I used a Mamya TLR in Manhattan on a number of occasions with no problem. Most times no one even knows what you are doing and probably thinks you are a weirdo, best avoided. When I used a Nikon 35mm with a 70-300 zoom lens, I had no end of glares and gestures. People knew you were pointing at them. My favorite antagonist was a drugged-out street bookseller who was not even in the vaguest direction I was shooting, yelling at me not to take pictures of him for the FBI.... If I did it again, it would be TLR all the way.
firecracker. I spent two weeks in Okazaki and Tokyo a few years ago, and took a fair number of photos of people. Many of them cut me a great deal of slack when they saw my Kowa 6x6. Perhaps they thought it was a gun, and they were simply petrified, but my impression was that they respected serious photography in a way that has disappeared in the west. At temples and other tourist sites I couldn't move for old codgers offering me the use of their tripods. My advice would be to be open and straightforward, and look serious about what you're doing. Sneaking about just attracts the wrong sort of attention.
Struan, thanks for your input. I just have to make extra effort for that. Maybe I'm just too influenced by the media in a way; indeed I get scared to take pictures of people sometimes, which I never felt when I was in other countries like the U.S. some European countries (Germany, Austria, etc) in the past.
Originally Posted by Struan Gray
It really seems like I'd better use a big SLR or something equivalent to that size rather than a small and quiet P&S, which might lead some people to think it's a spy camera of some sort. Or a classic camera would be a good choice for that.
Les, I'm all for the rights of the photographer to take photos in public places, but I too have confronted someone who was taking unauthorised photos of my child at play. If you wish to take photos of my child, wander over and ask for permission first. By simply doing that you will show that you're not a pederast, are a photgrapher, and think my kid is something special.
Originally Posted by Les McLean
Originally Posted by gbroadbridge
Fair comment Graham, but no one was photographing the child.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
The majority of my work is straight from the streets (you can see some of that in the montage Calm Before the Storm - be forewarned that it is not dial-up internet friendly). My family and I would head to New Orleans for a bite to eat and to just hang out...that's when I would work.
In the many years that I have photographed in this manner (shooting then explaining what I do), I have never had a problem. I remember asking on one occasion and politely being told by the young man that he would 'prefer' that I not make a photo of him. I respected his request.
I think (for me) it's a personal thing in how (not just what) you photograph. I'm comfortable working in the street and people have always been comfortable with me. I've even approached individuals that I've seen sitting on front porches, told them what I do, why I want to photograph them (it helps when I give them my business card) and sometimes (if I need to bribe ) I offer them a print as a gift in exchange. Just a thought!
Dorothy, if I saw *you* taking photos of kids at a playground, I certainly would not give it a second thought.
If I saw Les leaning over the fence snapping shots, I'd probably get concerned.
Notice here the language I used, you're taking photographs, but poor old Les is leaning over the fence snapping shots.
That is how it would be reported in the papers, or to the police when someone complained.
If you want to take kiddie shots in public places, it helps if you're a woman :-)
I have no problem making photographs of buskers/street performers etc, I chuck a quid in their hat, show them the camera and always get a friendly nod and smile of 'ok'.
The reaction to making photographs of Joe Public on the other hand, in this modern paranoia riddled world can range from a friendly smile to physical injury, so I don't do it.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Bear in mind that various countries have laws that differ from your home country. In practice, that might not be a problem, but from a strictly legal point of view you might sometimes walk on very thin ice with candid shots of strangers.
For example here in Germany, it would of course be okay to make photographs of a street performer. Painting one's face and hands silver, stepping on a box and acting like a robot clearly implies that you want attention and the "risk" of photographs. Making shots of the people watching this performer, however, is something completely different. Using a wide lens and doing an overview kind of shot of the whole scene would be okay. Picking one or a couple of people for your shot would (strictly speaking) be completely illegal. As soon as a picture is centered around a person, i.e. the shown person is the main object of the photograph, you would need permission.
I know that in most situations this is purely hypothetical, but just imagine you made that wonderful shot inside the crowded underground car and upload it to your online gallery. What you didn't know was that next to John Doe in the fourth row on the left was sitting his lover, Joanna Public, her head resting on his shoulders. Two month later, John's wife browses the gallery, whoops!
Don't want to be a spoil sport - I love street photography, just wanted to mention possible legal trouble. It's rare, admitted, but technically possible.
Graham, my response was directed to the original post in this thread, not to the answers. I explained how I work.
While it may sometimes be easier for me to approach people because I'm a woman...there is less concern that my motives may be inappropriate...I cringe at being cubbyholed as another woman doing kid photography. I make photographs of people in the street most of which is NOT of children.
If I saw a man or a woman for that matter leaning over the fence "snapping shots," I'd probably get concerned as well.
I recognize that laws vary from locale to locale, as does the interpretation of those laws. There are those here in the States who interpret our privacy laws as you've represented them to be in Germany. For most of my street photography, I ask permission, which trumps that interpretation.
Oh, and Ralf...as for John Doe and Joanna Public, if they didn't want to get "caught" by Mrs. Doe, they shouldn't have been prancing around in public together with their affair. I believe they call that 'adultery'.