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Thread: is it right?

  1. #1
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    I was taking some Street photographs today in a rather popular tourist attraction . I took a shot of a Caucasian man who was fitting the frame of the shot nicely and thanked him. However, he was a little unhappy with the fact that I shot him without his consent and he proceeded to lecturer me about ethics of asking someone for permission before shooting.

    I apologised and thanked him again for the shot unfortunately he was still unhappy and decided to take a sarcastic shot of me while I was at work but I decided to shrug it off as I did not want to be petty about the situation

    Was I truly out of line for taking his photo that required him to react in such a way? Should I have done something instead of just letting him do as he pleased?
    Last edited by Airekris; 7th February 2014 at 05:07 PM.

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    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Airekris View Post
    I was taking some Street photographs today in a rather popular tourist attraction . I took a shot of a Caucasian man who was fitting the frame of the shot nicely and thanked him. However, he was a little unhappy with the fact that I shot him without his consent and he proceeded to lecturer me about ethics of asking someone for permission before shooting.

    I apologised and thanked him again for the shot unfortunately he was still unhappy and decided to take a sarcastic shot of me while I was at work but I decided to shrug it off as I did not want to be petty about the situation

    Was I truly out of line for taking his photo that required him to react in such a way? Should I have done something instead of just letting him do as he pleased?
    Well... there are bound to have people who doesn't like the picture taken. In my opinion, you did nothing wrong. I did lots of street photography and people (whether knowingly or unknowingly) are the main subject of my shots... I don't think I am doing anything unethical. And you actually thanked him in the first place make you a pretty polite person, I wouldn't bother.

    As to him taking photo of you or what, is also within his own rights. So there really is nothing wrong with that either.

    However, although I think it was unnecessary, but you can take an extra step, if the person in question expresses their displease, you could delete their photo from your camera in front of them and be done with it. And if he is still unhappy, then ignore them. (although I seriously don't think you needed to do that.)
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

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    Senior Member madmartian's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Airekris View Post
    I was taking some Street photographs today in a rather popular tourist attraction . I took a shot of a Caucasian man who was fitting the frame of the shot nicely and thanked him. However, he was a little unhappy with the fact that I shot him without his consent and he proceeded to lecturer me about ethics of asking someone for permission before shooting.

    I apologised and thanked him again for the shot unfortunately he was still unhappy and decided to take a sarcastic shot of me while I was at work but I decided to shrug it off as I did not want to be petty about the situation

    Was I truly out of line for taking his photo that required him to react in such a way? Should I have done something instead of just letting him do as he pleased?
    if you don't thank him, he'll never know that you took a shot of him.
    If you want to do street photography and go around thanking people you shot, you'll be very busy thanking people and getting lectures from people you shot.
    If you want to do street photography, just shoot and go off. After all no prize from the person even if how well he fit into the frame
    Last edited by madmartian; 7th February 2014 at 05:28 PM.
    Take the shot!

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    Default Re: is it right?

    Street photography has its disadvantages and what you described is probably the most common. If you want candid shots it may not be a good idea to thank the person and a lot of them can be quite offended that you took a shot of them. Some street photographers can be quite aggressive using even flashes on strangers to get the shot. It just depends who you shoot.

    Next time unless the person genuinely seems happy that you took the shot don't interact to let them know a shot was taken.
    Last edited by ronniegogs; 7th February 2014 at 06:00 PM.

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    Default Re: is it right?

    My mantra when out in the streets, if you can get away silently, then don't light firecrackers.

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it right?

    I happen to agree with the rest, TS. It seems like you were not rewarded with kindness when you treated the subject with kindness. That's sad to note but I think it would be a lot easier if you left it a bit more vague by not letting your subjects know that they have had their photos taken.

    What they dont know wont kill them I guess.

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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it right?

    Legally you are right in taking the picture at a public place. Legally, he has to tolerate this.
    But .. there is this thing about courtesy with its different interpretations between people and cultures. Another Caucasian would respond differently, another Asian would maybe respond similarly to what the guy did. No general answer to that and it's a bit of luck that helps.
    So far I made the experience that either you stay hidden completely or you need to engage them right from the start. Avoid the situation that they discover you just lowering the camera. This is very tricky and myself I had mixed responses this way.
    EOS

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    Default Re: is it right?

    If the same Caucasian man was to walk around popular places in UK, chances are the UK government security CCTVs would have videoed his image - without asking permission or giving thanks.

    Read 1

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    His reaction to you may have several possible reasons:
    • He was not supposed to be there at that time and you have just recorded photographic evidence that he was.
    • His identity is secretive due to the nature of his job and he does not like being recorded in a photo.
    • If you are a guy, then he may be worried that you are attracted to him. If he is straight and he thinks you are not straight, then he is offended. He interpreted your thanking him as a pick up line or a come-on attempt.

    Have you also thought of the possibility that when you thank people after taking their photo, that they may demand payment from you?
    This may or may not happen in a foreign land.
    Last edited by ricohflex; 7th February 2014 at 06:59 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: is it right?

    The perils of street photography (at least you're not a sneaky long tele shooter!).

    I agree with the earlier posters -- you should have just shut up and left. If the subject smiles, I would smile back and acknowledge them. Other than that, I just act as if nothing happened. Sometimes, if they look annoyed, I just look annoyed myself and take a step left to reframe, as if they blocked my shot -- works more often than you might think!

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Francis View Post
    The perils of street photography (at least you're not a sneaky long tele shooter!).

    I agree with the earlier posters -- you should have just shut up and left. If the subject smiles, I would smile back and acknowledge them. Other than that, I just act as if nothing happened. Sometimes, if they look annoyed, I just look annoyed myself and take a step left to reframe, as if they blocked my shot -- works more often than you might think!
    Hahaha look annoyed is a champion move. I gotta try that soon.

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    Moderator keithwee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Francis View Post
    If the subject smiles, I would smile back and acknowledge them. Other than that, I just act as if nothing happened. Sometimes, if they look annoyed, I just look annoyed myself and take a step left to reframe, as if they blocked my shot -- works more often than you might think!
    Agree I have this habit of donning the act of reframing my shot or simply just pointing the lens downwards when annoyance is shown. It helps a lot.

    That said, there were times also where total strangers were friendly and I emailed them the photos later.

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    Thank you all for the advice people. I'll take the advice of just walking after the shot next time.

    What I failed to mention in my first post was that the guy was an old fellow photographer. Knowing this fact made me rather sad as he could not understand the position I was in and question my ethics in taking street photography.

    I don't really blame him for behaving this way as maybe it was also my fault partly for not being discrete. Maybe trying to use a 645 camera for street looks a bit intimidating. I'll still use my 645 for street though as I find the film size and details to my liking.

    All that said I guess being more discrete is key to success in street.

  13. #13

    Default Re: is it right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Airekris View Post
    Was I truly out of line for taking his photo that required him to react in such a way? Should I have done something instead of just letting him do as he pleased?
    I don't think you were out of line, but like others have said, he's entitled to be unhappy about it even if you're the most polite person on earth. Perhaps he had a bad day, family member passed away, recently lost his life savings to an online scammer, stubbed his toe against a chair, or simply doesn't like being photographed (I imagine many photographers may fall into this category... haha), or is generally a PITA to whoever crosses his path, whatever it was, who knows? Humans are complex enough that it's hard to judge based on a fleeting encounter. I think your response was great — kept your cool, shrugged it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    So far I made the experience that either you stay hidden completely or you need to engage them right from the start.
    Yeah, this works for me too. Either engage from the start (as if they're not receptive and say no, you'll know straight away), or not at all.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: is it right?

    Same problem.
    Think the Indians have no organisers for a paid XMM model photo shoot. Maybe someone can help them out.
    If they are from conservative culture in their home country, then this is like being in Playboy mansion.


    Men refuse to stop taking pictures of girls in bikinis


  15. #15

    Default Re: is it right?

    Anyone would get irritated because they feel its an invasion to their personal space. Street photography supposed to be discreet.
    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

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    Default Re: is it right?

    That is the problem when one pushes the theory that in a public place, one has the right to take photos of others - too far.
    Being from a different culture, they do not know how to self-moderate because in their country, attitude to females is different.
    Last edited by ricohflex; 8th February 2014 at 07:05 PM.

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    Senior Member dennisc's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it right?

    On the other hand SG is very voyeuristic also and we all get multiple candids daily. Look @ mrt stations, up to 8-12cctvs in 1 pole. 1 Bus = 3 cctvs and so on.

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