Permission to snap public performers?


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#1
Just something to share with you folks, had an unpleasant day today :(

I have heard many "you can't take photograph here" stories before but mainly from the US. Today something similar happened to me in Singapore.

Today as usual I was walking from Raffles Place to Clarke Quay to take the MRT home. And as usual along the way I would look for some interesting things to snap with my compact camera such as the river, boats, stray cats, etc.

As I entered the underground tunnel linking Riverwalk and Clarke Quay, I spotted this public singer playing guitar and singing in the middle of the tunnel. I have always wanted to have a shot like this, so I took out my compact film camera, squatted down (some good 10 meters away, at the far end of the tunnel) and started to compose. I was composing for the tunnel walkway with the singer silhouetted, that's right I was actually going to snap this person in the shadow.

As I was about to press the shuttle, the guy spotted me and immediately started to shout explosively, and pointing his finger at me.

Him: No no no no no photograph!!
Him: Where are you from? Where are you from huh?!

I was stunned, as I slowly and embarrassingly walkecd towards him, he continued.

Him: Where are you from?!
Me: Huh? I'm from here.. Singapore.
Him: You are from here and you don't know that you must ask for permission when taking someone's photo?
Me: Sorry.. I didn't know.. :embrass:

He continued to shout and scold. I didn't know what to say or do, I just gave an embarrassed smile and walked away. But as I walked he continued shouting, and talking about "you never even apologized" and "I'll call the police" and some ****. At this point, I was really angry, I turned back to him and said "I was gonna give you some coins, but I changed my mind". Then put on my headphones and walked away. Of course he kept on shouting, I could hear him even with my headphones on and when I was at the end of the tunnel.

Absolutely furious! :angry:

Has anybody faced something like this before? Anybody knows the official Photographer's rights in Singapore? I did some searching and all I could find is this:
http://www.offstone.com/photo/showthread.php?t=16841

Now, as far as I'm concerned, I was at a public area (he certainly doesn't own that place), he was performing publicly, and I wasn't peeping, I was snapping publicly at a well known tourist area. And for god's sake, I was like 10 or 15 meters away from him!

I'm not angry because I was told not to take pictures, I understand that some people are not comfortable and I probably should asked for permission. I'm angry because the first thing that he did when he saw me was scream and scold. I feel that is really unattractive for him to do such a thing in front of tourists and passers-by.

I have learned my lesson, next time when faced with a similar situation I'll be sure to seek for permission first. But I swear, this dude will never get a cent out of me! :angry::angry:
 

JohnnyM

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Jul 26, 2007
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#3
Go and take picture of the blind man at orchard mrt tunnel lar. that one cfm won't see you.
 

Bosty

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Jul 28, 2007
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Kovan
#4
That dude ain't a true performer, probably just trying to suck money out of busking, that wad i hate abt ppl who do busking dis days. Say wad promote art n culture in Singapore? rubbish, they just want money w/ their supposed talent... Disgrace to performers.

Personally, i also like taking dis kind of photos. Where it's not against e law but possibly provoke ppl :p more thrill. once aimed point blank at a china man in China, he see liao i run sia. :D

I was wondering, if u were holding like something more convincing, like a DSLR or a prosumer that looks like one, i think he would probably let u take. weird.

but becareful who u randomly snap, some ppl get REALLY offended. make it sneaky :p part of street photography lolx
 

Bosty

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Jul 28, 2007
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Kovan
#5
Go and take picture of the blind man at orchard mrt tunnel lar. that one cfm won't see you.
Later he can hear the shutter of ur camera he throw his walking stick at u n break ur lens :D
 

#6
Haha, don't take it too personal. I had the same experience with the same person at the same place as you did! Just forget about it and move on, don't let a bad-tempered man spoil your day :)
 

Duinchlfc

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Aug 29, 2006
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#7
Have not experienced anything like that before yet but i'm glad you shared the story with us.Will make myself think twice next time i decide to snap some place with someone in them.
 

cjtune

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Mar 20, 2006
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#8
Yeah I kena before too. Same scenario but somewhere else in Singapore.
I guess it's not unexpected to have a litany of abuses come out of these sort of people's mouths, but I just walked away, putting on a stony face. This one even demanded payment (S$10). Not worth your time getting involved in an argument and please don't give in to their demands. Otherwise they'll get an idea to make a living out of extortion than performance. Maybe he can't make a living from his performances I guess - his singing and guitarwork was poor, to be frank.

I wasn't even taking a direct photo of him. Just the scene, and yet his 'radar' was so sensitive:


Besides the busker above, I have also been scolded by flea market sellers. I have been doing well with a don't-give-a-damn attitude. At least my experience with mall security guards have been amicable...
 

cjtune

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Mar 20, 2006
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#9
Haha, don't take it too personal. I had the same experience with the same person at the same place as you did! Just forget about it and move on, don't let a bad-tempered man spoil your day :)
I wonder if you could tip off the authorities about this sort of people?
 

#10
Wow, this has really opened my eyes about these so-called performers and generally about taking people pictures in public places. Thanks for sharing the stories and advises, I especially like the don't-give-a-damn and just walk away advise ;p
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#11
No issues, just go ahead and take. If he want to call the police, tell him to do so and lets wait for the police together. Good time to check whether he has a legal license to perform as well.
 

hongsien

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#12
Whether legal or not or for whatever reason, if he doesn't want you to take pics of him you should respect that.....would all here like it if someone take pics of you? Of course this doesn't mean he can do all that bad mouthing, when I take a pic of someone and that preson doesn't want, I will repect that. No matter if it is at a public space or not.....

HS
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#13
Whether legal or not or for whatever reason, if he doesn't want you to take pics of him you should respect that.....would all here like it if someone take pics of you? Of course this doesn't mean he can do all that bad mouthing, when I take a pic of someone and that preson doesn't want, I will repect that. No matter if it is at a public space or not.....

HS
i think it is not an issue of a subject requesting of photography of him not to proceed. i'm sure most if not all of us are fine with that. but it is all about the manners, and to a certain degree, is candid photography against the law?
 

Bored Dad

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Jul 24, 2007
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#15
While I agree that we should respect their decision not to be photographed, but I think this street performer may be a fake one or illegal immigrant, thus scared the relevant authorities captures any evidence against him, or news reporter that prove him is a fake.

To me personally, I don't think taking photographs in the public area, of the general public, or people on street, needs any permission. But just that if they noticed you and do not like to be photographed, then just smile and stop taking photo on them, if need be, just delete the photo(s) in front of them.
 

shojibake

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Dec 7, 2004
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#16
I've walked through the tunnel many times, and the guy/s is not as grouchy as you might think. That area is a high traffic stop for many photogs. Imagine how you would feel if everyday, people try to take a photo of you, after a while you're bound to say no. i've seen the guy tell off a whole bunch of photogs on an outing, who were about to snap him like an animal, so it's not just you.
 

deckard

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Oct 13, 2006
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#17
my experience was even funnier.:confused: i walked around carrying the dslr around my neck sometimes around the chinatown area. the shopkeeper immediately shouted "no photos" even when I have not even enter the shop yet....:confused: just passing by...? :what:

funnier leh. like that also can??? :what:
 

Andy Ang

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Jan 10, 2006
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#18
Let's ambush this guy one day. Like 20 of us, suddenly flash out the tuo leng kong with multiple strobes and start flashing away. I bet he will run away!!
 

Lenscapes

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Apr 28, 2004
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#19
Let's ambush this guy one day. Like 20 of us, suddenly flash out the tuo leng kong with multiple strobes and start flashing away. I bet he will run away!!
u meant Illegal busker photoshoot outing? :bsmilie::bsmilie:
 

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