I couldn't agree more with the above statement, Scooter. When one thinks of how laws are made, and how absurd some laws are, the legality of an action means next to nothing, ethically speaking.
Originally Posted by scootermm
So the real question remains: Was it ethical?
Well, that depends on your ethics. What are your ideals?
I have been struggling with this for a while, and I am starting to get some direction in this regard.
What I am doing is this: drop all your notions of right and wrong, legal and illegal, holy and sacrilegious, and start from scratch. Unfortunately, that ultimately results in questioning everything (and I do mean everything, existence and such).
I know... I have no life. Or rather, I live a very confused life.
But anyway, here is where I stand right now. I take anything harmful and consider it negative, or unethical.
So, if your photograph in anyway harms, or insults (and insults are indeed harmful) the owner of the store, I'd forget about it. In the end, we do not know what drove the woman to act as she did, and nothing good can come out of insulting her.
This reminds me of a quote by Albert Camus (I've been reading a lot of his work lately):
"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding." The Plague by Albert Camus.
In the end, we may be (and probably are) as ignorant as the old lady, and the best solution would be a mutual understanding, which in turn can only come out of humbleness (for you have to be able to admit that you are in the wrong, as must she).
I hope that this helps you sort it out some, instead of just confusing the matter further.
André Rosenbaum de Avillez.
I had a similar experience, but mine turned out oddly well! The picture I posted in the Critiques Gallery of the Twin Silos was taken at a farm close to where I live. I stopped down there one day and talked to a woman probably in her early 60s. I told her I took photos as a hobby and developed them in my own darkroom. She was VERY concerned that I was going to sell the pictures I took or that I was working for a realtor. I promised her this was not the case and said I would bring her prints of what I took pictures of. She begrudgingly let me take the pictures. She was NOT happy, and it was touch & go as to whether I was going to get to take those pictures.
Well, I went down there last night & took them an 8x10 of the silos & 2 5x7s of some other shots I got. You would have thought I was a long lost friend! They collect & restore old cars (Kaiser-Frazer???... always wondered what was in that barn) and they asked if I'd want to come & take pictures of the cars sometime. They also told me I could come back & take pictures any time I wanted to...now, I am like family!
So, Scooter, take the old lady a nice glossy print. See if that works.
take her the print but don't leave the business card.. she might send Jim-Bob around!
This reminds me I've got to print a couple of shots of an old building and petrol bowser (gas pump) to send to the owner. I pulled up across the road from this place as the old bowser was just next to the road. It was missing the front cover which showed the internal workings. I saw a guy in a workshop just near by so I wandered over to saw hello 1st and to formalise me taking pics of his bowser. He was working on something and I asked a few questions before asking it it was ok to take some pics of the bowser. He insisted on going down to the back shed and bringing up the front cover for me... He said he removed it cause otherwise someone would pinch it, which sadly, was probably right!
I've run into the same stuff a few times.
The most dangerous are when you're out at night, that's when peoples' fears really get wound up. I've veen out shooting old buildings at night and have had people come out to run me off, treaten to call the cops, etc. I just go ahead and take my picture and move on. One night in Mexico I was charged by a guy with a 3-foot machete painted red on the end. I passed up that photo.
Once in a county fair during the day, I was shooting crowd pictures (got a few intereting ones, too) and as a group of people were going by, I snapped the shutter (with a Leica M6, of all things). A guy somehow heard it and charged back at me accusing me of taking a picture of his girlfriend's rear-end. I was getting ready to get in a fight - I don't run unless you have a machete, that's my policy.
So, you run into all types who have all sorts of different fears and points of view, etc. You'll get over it.
I agree you shouldn't take be business card. You don't know who she has hiding in the attic.
My previous post on this thread notwithstanding, I have never been turned down when asking to take a picture. I am polite (hard to believe, I know), friendly and non-threatening. I was rebuffed once by a night watchman, when I had actually been given permission by the owners of the facility. The watchman told me he didn't know if I was a spy, or perhaps a terrorist, who wanted to sabotage the facility. The next week I told his boss about the conversation and was told to just come back again. I ended up getting the shots I wanted and gave copies to both the owner and the night watchman. Everyone was pleased.
One thing I have found to be very effective is reflective listening (I know, even harder to believe coming from me). Try using "Gee, it sounds like you are really......" and then prepare to get a long story by way of an explanation. It does help a lot and you may find out a great deal about someone's life and some things of value to go along with the picture you will get. It works for me.
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Originally Posted by noseoil
Several tears ago, I made a photograph of a scene (with house(s)) near my home after a snowstorm. Later, in the spring, I mounted a print and carried it around in the car for over a week before I found anyone home at the residence of issue. When I did, the woman said (essentially), “You made a photograph of my house without my knowledge? It’s not even all my house. Some of the neighbor’s house is in it too.” I told her to keep it, destroy it, or whatever she wanted. It wouldn’t be in National Geographic or Time magazine, so frankly Scarlet….
ONTOH, the abandoned farmhouse in my gallery was first made without the knowledge or permission of the landowner. However, when I visited them, they welcomed me with much warmth and made me feel very appreciated. They now have a 16x20 print over their new mantle in a house they recently renovated. They are the Lyons family and they are probably one of the last family farmers in the east – very nice people.
I also photograph Amish in southern Md. This is somewhat sensitive, as they are very private. However, I have never been chastised for photographing their farms or equipment. I have yet to try their children, as I believe they would resist. I try to respect personal privacy as much as possible. Sometimes this doesn’t work either if someone is begging for a conflict.
I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
Truly, dr bob.
I gotta say that you are lucky to have that experience. I would love to shoot the Amish world. Mostly because I think they get an unfair rap in our modern society. People think of them as backwards and freakish, when in reality they are just following certain religious principles. I'd love to be able to show the humanity that is behind the "tourist image."
Official Photo.net Villain
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]
Robert, it sounds like you are already half way there. If you were to approach a family with the intention of showing the dignity and respect they deserve in their everyday lives, I would bet that they might say yes. Try to find an activity where you would not be in the way (harvest time is busy but full of life, a roadside stand, etc.) and ask if you can take a few pictures. Use a simple camera (35mm?) with a long enough lens to stay out of the way and you may be accepted. It might take more than one attempt, but it would certainly be worth the effort.
They get a bad rap because of their looks and strong core beliefs. For all of their austerity, they have a wonderful sense of humor and candor. It's too bad they are judged as a "group" without knowing anything about them as people and the values they cling so strongly to. Perhaps if more people lived as they do the world would be a safer, simpler, more civil place in which to live.
Robert it would be a perfect project with those dry plates you want to do. The old cameras, and plate holders are not pretentious in todays world. They are basic and non electrical. Who knows you may inspire a few to try wet or dry plate photography.