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Author Topic: Etiquette of Street Photography  (Read 17723 times)

MarkB

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2012, 05:55:35 PM »
Quote
Just today I read a website article that street photographers in the USA are being increasingly hassled by police, who have been requested by the Dept of Homeland Security to be vigilant of street photographers for concern that they are terrorists casing a site targeted for attack.  If a cop is nearby and if you are shooting anything that could be construed as a "threat" to national security (which could be very widely and subjectively interpreted), it may be prudent to ask the cop if it is okay to take shots.  This is what I did last weekend in the NYC financial district and the cop was cool with it.  I was taking shots of the NY Fed building.

I would also recommend you be very aware of taking photos if there is a military installation anywhere nearby.  They provide very strict training for employees to be on the lookout and report people with cameras.  There are so many military installations it is sometimes easy to be unaware, or in many cases, some interesting visuals (planes/ships) are a big draw.  I am not sure what their legal rights are relative to the police, but I would guess they are going to err on the side of caution and question you pretty thoroughly.  Just food for thought.


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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2012, 05:55:35 PM »

Stu_bert

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2012, 07:29:53 PM »
it varies a lot
I never take pictures of someone's face.  I focus on the action and not the people.
It also varies from country to country.  In the US, I think most won't care and if you are confronted you apologize and if need be offer to delete the photo.
In Japan, no problem at all.
Some Latin countries, DO NOT DARE TAKE PICTURES OF CHILDREN without permission.  Unless, you are in the mood for a fist fight.  Literally, villagers will come down and beat you.
England, cops might want to see your DSLR and might go through your pictures. 
Something to consider, if you want to focus on people, is a long lens.

In UK the police have no rights to view your images unless they believe a crime is being committed. Normal photography should not attract such a response in a public place (nor do they have rights to impound your gear). Things have improved a lot based on public & media complaints but alas the private security firms have no proper education and work on FUD....
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spaced

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2012, 07:39:41 PM »
Thank you so much to all who replied - I'm finally able to give karma, so +1 to all!

The responses have been fantastic and there is definitely a lot of food for thought - thanks for all the useful links too!

I like the advice to smile - I would agree that a smile should diffuse most situations - as does looking natural and relaxed.

And I particularly liked distant star's "who the hell are you?" card idea - I may give that one a go!

I'm not so paranoid about police - I'm in central london which is quite touristy and the people are colourful - I just don't know what I would say in case I'm asked why I'm taking peoples photographs.

****
On a side note, I used to live opposite a pub, and subsequently managed to capture some fantastic shots of late night punch-ups and people vomiting on the street(!)

Unfortunately those images are currently on a corrupted hard drive, but assuming I ever get round to recovering the images, would I be allowed to for example use them as part of a portfolio or otherwise publish them in any way?

What are the ethical and legal implications of publishing street photos where the people are potentially identifiable?

****
On another side note - I just watched the video of Bruce Gilden linked by passerby - omg! I would love to be able to do that!

Incidentally the link didn't work (black screen), but this link works:
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« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 07:51:47 PM by spaced »

squarebox

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2012, 08:13:54 PM »
I'm not 100% sure of this, but you might want to check with local laws as well.

I get the impression that in Japan you have to get permission from people specifically in the photo.  Though it may just be more a politeness thing than steadfast rule, but almost single picture I see in japan has people's faces blurred out.  Sometime the entire picture is blurred out and makes me wonder what was the point of showing this picture at all.
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Hillsilly

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2012, 08:48:43 PM »
On the legal issue, in most civilised places around the world, you can take a photograph of someone in a public place, publish the photo and sell that photograph without the consent of the people in the photo.

However, if you take a photograph for a commercial purpose (which generally means using the photograph to market or advertise something other the photograph itself) and you don't have consent (ideally a written model release form), you could be liable for damages.  The damages would generally be the financial loss suffered by the subject.  This could be the income you earned from the photograph.  It could be a reasonable modelling fee.  You would be liable for more damages if the use of the photograph led to emotional distress, injured their reputation etc.  For example, you used the photograph to advertise your local adult shop.

No sane person would start a legal action if there was no prospect of reasonable damages (unless you really annoyed them).  Therefore, you just have to be worried about the defamation side.  The good news is that you control this risk by deciding how to use the photo.

FYI, stock photography sites will require you to hold model release forms.

Also, there are a lot of landmarks around the world that will require you to have authorisation if you want to take photos for commercial use.  Otherwise you might face copyright problems.

Therefore, from a legal perspective, generally if you do it for fun, or to sell the photographs you take, there's no real problems.  If you have identifiable landmarks, or use the photos in advertising or promotion, you should have approval. 

Different people have different views on the ethical issues.  I always have reservations about uploading photos, but I'm not really into street photography and I'm very privacy conscious.  Whereas my sister uploads page after page of random people.  She's probably got half of Australia on there.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 09:22:05 PM by Hillsilly »
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gmrza

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2012, 10:20:14 PM »


Also, there are a lot of landmarks around the world that will require you to have authorisation if you want to take photos for commercial use.  Otherwise you might face copyright problems.

Therefore, from a legal perspective, generally if you do it for fun, or to sell the photographs you take, there's no real problems.  If you have identifiable landmarks, or use the photos in advertising or promotion, you should have approval. 

That is another entirely different can of worms - the concept about whether somebody (be they a natural person or some other legal entity) can "own" a view.  The Sydney harbour foreshore immediately comes to mind as one of the most controversial cases. - Just to explain for the non-Australians here, any professional photography of landmarks on the Sydney harbour foreshore requires a permit, and amateurs with "professional looking" equipment are often harassed.
These restrictions start to become ridiculous when you consider that I could take an awesome photo of the Opera House with a 600D, and then sell it as a stock image in South Africa, and I doubt the SHFA would ever be the wiser.
Quote

Different people have different views on the ethical issues.  I always have reservations about uploading photos, but I'm not really into street photography and I'm very privacy conscious.  Whereas my sister uploads page after page of random people.  She's probably got half of Australia on there.

I have to admit, from the other perspective, given that we are all potential street photography subjects, I always conduct myself in a way, when I am in public, so that I would have no problem (with the exception of possible self image issues - but that is my problem) with a photo being exhibited or published.
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mortadella

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2012, 12:38:04 AM »
Anyone try these lens skins to turn their white teles black and a little more discreet?  If nothing else might make you feel more comfortable.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/832736-REG/LensSkins_LS_C70200X3FB_Lens_Skin_for_the.html

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2012, 12:38:04 AM »

quaz8r

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2012, 10:56:53 AM »
Great read....Street photography is one of the hardest things a photographer can do.  I had a photo project to do last year for my digital photo class that required to take pictures of ten strangers.  Many of the students in my class failed because the photos could not be of anyone you know of a friend/family knows.  This one girl just walked through a call center and took pictures of people in their cubicle.  I was really stressed out about this assignment and waited until I just had a few days to complete the assignment.  I was on vacation in Phoenix, AZ in the spring time and went to a Spring Training game.  There were a lot of people with cameras and I just let it fly.  I concentrated on taking kids and families enjoying there time at a baseball game.  I did get some looks from people as my camera was not pointed out onto the field.  After the first few shots I became comfortable with what I was doing.  I did have a few people ask me what I was doing and I honestly told them that I am a photo major completing an assignment on 10 strangers.

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2012, 11:26:37 AM »
With face recognition coming or already here on search engines, posting images online will bring a lot of  lawsuits.  It is possible to find the offender if the offended person is willing to spend the effort and money.

It may also be easy for a stalker to track down someone that he becomes attracted to from the image, so that is a very serious concern. 

Most online sites like Flickr are for profit ventures, meaning that they make money from advertising.  That probably constitutes using a image for profit, and is sure to be tested in court, and just the attorney's fees to defend a lawsuit would be very expensive.  A takedown notice will likely get you suspended from Flicker as well.

Be smart, have a release form before posting.  There are smart phone apps for that.  Many subjects will be flattered if you ask, if they are not, just delete the image.  Be aware that 5 years from now, they may come knocking with a court subpoena.  Those images sometimes take on a life of their own.

ghosh9691

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2012, 11:35:01 AM »
A DSLR is not the ideal camera for street photography. Can it be done? Sure! But it is just too big and bulky and does not allow a photographer to be discreet. No wonder then that the Leica is still the king of street photography - and similar cameras (Fuji X-series, Sony NEX, Olympus PEN, etc.) will be better suited to such a pursuit...

Just my $0.02 worth...

ghosh9691

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2012, 02:35:59 PM »
A DSLR is not the ideal camera for street photography. Can it be done? Sure! But it is just too big and bulky and does not allow a photographer to be discreet. No wonder then that the Leica is still the king of street photography...
Actually, I would like to get a Leica for this reason.  I was talking to a guy with Leica M9 who told me that his kids, who shoot Canon DSLRs with large glass, get barraged by tourists to take their shots while he goes unnoticed with the Leica.  He let me play with the camera and it feels good in the hand.

The problem with the M9 is: cost, poor high ISO performance, and lack of lenses :-). When I say lack of lenses, I do not mean that there are no good lenses - the Leica M lenses are the best in their focal length range, but not easily available. Since all of this is hand built, one often waits for a long time for a lens to become available and on eBay, competition can be fierce!

I am hoping that the M10 (rumored: Photokina 2012) will have much better high ISO performance (possibly Sony CMOS sensor) and their mirror-less solution with an APS-C sensor and using R series lenses at a lower price point will make these cameras available to all street photographers.

But, there is always the Sony NEX-7, Olympus PEN and Fuji X-Pro 1 to look at for street photography - just need really good lenses for them...

But till then, my little Leica D-Lux 5 works well on the street with my Canon 5D2 covering other duties including extreme low light :)


AprilForever

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2012, 03:00:09 PM »
A DSLR is not the ideal camera for street photography. Can it be done? Sure! But it is just too big and bulky and does not allow a photographer to be discreet. No wonder then that the Leica is still the king of street photography...
Actually, I would like to get a Leica for this reason.  I was talking to a guy with Leica M9 who told me that his kids, who shoot Canon DSLRs with large glass, get barraged by tourists to take their shots while he goes unnoticed with the Leica.  He let me play with the camera and it feels good in the hand.

The problem with the M9 is: cost, poor high ISO performance, and lack of lenses :-). When I say lack of lenses, I do not mean that there are no good lenses - the Leica M lenses are the best in their focal length range, but not easily available. Since all of this is hand built, one often waits for a long time for a lens to become available and on eBay, competition can be fierce!

I am hoping that the M10 (rumored: Photokina 2012) will have much better high ISO performance (possibly Sony CMOS sensor) and their mirror-less solution with an APS-C sensor and using R series lenses at a lower price point will make these cameras available to all street photographers.

But, there is always the Sony NEX-7, Olympus PEN and Fuji X-Pro 1 to look at for street photography - just need really good lenses for them...


Or a 7D!
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briansquibb

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2012, 03:23:07 PM »
Not my best - but taken with 1d4+400 f/2.8 just to show a Leica isn't needed
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 03:45:18 PM by briansquibb »

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2012, 03:23:07 PM »

AprilForever

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2012, 04:11:28 PM »
Not my best - but taken with 1d4+400 f/2.8 just to show a Leica isn't needed

Love it! Three cheers for iconoclasm!!!
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ghosh9691

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2012, 04:14:13 PM »
Not my best - but taken with 1d4+400 f/2.8 just to show a Leica isn't needed

That is not the point. Street photography can be done with any camera - some are just more suited to it than others. A DSLR is much more noticeable and much more intimidating, particularly in close quarters.

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Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2012, 04:14:13 PM »