Mr. Blansky you make a very good point. I know that I personally feel really uncomfortable and even embarrassed taking out my camera in a street (read public)atmosphere and taking pictures. It is something that I am trying to get over. I think part of my early draw to being a photographer is that I can behind that camera and not in front of it.
[COLOR=DarkOliveGreen][SIZE=2]"We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown". Hunter S. Thompson[/SIZE][/COLOR]
The Fear Thing
There may be cases where "fear" of doing a different style of work comes into play. Many people prefer to stay within their personal "comfort zones". Others constantly venture out into new, unexplored (by them) territory. Even if they aren't particularly good at the new thing, they enjoy the trip.
My observation has been that different jobs require different personality types to do the job well. The will-writing lawyer probably doesn't have the personality needed to be a go-for-the-throat courtroom crusader. I think different photographic styles fall into the same sort of category. So, while I think it's good to stretch, to push one's personal envelope, it's also good to recognize one's own personality type, and be happy with that.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
Interesting how this thread is progressing and a quick thank you for your contributions, hopefully we will see more opinions coming in. This is what happens when I get thoughtful watching the world whilst my negatives are drying.
Reading through the [color=indigo]Reason and Use[/color] seems to be the main points. I hadn't considered the Cartier-Bresson quote which Stephen posted even though I'm familiar with it. Although would a landscape photographer consider shooting something which might be considered a story if they fell over it? One story of an accident was published in the local paper shot on medium format as it was a fashion photographer driving past a few minutes after the accident happend.
I feel that in a small way that honour is still alive and displayed by people here, which is theoretically a good sample of people throughout the globe. I say that because in many cases it appeasrs we would only use the pictures for the reason that they would possibly help to bring about change or intervention.
I hadn't considered the idea of get the shot and then decide if it can be used positively. But then as Michael (Blansky) points out I'd need those "virtually silent rangefinders" to get them without intrusion which I don't.
Michael I would (and have) walk away if I thought it the pictures would just be a for a few Pounds / Dallars / Euro's in my pocket. Fear doesn't come into the equation as I've been through so many dangerous things in life. I get a kick out of shooting demonstrations and riots ... blame 4 years in the police for that, but a very valid question never the less.
I still wouldn't take the shots of the relatives tending the childrens graves though, as there is no valid reason to from my perspective.
Last edited by TPPhotog; 11-07-2004 at 04:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Missed a bit
Jeanette what you did here was beautiful
I'm out of my comfort zone with street shoots which is one of the reasons I do them. I enjoy the challenge and recording local life if for no other reason than the fact of capturing it. Reportage is different for me though as there is usually a reason and I have the magic words that means people let me get on with shooting where others may not be able to. They are Freelance and Herald (the local paper).
Originally Posted by Stephen J. Collier
Personally I tend to hide from reality based images. Photography is a happy place for me. I do have a lot of respect for the situations Journalist photographers put themselves into and admire their ability to accomplish heartfelt stories with their images but cannot do it myself. Recently my neices husband came home from Iraq part a marine contingent who had lost 17 of its group. I was there with camera in on my shoulder, saw shots everywhere I turned yet did not have the guts to invade their space.
I have no respect for papparazzi and would never photograph sex.
Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!
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Thomas in this situation I would have taken the shots and had them over to the newsroom at the earliest I could. Here for me I see moral value in reporting the returning troops and the consequences of our boys and girls doing their bit. So for me I wouldn't have thought twice about getting the pictures, in fact my thoughts would be the best lens to use.
Originally Posted by Thomassauerwein
Are there images I would not photograph? Certainly!!
That decision would be based on the photograph's effect ... I have *no* desire to destroy someone's effort to cope with the death of a loved one by showing a photograph of the blood and gore at an automobile wreck, as an example.
Being involved with nude photography,there are inevitably the images that are inappropriate - I think that is the best way to describe them ... those that would lead to a degradation of the subject. My contact sheets have a few "Ks" across some of the images.
There are many others ... the idea that Paparazzi are insensitive, unfeeling vicious mercenaries is a typical incorrect stereotype ... I know of many images that have not been taken, because of their potential harm.
Anther "class" I would not do would be Pornography linking sex to violence... Or glamorizing violence - or having anything to do with something on the order of the anti-semitic Nazi propaganda.
Briefly, my photography is an extension of my own "being" and my morals apply to my work as well as every other part of what I do.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
while i have felt "uncomfortable" photographing lots of things, but, i have somehow made it through, and gotten the image in the camera, and if asked to told to shoot the same or a similar situation, i would do it again, no questions asked. i dunno, maybe you take all that nervous energy & adrenaline and use it as fuel to get outside of yourself and get the picture.
for example ...
almost 2 years ago i was sent to photograph the remains of nightclub fire where 100 people perished and hundreds were hospitalized. maybe you have heard of the station nightclub where great white played, and their pyro-show torched the whole building. that is a few miles away from where i live ... rhode island is a pretty small place, where everyone pretty much knows everyone. lots of people were there, or knew of people who were there at the show or were supposed to be at the show, so it was kind of scary to say the least. when i got there was kind of surreal (i was sent to the scene the next day), it was filled with fbi, state police, tv news & lots of people who were somehow involved or had friends/ family in the fire. i really didn't want to take photographs of any of it - the "officials" the heap of smoldering building, but if i could photograph that smell, i would have. it kind of made me want to puke --- i can still smell it and probably will for the rest of my life. after being there for maybe 1/2 hour i can't really explain what happened, but somehow i began to photograph what i could and submitted the work a few hours later.
i still drive by the site once in a while. it is filled with memorials ( 100 + of them) and it doesn't really smell anymore.
sorry, kind of got away from the question ...
there are things i *won't* photograph - smut or snuff.
I agree with rusty tripod.
I would NEVER photograph anything I consider immoral-or know to be illegal!-but my personal definition of "immoral" sometimes depends on the circumstances.
However,I would never photograph:
1.any accident with visible human or animal remains.
I think you've really got to the crux of the matter, here, Michael.
Originally Posted by blansky
When I took those pictures at the firehouse, I felt uneasy... I felt out of my element... I almost could not do it. Fear?? Yep... fear of intruding, fear of taking lousy pictures that did not do the moment justice, fear of offending the very people I wanted to honor.
I think there are many kinds of fear... I do not think I could photograph carnage...human or animal...fear is at the heart of it...it's a fear that my mental state would not survive it...it may be unfounded since I am a very strong individual, but the fear is there. The people here who say they could not photograph sex... I think the fear is there, too.
So I think that is what holds us to our 'comfort zone'...which is not always a bad thing!