Not so mad or irrational. I had a small test of my own convictions just recently. We took a trip to Paris a few weeks ago, and one evening we made some time to visit the galleries at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. My 6 yr old daughter, who loves to draw and often carries a small sketch notebook, quietly began to draw a still-life photo that was on display. The gallery was crowded, and at one point I noticed someone lurking behind a display intently watching my daughter and with a camera out and ready. I found myself instinctively moving in between them (on two occasions) to block the shot. That was all there was to it – he got the message and moved on, but it got me thinking. The photographer side of me recognized that it would have been a great shot, but that was overruled by present day concerns (which you also touch on) like where will this photo appear, and what will it really be used for. Odds are, it would have been destined for something innocuous, but as a parent do I want to take that chance?
Originally Posted by batwister
Perhaps more than anything else, this change in distribution channels plays a large part in people's attitudes towards things like street photography. In Winogrand's day (and before), the main distribution channels for (non journalism) photography were books, galleries and possibly magazines. Very narrow by today's standards, and only a very few made it into any of these venues. Contrast that to the present day where Flickr claimed that have over 6 billion photos uploaded in 2011. In 1965, a candid shot of you on the street would likely remain in a shoebox. In 2013, you will almost certainly be on display for all to see. Couple that with the fact that many feel increasingly powerless in all aspects of life, and people start to lash out.
I do quite a bit of street photography, and while I don't feel that I should have to justify or explain my actions to anyone, I am increasingly wary of who I photograph --I won't take one if I sense the subject doesn't want me to, and of course I'm careful not to photograph children. So, while I realize that I have the “right” to take a photograph in a public place, it does not mean I get to waive respect and courtesy to others (nor am I implying that Colberg or anyone here is suggesting otherwise). We are certainly living through interesting times.
Last edited by Jim Christie; 05-04-2013 at 01:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.