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Thread: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

  1. #1

    Default Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Hi all

    I recently read a thread in the www.japan-guide.com forum about photography in Japan. And the thread mentioned something like it's very rude for photographers, amateurs or professionals, to take pictures of someone without permission.

    What do you all think? How do you all approach people when you want to take their pictures, can share?

    After reading the thread I really feel disheartened cos I'm planning a trip next January to Japan, and I planned to bring along my camera. There are so many things to shoot in Japan, not only the scenaries but the people as well.

    For those who had visited Japan, what are your views? Is it really true that Japanese don't like to be photographed at?

    And to those foreigners shooting in Singapore, do you face this problem from the locals?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    take what you read at face value. remember that what you read may have been influenced by culture. diff countries have diff cultures, thus different beliefs.

    i do shoot street candids as well. personally i think that as long as the subject does not protest or ask you to delete the photos, it's ok. add to the fact that you do not use the photos you have taken without model release for commercial gain, then it shud be ok.

    it may differ from ppl to ppl. the best policy is to be respectful of other people's privacy if they do not wish their photos to be taken. politely delete them if approached.

    cheers.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    to me i personally don't like to approach people before photographing them is because:

    1) they know someone is watching them
    2) there is a high chance they'll reject you esp in Singapore
    3) they will ask alot of questions
    4) not so candid afterall right?

  4. #4
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Quote Originally Posted by simplewhale View Post
    Hi all

    I recently read a thread in the www.japan-guide.com forum about photography in Japan. And the thread mentioned something like it's very rude for photographers, amateurs or professionals, to take pictures of someone without permission.

    What do you all think? How do you all approach people when you want to take their pictures, can share?

    After reading the thread I really feel disheartened cos I'm planning a trip next January to Japan, and I planned to bring along my camera. There are so many things to shoot in Japan, not only the scenaries but the people as well.

    For those who had visited Japan, what are your views? Is it really true that Japanese don't like to be photographed at?

    And to those foreigners shooting in Singapore, do you face this problem from the locals?
    anyone who wanted to shoot travel/environmental portraits will face the same problem. hostility? xenophobia? intrusion? monetary exchange?

    sometimes it is more than just a country or a culture, even within the same place and the same people, different people will have different reactions of being photographed at by tourists/photographers, so it is difficult to predict.

    one thing i have learned from others is that interaction is important. people seasoned in this aspect often considered chatting up with their subjects before going into the actual request. but in travel, language may become a barrier. usually, that can be overcome with some universal courtesy - a smile, before or after a shot. you can also gesture before shooting with a smile or a nodding. if you have made eye contacts with your subject after shooting, if you could, a simple sentence of their local language of thanks and good wish, may be good. it all depends on the kind of distance you are used to shooting your portraits - whether you shoot from 20m away is grossly different if you shoot from 2m away from the subject, and different approach of interaction (unless you shoot so far away that the subject does not know of your presence) may be required.

    and if possible, try not to fiddle too long to take a shot. people usually gets uncomfortable with someone fiddling too long to shoot especially when they are not being asked of permission before hand.

    there will be certain groups of people that is probably more open to people taking photographs for them, and you will have less worries and more practices before going on the streets

    1. children (but be careful in the west due to their concerns against pedophiles)
    2. showgirls during shows and exhibitions
    3. performers, e.g. during festivals

    in the context of japan, i'm sure you will not have worries if you go harajuku to take the pictures of the cosplay fans

    another two point of note
    1. you will come across not so pleasant experience no matter how good you are. dun be disheartened, as long as you did what you do in pure good will.
    2. there will be constantly people who will act in moral high grounds and insist their styles of approaching people on you. take it with a pinch of salt.
    Last edited by zoossh; 2nd December 2006 at 02:52 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    I typically don't face any problem doing street shooting.

    Yes, Japan IS photography nirvana and there are tons of street life that u can shoot. But when u're shooting, what do you want to show? If Photography is simply shooting, one can do it with a PnS. Photography goes BEYOND that of just shooting but its the INTERACTION between subject & photographer.

    I had gone from impromptu split-second shots, to asking the nice ladies at Akihabara & Harajuku as well as asking AND being rejected.

    Just like Singaporeans, there are some who are willing to smile at the camera, yet there are some who doesn't even if u ask them politely.

    Bottomline: U can be rejected for a photo request, but MAINTAIN UR INTEGRITY as a photographer and stay polite. The universal language of an apologetic smile is the same. If u behave like a sneak vouyeristic shooter, u will simply stand out.
    "Wonders of the Human Mind. Unfathomable to the highest degree."

  6. #6

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Bottomline: U can be rejected for a photo request, but MAINTAIN UR INTEGRITY as a photographer and stay polite. The universal language of an apologetic smile is the same. If u behave like a sneak vouyeristic shooter, u will simply stand out.
    Oh no. I am vey thin-skinned when it comes to asking people for photo shoot, let alone being rejected! Hahaha. That's why I usually shoot flowers and animals.

    But I guessed that's also part of "growing up" right? Can't be too passive all the time. Yosh! I will muster up all my courage to ask politely next time I see an interesting subject, not just in Japan.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    No problem doing street shooting in Japan at all. To me, it's hell much easier than doing so here :P

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    hmmm can japanese in tokyo understand english? i went to osaka and and most ppl couldnt

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Nice collection of pics StreetShooter! I enjoy your series!
    It is the camera, not the photographer.
    my flickr - adamloh.com

  11. #11
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    Bottomline: U can be rejected for a photo request, but MAINTAIN UR INTEGRITY as a photographer and stay polite.
    so far, i haven't heard of anyone that became rude after being rejected for a photo request. more often what i hear is people afraid of being rejected and does not make an approach, or stop approaching after being rejected once or many times.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Quote Originally Posted by adamadam View Post
    Nice collection of pics StreetShooter! I enjoy your series!
    Thanks!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Some things to ponder... Let's hear your views

    Nice shots StreetShooter!

    U mean u go round carrying a big machine to shoot them and they dun even mind a bit? Especially inside the trains.

    Now I think I have more confidence le.

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