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  #1  
Old 11-13-2005, 08:47 PM
calvinc calvinc is offline
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Default Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

IMPORTANT ETHICS QUESTION:
Should you ask permission of a subject (or their parents) before you take pictures of him/her? How do you go about taking pictures of a person? Since I just started, I'm not sure what the protocol or ethics are of taking pictures of strangers.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2005, 09:49 PM
don_narayan don_narayan is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

here are the rules I use:

1)If I can get the photo without asking them and without them noticing me, than I will not ask. so, if they are completely oblivious to my presence, I am not going to bother them by asking and ruin the natural atmosphere, which is important.

2) If it is obvious that I will not be able to get the photo without them knowing, I will ask. In many cases i wanting look, a thumbs up and a little motion of the camera... if I don't speak the language. If they see me there looking like I want to take a photo, i will certainly ask. But if someone says "No" leave it at that and don't try and sneak one and don't plead with him/her.

Of course, a lot depends on where you are, different cultures have different ideas and in some places you have to ask the kids to NOT get in the pictures and tell people, "no, i'm sorry i don't want to take your picture." Other places you will have people turn their backs before you even think of putting the camera to the eye. Once a woman told me "no photo" and I hadn't even thought of it... I told her, "I don't want a photo of you!" and then she was mad... :)
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2005, 10:53 AM
simonekarl simonekarl is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

Cheers Narayan

Recently following advise from a certain Don Mario Lopes regarding street photography. I had an episode where I was taking pictures of people waiting in line at a bus stop at close range, whilst not many people said anything, one guy was pretty upset and confronted me. He actually tried to take my camera, and was quite rough.
I was so demoralised by the whole ordeal that I dodn't take any more photos that day.

I guess there are no hard fixed rules with this type of photography, but I can believe it that a good street photographer can not be shy or poliote all the time, and sometimes has to be a little intrusive. Not sure what Maciekda's technique is, but man that guy's not embrassed to point his lens in someones face, look at his night photos of Drunken Cardiff & and social clubs, the results are Brilliant.
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2005, 01:26 PM
mlopes mlopes is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

ahaha Sorry to ear that Simone, you must try harder ;)

Here's my deal:

1. When shooting streetphotography i don't ask permission at all, but then, can anyone ask permission while doing this kind of photography? The trick is to be friendly but confident... Maciej is a good example i think, also Francis (Furachan) and many others

2. When i want to make a closer portraits i ask permission, normally it works quite well, just ask for it or make a smile and moove with your camera to get autorization. But even when i make a photo without prior autorization i usually show the result in the LCD after, and talk with the people for a couple of minutes.

It has been working fine, there are no rules, and the rules you make to yourself may not work with others, but i think confidence in yourself is important... if you are shooting a beautifull woman and you are nervous and sweating like a horse, you will be seen as a pervert more than like a photographer ;)

And don't forget, if someone try to hit you... RUNNNNNNNNNNNN :P
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2005, 02:30 PM
kikvel kikvel is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

if you go to Lisbon, and see a weird, fatty, bushy, baldy guy stalking ladies with a Canon EOS350D, you can bet that this strange person is:

.
.
.
.
"Malopes"

he does not ask permission
he is absolutely nasty
he is scaring children (with his beard!!!)
he is obsessed with beers and women

so be careful, do not follow his advice!

:D

K.
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2005, 02:38 PM
kikvel kikvel is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

now serious,

it all depends on where you are but usually:

- you have to be very "alerted" of the environment, if you are getting TOO close, using a wide angle, shooting in "the face", you better ask first, or give the person a smile and a gesture showing clearly your intentions...

- when shooting children, be careful, some adults may find it weird, and they may think you are a freak, a pervert or something... go to their parents, and ask

- I usually wear a photojournalist jacket, so people do not care much, if you are dressing normal "urban" style, they may think whatever..., the question is: Why are u shooting? Are u a kidnaper?

So if a problem arises, it is helpful to have a "personal business card", that you may give them saying in a implicit way that you are an amateur photographer, that you do not have "hidden" intentions, and your info, webpage etc etc...

my two guaranies;

K.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2005, 02:46 PM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

Ive never asked for permission. Never. Ive never been confronted either. But I dont try to be sneaky. Im pretty obvious. I think its in your bodylanguage. If you are hiding behind potted trees and corners you will look suspicious. Maybe what helps me is that in Korea I look like a tourist so the people think "Oh, just another crazy tourist". Who knows.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2005, 02:51 PM
kikvel kikvel is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

other technique I use from time to time is the "confusion" technique...let me explain it, I point to a subject and I shoot, the person becomes aware of my actions inmediately, but I keep on walking and shooting still when my primary target is already out of my viewfinder like saying "you think I shoot you? no way, is another subject...

that way the "main target" remains confused and simply does not say a word...they can not say anything cause they are unsure...

:D

K.
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2005, 02:53 PM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

I also thought of this. People neve say anything to me because of the language barrier. They just keep walking or doing what they do.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2005, 03:04 PM
don_narayan don_narayan is offline
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Default Re: Ethics for taking pictures of strangers

Shooting from the hip helps as well... no need to ask and also a good angle of a natural, uninterupted moment. sometimes the result are quite good.

but, if someone says no or gets upset, don't take it personally, just move on. Some people are nice when they say no and some people can be a bit more abrupt... either way, just respect them.
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