to introduce yourself to all involved.

    I think there would be some value in developing the social skills necessary to do this exercise - and it could be a good way to get to know the characters in our cities/towns more... I may give it a go and see how I feel.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  14. CalebPhotographer

    CalebPhotographer Mu-43 Regular

    123
    Apr 1, 2010
    Florida
  15. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    We are not all streetshooters. There are many genre's to work in.
    Streetshooters are fast becoming patriots. I mean they are aware of things like Cosina posted. There are areas of street work that also makes different genre's in itself.
    Street work is about asking questions and questioning the answers.

    If anyone is uncomfortable on the street, and still wants to do the work, well, ya have to find a way to do it. The issues presented are more about the human condition and conditioning than photography.
    I for one work the street. Maybe it's my rebellious nature but I also try not to exploit anyone either.
     
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  16. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I'd be curious to see if there's a 2010 version of that guide. More and more public places like court houses and police stations prohibit you from taking photographs of their buildings directly, although I'm not sure if that's actual law or just authorities over-stretching their bounds as usual. In other words, where does the photographer's rights clash with homeland security and terrorism threats?

    One of my photographer friends also told me it was now illegal to take photos of children, although I'm not sure I believe that one.
     
  17. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 14, 2010
    Toronto
    From 'the Photographers' Rights'..

    "Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have
    secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms,
    medical facilities, and inside their homes."

    Permissible Subjects
    Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:
    accident and fire scenes
    children
    celebrities
    bridges and other infrastructure
    residential and commercial buildings
    industrial facilities and public utilities
    transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
    Superfund sites
    criminal activities
    law enforcement officers
     
  18. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Bokeh, that looks either out of date or not relevant to the UK. It would be nice to have a definitive up to date guide.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  19. peterpix

    peterpix Mu-43 Veteran

    234
    Feb 8, 2010
    So. Maine
    Real Name:
    Peter Randal
  20. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    That's the reason I'm asking if there's an updated guide taking into account recent changes in laws because of fear of terrorism and police being caught in the act of potential acts of brutality. I figure I don't want to go to jail or have my camera confiscated (good luck getting it back!) if I can avoid it.