Okay, you've dragged me back in. I agree about Hopi reservations, aboriginal lands and more: for example, I've seen disgraceful behaviour at Losar celebations (Tibetan New Year) and at the burning ghats on the Ganges.
I'd also agree about most solemn occasions, unless the main players WANT you to photograph it: a friend recently said after the event that he wished I'd photographed his mother's funeral (I had a camera with me but left it in the car -- I didn't even want to be seen carrying a camera at such a solemn occasion). This comes back to Helen's point that you can't have 'one size fits all'.
But when it comes to the primitive peoples of the affluent west who have in the last 10 to 20 years decided that they don't want their souls stolen by the photographer with his magic box, I think it's pitiful.
As for a model release, it can be worded to protect both parties (with a limited release) but as a contract it is worthless without valuable consideration.
Finally, how 'informed' is 'informed consent'? It's next to impossible to work with a translator hanging around all the time -- I know, I've tried it in China -- but unlike Aggie I can't always muster enough of the local language to talk to prospective subjects: I'm just not that good at the following languages (in alphabetical order, for some of the places I've been in the last 20 years): Bengali, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Flemish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Kannada, Maltese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Tamil, Tibetan and Turkish. That's before you start on the dialects...
Very interesting thread.
Personally, I find it uncomfortable to be photographed on the street, but, and this is the big one, if I want to photograph in public, (which most of us do), such as old farm houses, sunsets, or buildings from public property then I think it is rather two faced of us to complain about being photographed by street photographers.
And as an aside, being a 6 foot 3 inch gweilo in Hong Kong it is almost impossible to do unnoticed street photography (not that I have been much into it)..... I'm too damn obvious
When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. Oscar Wilde Blog fp4.blogspot.com
Some posts have talked about ethics and I was one. I'll retract what I said earlier and restate it this way: There is nothing inherently unethical in shooting people in public places. Ethics is an almost impossible variable to place in this conversation. Is it ethical to shoot people who may or may not wish to be shot? Is it ethical to shoot people without asking? If the answers are true, is it ethical to write about them is it ethical to talk about them, illustrate them or in any way describe them? Photographs can be far more revealing than words and most illustrations. Is the degree with which a photograph can describe so great that it requires special consideration?
It is obvious that an argument could be made that the power of photography is so great that to deny that power would be a shame if not wrong.
I prefer to approach it differently. It is better to always assume the best from others. Even though we all know there are more than a few bozo's walking the streets with cameras (guns, knives, clubs, infectious diseases, uncontrolled anger, bad gas, volatile stomachs and on and on).
If It is also better to assume that one person's desire for privacy is the equal to anothers desire for exploration. What is a genteel society to do? Make one behavior acceptable and the other not? If that is the case I'll side with the explorer, even though it gives free reign to the bozo. I suspect that society will harvest a greater benefit.
This is all said in the abstract. We don't live in a genteel society. We live in an extremely diverse environment which is often mean spirited, competitive, and suspicious. This leads me back to the beginning. Should I be upset if my picture is taken and should I worry that the person in my shot might not wish to be photographed? My thoughts are that we live in a free society each of us can go a long way toward achieving our goals. Wear a hat, carry a camera and hope that your mother taught you well.
Ahen I am out in public, I would prefer to be warned that my photo is being taken so that I can put some clothes on.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
I am not really nuts about having my photo taken, but that's just because I'm not really nuts about how I look! So, if I looked better, I'd probably be like my little nieces who clamber about squealing "take my picture, take my picture!" But they are adorable, and I well... you see my avatar... it is a self-portrait. I suppose it's not too bad it I'm in a shot as part of the rest of the herd, but alone... not so much.
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First off, one or two people isn't everyone. Secondly, my face and body is mine to do with as I please and it doesn't please me to have strangers having photos of me, especially when I don't know in what way it's being used. People's likenesses are often used to represent something negative. If you want to hold someone up as an example of something negative go find yourself another victim. I have a right not to be your joke, your negative example.
Your assumption of me being ashamed is wrong. Perhaps you shouldn't make such assumptions when you really have nothing to base it on but a desire to make an argument.
Perhaps you shouldn't make assumptions at all if you can't do better than this. I wasn't trying to make an argument. Why would I want to do that?
First, I was trying to point out the inconsistency of wanting to take street pictures and not wanting to be photographed, which is a form of hypocrisy.
Second, I was trying to find out others' views -- some of which, I have to say, I find shocking and depressing, but hey, that's the internet.
Do we all get a cut when you write your article based on our replies?
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
I am not ashamed to be photographed. I am amazingly handsome and people want to photograph me all the time. I get stopped on the street by total strangers who tell me how beautiful I am and how they want to take my picture.
No, it's other peoples' views.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks