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  1. #41
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    - the fact is, most people are suspicious of photographers and don't want to be photographed. For me at least, this is the deciding factor and the reason why, as I said, I have crossed street photography off my agenda.

    Regards,

    David
    David, my experience when photographing people in the street suggest that your comment above is incorrect. For the past 10 years I have led a very successful street photography workshop in Brighton and have had very few refusals when members of the public have been asked if they would mind being the subject of a photograph. I've found that once engaged in conversation the majority relax and happily go about their business and are oblivious of the camera. Certainly there are occasions when people refuse and provided the photographer graciously accepts the refusal no harm is done. I've also done the same workshop in various parts of the USA withthe same results. In May this year at the APUG Conference I took 24 APUGERS on the streets of Toronto for a few hours and we had a very successful time, proving to me at least that willingness to be photographed is not confined to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of dear old Brighton.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
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    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  2. #42
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    In fact, you're asking the wrong people here, Roger, as photographers are notoriously camera shy,

    My comments about HCB were based on things I've read and an excellent video taken some years shortly before his death (which I saw twice). Yes he often 'shot from the hip', but he didn't always, and even when he did there was often some sort of interaction going on - perhaps afterwards, which can be just as important as before. He expressed some regret, in fact, for the idea of 'stolen moments' (though perhaps that shouldn't be taken too deeply).
    HCB was indeed successful in keeping the world at large ignorant of his appearance. There is an apocryphal tale of the well-known British photojournalist Bert Hardy covering a news event and seeing another photographer using the trick popular with HCB of covering his camera with his handkerchief. "Oo do you fink you are, bleedin' Cartier-Bresson?" asked Bert. It turned out the person he was addressing was - HCB.

    Regards,

    David

  3. #43

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    Dear Stargazer,

    Respect must indeed be required, at least when appropriate (again I except e.g. politicians), but HCB was something of a poseur in some ways: a rich kid who had to intellectualize his work.

    I can understand people not wanting to have their picture taken; what I can't understand is the intellectual dishonesty which then adds 'but it's OK to photograph other people'. If I want to photograph other people -- or just street scenes that have people in them -- then there is an implicit contract that I am in my turn available (even if unwillingly) to be photographed.

    What really worries me is that there are countless photographs from the last 100+ years that illuminate the human condition (to use a somewhat pretentious phrase) AND connect us to our history. Refusing to photograph people in the street/accepting that you can't/refusing to be photographed is one more step in the atomisation of society.

    Street photography really does seem to me to be a force for good, a tool for understanding others and (which is at least as important) sympathising with them. Banning it -- which is, as I say, what people are saying when they assert some sort of 'right not to be photographed' -- seems to me fraught with danger.

    Cheers,

    Roger
    Last edited by Roger Hicks; 06-25-2006 at 06:05 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: rhetoric

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    HCB was indeed successful in keeping the world at large ignorant of his appearance. There is an apocryphal tale of the well-known British photojournalist Bert Hardy covering a news event and seeing another photographer using the trick popular with HCB of covering his camera with his handkerchief. "Oo do you fink you are, bleedin' Cartier-Bresson?" asked Bert. It turned out the person he was addressing was - HCB.

    Regards,

    David
    I woudn't disagree with that - the most abiding image I have from the video is when he showed how he held his camera in his hand, it was small enough to be held completely and unnoticeably.

    He didn't always work completely incognito though - and would relate to people AFTER the shot at times, depending, certainly on the place/subject etc.

    All I'm saying is, even with HCB there is more to it than meets the eye.

  5. #45

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    Hi Roger,

    Your reply came when I was writing mine. (You've started something here!)

    I just can't see the logical step you make... (or rather to me, the illogical one )

    Having read Les McLean's post above - why can't you have your cake and eat it? I don't see why asking permission shoud kill street photography, even the spontaneity of street photography.

    I agree that testimony of our times is important but - not everbody wants to be part of yours, and I really don't think that's a big deal. You don't have to assume that because some people don't like it, nobody will.

    Another important point is that if photogrphers continue to photograph without being sensitive to the wishes of their subjects then the general public will get less tolerant of it, not more. Someone who discovers their photograph has been taken and objects is far less likely to allow it in future, than if they had been approached in some way.

    If we are not to eventually have privacy laws as stringent as those in France, I do think it's important to face these issues responsibly and sensitively.

    Best wishes

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer

    If we are not to eventually have privacy laws as stringent as those in France, I do think it's important to face these issues responsibly and sensitively.
    Absolutely! All I am saying is that there are times when it is impossible to take a given picture if you have to ask permission first, or where you have to ask permission of all in the picture. Some of these pictures will do a lot for understanding and sympathy, or will show us a parallel with our own lives; they should be taken.

    Also, what if you are somewhere you do not speak the language? I note that this has been, to date, principally what the French call an 'Anglo-Saxon' thread (UK/USA, with a few Canadians).

    France is bizarre. Outside Paris and a few tourist-traps, these draconian laws are a dead letter: people are astonished that they even exist, and shrug and say, "What do you expect of Parisians?" Everywhere else in Europe that I've taken pictures, the vast majority of people regard it, as I have said, as a bit of a lark. Why are 'les anglo-saxons' (and les parisiens) so paranoid?

    But then, as they say of incomers in Brittany, buying second homes, 'mieux un anglais qu'un parisien' (better an Englishman than a Parisian).

    Cheers,

    Roger

  7. #47
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    Holy "way too much thinking" batman!

    Since I was 12, I'd say I've been taking images of people on the street - both with 'cowardly' and 'in your face' lenses - and it's all been a pretty good experience.

    Some articles to make you go hmmmm....:
    NY Times: The Theatre of the Street Article
    Washington Post: Catch Not Release
    Cyber Speak: New Digital Camera? Know how, where to use it
    Montreal Mirror: Shot without consent
    The Supreme Court of Canada considers the right to privacy and freedom of artistic expression

    Happy picture taking, Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  8. #48
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Just to introduce a practical note - among the series I mentioned in an earlier post was this picture, which I shot without the subjects' knowledge and without malicious intent of any kind (using approx. 70 mm zoom setting on 35 mm). I was interested by the tension within the arrangement of the group, the dedication which the man had obviously shown in acquiring his tatoos, and the stylistic contrast between the rustic insouciance of the man's rear end and the classic elegance of his partner.

    I later entitled it "At The Zoo," hoping to indicate a further slightly satirical dimension and raise the questions "Who is actually in the zoo? Who is looking at whom?" etc. By shooting from behind, I furthered this aim and also (I hoped) obviated the need for model releases. Part of the reason I gave up street photography was the knowledge that I would in future have to pass up picture opportunities such as this one (or at least give up any idea of selling the results) because of potential clients' worries about the legal situation. Various potential buyers showed interest in the picture but declined it for this reason.

    I therefore felt that to continue to do street photography would not only run the risk of offending people (which I genuinely do not wish to do) but also (and quite frankly, more importantly) force me to work in an artistic straitjacket where I constantly have to consider legal factors, which for me is simply more trouble than it is worth!
    Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 07-23-2007 at 04:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #49

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    Dear Art,

    Thanks for the links. I'd be very nervous of the model release without valuable consideration, though: 'valuable consideration' (even if only nominal value, e.g. one penny) is required in all jurisdictions of which I am aware, because a model release is a contract.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  10. #50

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    Dear David,

    I'd say, with my LL.B. hat on, that a title like that would greatly increase your chances of being sued. YOU knew what you meant: HE might take it differently.

    Cheers,

    Roger



 

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