Street photography - mind or don't mind

Mind or don't mind (please read post first)


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tjana

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May 24, 2004
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#1
Been following ITphobia's poll about getting scolded when taking street pics. Some of the comments intrigued me, so decided to start this poll. In general, it seems there are people who feel the subject's permission *before* taking pictures is important, the rest feel it is ok to take first and don't ask permission, or ask later. Then there is the other parameter, about how you feel if you were the subject.

My guess is that a lot of us probably mind to have our pic taken by strangers w/o our knowledge. Would like to test this hypothesis :) and correlate that to whether the person will/will not take street pics w/o asking for permission first :devil:

My own reasoning is that if you ask first, then it's not candid anymore of course. IIRC in his book, The Photographer's Eye, Michael Freeman mentioned that if the subject turns to look at his camera then the pic is worthless to him (of course he'd ask for permission later lah, otherwise cannot publish commercially).

So just for this poll, "mind" or "don't mind" is about taking or having picture taken w/o permission first. What happens afterwards is another story, perhaps worthy of another poll.

I'm aware these are only broad generalisations. For 'others' category, feel free to post your own personal modus operandi.

Here goes...
 

yeobt

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May 23, 2007
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#2
Michael Freeman asked permission of his subject after the shot becos he was intending
to publish the pic. for most of us, if we dont hv that intention, taking photo in public
is not an offend n thus photography is FREE FOR ALL. :thumbsup:

unless it is those pervert lah.
 

coolin

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Sep 1, 2008
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#3
honestly, i dont mind the slightest if people take pictures of me.
as a photographer , i know i'd only take someone if i found him/her interesting enough.
so if someone wants to take a picture of me, im interesting to them which makes me feel good :D
 

Yoricko

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May 25, 2008
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#4
Don't mind. Unless that particular photographer stalks me for the whole hour.

I rarely ask for permission when I do street photography.
 

two200

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Nov 19, 2004
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#5
Firstly I must say that I almost never do street photography so my views may be diff from the previous replies

I will be very curious as to why people will take my photo, but I will not track him down and bash him :bsmilie:. I think it is courtesy to tell them when taking their photo either before or after the photo is being taken (so as not to miss candid shots) esp if they looked curious.
 

aspenx

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Aug 10, 2008
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#6
Voted for: I mind having my pic taken BUT I will take pic of others on the street

I'm camera-shy. :embrass:
 

tjana

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May 24, 2004
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#7
yeobt, coolin, yoricko: i share your sentiments. for those who want to take my pic, carry on! i'll just pretend i don't see you...

aspenx: not to worry - that's the reason some people hold a camera, so they can be the one taking the pic! :D but let's say you only noticed afterwards that the person is taking your pic, will you scold them?

two200: yeah, telling them afterwards is probably the nice thing to do, esp if they notice you. i'm working on my people skills...

keep the comments rolling, people!
 

#8
Woo, wat a interesting thread.
I voted "I don't mind having my pic taken AND I will take pic of others on the street".
Be rather happy if that photographer will willing to send me the photo.
Seriously if u really get permission from someone before shooting, that sense of "street photo" will be lost.... It's like, not naturely anymore...
 

Octarine

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#9
It's give and take .. and sometimes we are not even aware that others take a picture of us. Doesn't make sense to me objecting to other people taking pics of me when I have the camera at hand.
 

zero o

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Aug 8, 2007
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#10
a) do u mind if someone takes a picture of your kid without your permission ?
b) do u mind if someone takes a picture of you if u have fallen upon tough times or you are a destitute ?

If the subject of your picture is that "kid" or that "person pushing the trolley filled with cardboard boxes", then out of courtesy, you should ask for permission to shoot. Yes, as photographers, it is convenient to claim to have rights to shoot anything in public, but don't you think the other person have rights for not wanting his picture taken as well or for that matter published on the internet for the world to see ?

Just my 2 cents worth
 

Lolrence

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Oct 15, 2006
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#11
What about reporters? I don't think they ask permission from anyone...
 

Yoricko

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May 25, 2008
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#12
a) do u mind if someone takes a picture of your kid without your permission ?
b) do u mind if someone takes a picture of you if u have fallen upon tough times or you are a destitute ?
a) Even though I don't have kids, every parent is over-protective and wants their child to enjoy life and not get in harms way. It is natural for parents to get angry or uncomfortable when someone is secretly taking picture of their child. God knows what might happen with that picture and maybe it'll end up in some pedophile forums.

b) One day, the universe really hates you and you become homeless starving destitute. I wonder which homeless starving destitute wouldn't mind having their pictures taken, none.

Even though the over-protective parents might want to find trouble with you whenever you take a shot of their child or whether the homeless fella throws a superb kung-fu critical hit on your face, it doesn't stop street photographers from taking pictures.

As long as you roam any public space, you're a moving target for street photography.
Parents could hide their child at home and never bring him/her out ever to avoid getting their photos to be taken by a pedophile. Whereas the poor homeless destitute have no where to stay because the universe hates them, give them some donations or do something if you really wants to. Just yesterday, I gave some tissue paper selling aunties a rose (even though buying the tissue paper would help them more) just to make them a little happier ... hopefully.

If the subject of your picture is that "kid" or that "person pushing the trolley filled with cardboard boxes", then out of courtesy, you should ask for permission to shoot. Yes, as photographers, it is convenient to claim to have rights to shoot anything in public, but don't you think the other person have rights for not wanting his picture taken as well or for that matter published on the internet for the world to see ?
Taking pictures of anything in a public space is legal, so you can probably take pictures of anyone and they can't do anything, unless you want to use the picture to bring harm to that person or whoever, like those sick perverted uncles who do up-skirts and whatsoever. So I don't usually ask permission, as their facial expressions and body language will change. Sometimes it might be deliberate, so do whatever that suits you.

Even though its perfectly legal, there is a line of what is ethically okay and legally okay. Most of us hate our photos taken by random strangers.

Most importantly, as a street photographer, you have to have a GENUINE RESPECT FOR PEOPLE.
 

tjana

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May 24, 2004
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#13
Even though its perfectly legal, there is a line of what is ethically okay and legally okay.
well said, yoricko!

zero o: i see where you're coming from. myself, i don't have a kid, but after putting some thought into it, i realised i'd probably mind if some paedophile takes pics of my kid. random decent looking strangers are ok, but even better if they ask for permission, either before or after, and offer to send me the pictures!

problem is, with the internet the picture taken with no harmful intent might end up circulated on the internet (those of you who follow World of Nature thread probably have seen the picture of BeiBei, babykailan's kitten, end up as a LOLcat). humour website is one thing, but if the pic of my kid ended up in nastier places, i'd be quite upset. this is because i'm familiar with the internet and what it can do.

on the other hand, anyone here must've seen pics of smiling children from third world countries/villages. what about those, then? were their parents asked for permission? did they have *informed* consent that the pic will be circulated on the 'net and can end up god knows where? or were they just happy and indebted by whatever latest charity work done in their village? or it could be as simple as the photographer giving the kids a handful of sweets.

as for the destitute, personally i haven't taken any pic of them, but i'm nothing against it in principle. IMO one can take a picture of the down and out yet preserve their dignity. and btw, not all the aunties/uncles who push trolleys collecting cardboard are doing that because they have no choice. there was the story in straits timesa about one such character in the chinatown area, who apparently has adamantly refused help from govt/charity because she believes in being self-sufficient, menial work notwithstanding. that is what i call intrinsic dignity.

(but sometimes it is the picture that shows the most pathos that attracts our morbid fascination. i can't help thinking of the pulitzer-winning picture of the starving child in sudan with a vulture waiting in the background.)

ok, children and the destitute are tricky issues and the ethical considerations are beyond the scope of this thread. :think:

now back on track...
 

Octarine

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#16
What about reporters? I don't think they ask permission from anyone...
That's a different field, not (hobby) street photography anymore. Basically, a reporter / photo journalist should have the same respect like anybody else - but the nature of journalism is to be nosy and 'kepo', reporting also about things that are a) not visible / accessible to everybody; b) things that are illegal; or c) things that are of public interest but are swept under rug. If one asks for permission always .. how much things you could bring into the news? (Bringing to the news means "filling your rice bowl".)
 

Octarine

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#17
zero o: i see where you're coming from. myself, i don't have a kid, but after putting some thought into it, i realised i'd probably mind if some paedophile takes pics of my kid. random decent looking strangers are ok, but even better if they ask for permission, either before or after, and offer to send me the pictures!
How you distinguish between a pedophile and a decent looking stranger when you see a person with a camera. How do you think such pedophiles look like?
 

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tjana

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May 24, 2004
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#18
How you distinguish between a pedophile and a decent looking stranger when you see a person with a camera. How do you think such pedophiles look like?
octarine, there is no way to differentiate the two, unless the person wears a sign announcing it. and a decent-looking person may harbour bad intentions. the comment was meant to be an exaggeration/half-joking. :dunno: was that a serious question? let me refer you to to this book titled How-to-Recognise-a-Paedophile 101... ;p

If one asks for permission always .. how much things you could bring into the news? (Bringing to the news means "filling your rice bowl".)
very true. now for the rest of us lesser mortals whose rice bowls do not depend on being nosy, it leaves a lot of grey areas as to what is acceptable, more so with the rise of citizen journalism, STOMPers, for example. and then there is us, people who do street/candid photography for no reason other than as a hobby.

the comments on (professional) photojournalism are interesting. any photojournalist here who can enlighten us on the legal/ethical aspects?
 

Octarine

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#19
octarine, there is no way to differentiate the two, unless the person wears a sign announcing it. and a decent-looking person may harbour bad intentions. the comment was meant to be an exaggeration/half-joking. :dunno: was that a serious question? let me refer you to to this book titled How-to-Recognise-a-Paedophile 101... ;p
It is a serious question, indeed. That's why I poked a bit deeper with my response. Because the line of your posting could very easily lead to conclusions about people with cameras taking pictures of kids. And one day it is you taking a picture of a child and somebody raises the finger ... From single incidents to general suspicion .. sometimes it's a very short step in this world. Let's be alert but never paranoid.

more so with the rise of citizen journalism, STOMPers, for example.
That's nothing I would call 'journalism' but rather 'satisfying some urge for entertainment'. A journalist at least shows the context of events and asks a few questions. Nothing that I can see in STOMP and however they are called. But .. that's OT now.
 

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