Street [and transports] shooting : how do you handle the relationship afterwards

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Laurent, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Hi gang,

    I've been mainly a landscape/close-ups photographer for some years, apart from the casual family event (which I seem to never print 'cause it's so boring :D).

    I've taken drawing up recently (thanks to Bruce Barlow and his recommendation of "Drawing on the right side of the brain"), and practiced by drawing people in the train when I'm commuting.

    I dunno if this is related, but I now feel a urge to photograph people in the streets, and the Rolleiflex seems a magic tool for this.

    I did not resist the call, so I have a few pics of people, mostly young ladies (they look much better than old men :tongue:) and wondered what I should do next : should I give them a kind of business card so that they can contact me if they'd like to see the results, should I have a print with me (in many case I see the same people regularly) or should I do nothing and keep these images for myself ?

    Of course, I'm not asking you what I should do, since I'm the one to make the decision, but I'd like to hear about what YOU are doing. So, how are YOU handling this ?
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi laurent:

    whenever i photograph people i always give them
    my business card ( web address / email )
    and the next time i see them i give a print.
    i ask if it is ok for me to use as a portfolio piece
    on my website &C say "the print" is compensation / thanks.

    have fun + good luck!

    john
     
  3. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I usually make the photo and move on, trying not to get noticed. But I have really been thinking of making business cards.
     
  4. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I do both approaches: Sometimes I just snap the shot and move on, other times I'll approach somebody and ask if I can take a photo. I this case I always offer a print and give them my number. I've been turned down for my request only a couple of times surprisingly enough. In the five years I've been shooting in the streets, I've had only one or two people contact me. Street photography is really not something that is easy to pick up right away. You have to shoot over a period of time before you can figure out where your comfort zone is, what your interests in the street are etc.
     
  5. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    I don't have a card but I have finally ordered some. Although I usually try to be fairly upfront with my shooting--I don't shoot from the hip, I don't pretend to be doing something else, I just shoot--it's still almost always a case of snapping some transient moment and people who are either moving away or don't want to be interrupted. I never approach people in my own city and ask to take their photo, but sometimes they ask ME, and if they seem interested in the photo I'll get their address. When traveling however, I do ask permission frequently, so I get the addresses and send the photos later. I admit to being really slow at the sending, though...have some mental block about international mailings, I guess.
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    My business cards are just a word document arranged in columns and copied onto card stock. I take them home and cut them down to the right size.

    I give them out to people who I do street photography with them in the image who I interact with whenI am setting up the image composition.

    I tell them to email me their contact details, and that I will be pleased to get them a print once I have their contact details, which could be as simple as leave an envelope to thier attention at their usual coffee shop, ie a blind drop.

    No one has ever followed up, but I do not get demonized as some perv taking photos when I approach the subject, or thier parent s if the subject is a young kid with parents at hand.

    I do carry compact photo releases with me also, but must confess I have never had high enough hopes of these 'grab' photos to want to try to publish them, or incorporate them in my portfolio.

    For me I think of street photography as just a vein I like to mine for my own pleasure only, knowing there is likely to never be any ore in that particular tunnel.
     
  7. twoeyeandy

    twoeyeandy Member

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    Laurant, if you are shooting in France I believe you have some tricky privacy laws regarding street photography, something about 'right to privacy' which may be more about the published image, but worth checking out. However it does seem nonsense as France is the home of street photography.
    A Rolleiflex is a great tool for street photography...very Doisneau.
    Andy
     
  8. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks for your replies !

    Andy : yes there are some laws about this, but it should only concern published images.

    I like the idea of leaving a way to contact me, as said Mike, I'd feel less clandestine.

    I have developed the first films of these images, and hope to see the contacts today, it may give me some energy to pursue this.
     
  9. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    If you ask the subject if you can take their picture, you've just ruined the candid element. When shots are always posed, things get boring real fast in regard to street photography. Best not to ask....just make the picture and move on, or tell them what you did after the fact and provide them a business card should they want a print.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    So, what you are really saying is that you are now officially one of those creepy European guys who photographs young ladies on the street......










    (:wink:)
     
  11. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    If I want to take someone's photo and take my time about it, I will always ask their permission. If it's a child, I always ask the parent's permission first as, although I'm not a parent myself, I understand why many parents would not take kindly to strangers taking photos without asking first.

    If it's a grab-shot in a crowded street or event (like, for example, a few I took at the London Marathon last weekend), then I just shoot - mainly because there just isn't the time for such pleasantries and it might kill shot.

    I always have some cards showing my ID and website with me and hand these out to anyone who wants to know what I'm taking and where it might be seen.
     
  12. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Sorry, I amlready replied but it seems my reply got lost somewhere in the network...

    Yes, looks like that I'm afraid :D

    SilverGlow : I do not ask before, so as not to ruin the shot, and I'm afraid thsi is what makes me uncomfortable.

    Paul : yes, I'm more concerned when it's a kid, I'm a parent and can understand other parents being concerned about this.

    At the moment I'm working on a "project in the project" as there is a new collaborative project that started in my city, where we're to build a merry-go-round with the inhabitants, and an artist as our mentor. This gives me a lot to think about (drawings for the project, planning for my shoots...) so the street shooting seems to be a bit behind these days...
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I rarely ask peoples permission when shooting"Street" because it spoils the spontaneity, and recently have been surprised that even when many people notice me photographing them pretend not to notice, I find it helps to use a camera that doesn't look too professional, like a small compact like an Olympus XA, XA2, Rollei 35, or Minox 35GT, and they are small enough that if your subject takes offence and sticks it "where the sun don't shine" it shouldn't be too painful :D.
     
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  15. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    Wasn't it HCB who said “Aim well, shoot fast and scram”?

    That's how I do it. Although sometimes I shoot fast and stay put…

    I very rarely talk to anyone about my photography; hence, no permission is asked for (but none is needed…), whatever the subject.
     
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Right on !
     
  17. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    Having a card with personal details is a good idea, which I have not considered before. Especially when a situation is "posed" on the street. I'm not always able to ask permission although doing so is a courtesy and nicely rounded off by presenting a card as I'm sometimes asked "What will you do with the picture?" although most subjects are not concerned at all and just smile bemusedly as I thank them and walk away.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Once the subject notices you and "poses" you've lost the whole point of candid photography.
     
  19. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    True, but there are occasions when it is prudent to engage the subject. Sometimes it is at the expense of the spontaneity although in my experience the person asks "what do you want me to do" and I request that they continue doing what they were or remarks "Okay, but I'm not posing for you" and carries on doing what they were anyway, or occasionally declines.
     
  20. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Again some interesting replies here... At the moment at least, what I like in street photography is really to get some candids, so asking the permission may kill the shot...
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you have to build a relationship with them you've blown it, I try not to look at them when I actually fire the shutter but hold the camera near my ear and look the other way, I do do what they teach in the military, fire and movement, shoot and scoot, as soon as I've snapped them I turn and walk the other way, I don't have any business cards or model release forms just a very small quiet none professional looking compact with a 35mm f2.8 lens that has no auto focus or auto wind on.

    P.S I don't do this with children the way things are nowadays, but avoid them at all costs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2010
  22. Dave Ludwig

    Dave Ludwig Member

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    There are many skills you can learn and create to work in the street and get the shots. I find it actually easier with LF cameras as the shutters are very quiet and you can appear to setting up. Once that camera comes up to your face it is too late. If shooting 35 and you remove your view finder and allow the camera to hang down taking shots with a long cable release into your pocket looking throught the top of the camera. You need to think of ways to make yourself blend in. When all else fails ambush them however you can then stand your ground. If the ask tell them you are from a newspaper and don't forget to tell them to have a nice day.
     
  23. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    The Rolleiflex does quite well in this context, the finder is nice and shutter very quiet. Most looks I get (from other people, usually my "victim" does not even notice the camera) are amused and/or puzzled by the camera.
     
  24. amuderick

    amuderick Member

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    I shoot a Polaroid 360 with Fuji pack film. I gift the print and keep the negative. It is a hybrid process but it works and people are thrilled.
     
  25. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    What amazes me about "Street" is even if my victims notice me quite often, they pretend they haven't.
     
  26. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    ...and taking it one level further: we, the photographers, pretend that we didn't notice that we were, for that brief moment, being noticed. :D