Question, Sir/ Madame--Shoul we take this kind of Photo ?

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
70
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
Dear Teachers and Dear Friends.
So many time that I must take the Street Photos of Homeless, Beggers---ETC, But the more I think, The more I worry , to invade their Private Space that they do not want us to take the shot.
What do you think, Sir/ Madame---We just walk away from that sad moment, and Be Happy in our situation ??
Thank you, Sir/ Madame.
Surapon
 

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Mar 2, 2015
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The answer requires you to answer more questions.
Is your photo art? As in did you use techniques to create a specific look or feeling?
Is your photo documentary in nature?
Is your photo a random shot in a public place?
What is the intent of your photo?
Will the photo get you financial compensation? If yes, will you compensate the individual?

If it is art, documentation or an accident and there is no intent of malice, then I see no ethical issue with it. -E-
 

fugu82

EOS RP
Mar 3, 2012
200
0
+1 to Brooklyn161's thoughtful response. And -1 to TW's gratuitous, nasty critique.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,192
1,774
Canada
surapon said:
Dear Teachers and Dear Friends.
So many time that I must take the Street Photos of Homeless, Beggers---ETC, But the more I think, The more I worry , to invade their Private Space that they do not want us to take the shot.
What do you think, Sir/ Madame---We just walk away from that sad moment, and Be Happy in our situation ??
Thank you, Sir/ Madame.
Surapon
To my way of thinking.... if you want to take a picture of a street person or a beggar, ASK THEM! and offer them money... Yes, the picture then becomes staged, but it becomes a staged picture of them doing what they were doing anyway and by asking/paying you help keep them afloat and you don't rob them of dignity....
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,192
1,774
Canada
surapon said:
Dear Teachers and Dear Friends.
So many time that I must take the Street Photos of Homeless, Beggers---ETC, But the more I think, The more I worry , to invade their Private Space that they do not want us to take the shot.
What do you think, Sir/ Madame---We just walk away from that sad moment, and Be Happy in our situation ??
Thank you, Sir/ Madame.
Surapon
What this picture says to me is "well dressed, clean new clothing, bag with luggage sticker, well groomed" It is probably a tired student, just off of a bus or train, and waiting for his ride home.....
 

monkey44

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 7, 2014
430
0
How do you know he is sad? Unhappy? Maybe just a student or a traveler resting, and smiling at his feet.

What is great about what we do - whether it's street photos or wildlife, or sports - our artistic expression allows the viewer to make those emotional connections without our interpretation. We should never presuppose those that view our art will draw the same conclusions or exhibit the same emotions as we do as artists and photographers when we shoot the image.

On the other hand, are we as artists and photographers good enough at what we do so that the viewer feels the same emotions or expressions as we intend? And is that even a requirement to claim that label... artist?
 

takesome1

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 23, 2013
1,490
122
98
Licking, Missouri
It is an ethical question, how far do we stay away from wildlife? Ethical photographers do not get close enough to disturb the wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife and alter their habitat to get a picture. Ethical photographers do not disturb wildlife's breeding habits.

With people there are no such rules. If they are in public for all to see you can photograph them no matter their state. You can pay them to alter their behavior. I have even heard of people paying street people to fight so they could video it.

Choose your ethics, I choose mine.

This weekend I sat at the feeder and food plots, trying to lure turkeys in with decoys and calls. Ethical or not? None were hurt.

I find it repulsive when a photographer invades the space of a poor individual for a shot that they consider "art" or a shot they think brings out some "emotion". The person is violated in his poverty and condition. If you go live with those individuals for a while, tell their story then maybe you have "art", include a few shots of you sleeping under a bridge and you have my respect. Go down to skid row and get a few shots as you walk down the street then go to your 3 bed, 2 bath home and PP on your new MacPro and I say you have taken shots that are self serving garbage.
 

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
70
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
THOUSAND THANKS, my dear Teachers and Dear Friends.
Wow, Thanks for the Great Answers, which I have learn from you. And All your Answers and Comments that make you think---Very hard.
No Sir, I will not do it again, to invade their Privacy although in the public space, Which if I were in that Situation, I do not want any one to take my Picture too.
Yes, Sir, I always Give the money to the homeless People on the Street too, In my home town, 75% of them are the Veteran , in Vietnam war or Middle East War, I go to talk to them, Give them Money, And advice them to go to County Social Service Department, Where have the Federal Money, Job Training and Drug Rehab for all of them, Include Food stamp, and Free Shelter. But, I never take the photos of that HERO , who in the Trouble.
Yes, Sir/ Madame, I know this Dept. So Well, because I am Architect and Design These New Dept. Building 6 Of them in North Carolina. Yes I must know the Function of Dept. Of Social Services before I design.
Yes, Dear Teachers and Friends, If I have any questions and I do not know any thing, I can ask you, and Get the Best Answers.
Thanks again, Sir/ Madame.
Surapon.
 

sanj

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 22, 2012
3,219
82
I feel that it is unethical for a photographer not to photograph something he/she feels is interesting - visually or content wise.
 

takesome1

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 23, 2013
1,490
122
98
Licking, Missouri
Surapon

You are within your rights to take the pictures in public places.

It is a ethical or moral decision whether you should.
In the end it is within yourself that you make the decision.
 

jdramirez

EOS 5D MK IV
May 31, 2011
2,944
0
42
From my perspective, I have no qualms about photographing someone else's emotion... I like the raw realness of emotion...

That's not to say I am good at getting it... But I much prefer that over landscapes, architecture, or posed shots...
 

agierke

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 23, 2012
438
0
43
Delaware
I find it repulsive when a photographer invades the space of a poor individual for a shot that they consider "art" or a shot they think brings out some "emotion". The person is violated in his poverty and condition. If you go live with those individuals for a while, tell their story then maybe you have "art", include a few shots of you sleeping under a bridge and you have my respect. Go down to skid row and get a few shots as you walk down the street then go to your 3 bed, 2 bath home and PP on your new MacPro and I say you have taken shots that are self serving garbage.
bingo!

voyeuristic shots of the homeless and poor reveal nothing unique or interesting that isn't readily apparent in any city in the world every day to thousands of passer byes. if anything these types of shots only reveal our own prejudices against these individuals, prejudices that i find to be kinda despicable.

i would so much rather see the humanity of these situations revealed in a photograph. but that takes the guts to actually go up and talk to these individuals and spend some significant time with them. much more than the minimal tossing of a couple bucks and a cordial "can i take your photo".

on more than one occasion, i have been told by homeless people that i spent time with that they appreciated that i spoke to them rather than just giving them the change out of my pocket. it was the recognition that they were human and not at all different from me (in any way that truly counts) that was of value to them and because i was offering that they were always much more forthcoming in sharing their stories and thoughts with me. i spent an hour once with a man on the street who had recently been released from prison on a conviction of manslaughter and that time with him was enlightening to me. he spoke to me about real struggles, real despair, and in the end thanked me for being willing to listen! i was humbled.

if you really want to see a good measure of what interesting photography of the homeless and poor can be, take a good long look at the work of Mary Ellen Mark. That reveals humanity, that is unique and interesting.

voyeuristic stuff? big fat yawn.

oh and i agree with Don Haines, that kid is the best dressed homeless person i have ever seen. i have a strong suspicion that you misread the situation badly and that kid was not as downtrodden as you may think. did you actually speak to that individual?
 

Hjalmarg1

Photo Hobbyist
Oct 8, 2013
770
3
49
Doha, Qatar
Brooklyn161 said:
The answer requires you to answer more questions.
Is your photo art? As in did you use techniques to create a specific look or feeling?
Is your photo documentary in nature?
Is your photo a random shot in a public place?
What is the intent of your photo?
Will the photo get you financial compensation? If yes, will you compensate the individual?

If it is art, documentation or an accident and there is no intent of malice, then I see no ethical issue with it. -E-
+1, good answer. In Germany may be illegal to shoot one person but it's allowed to take the same person in a context where other individuals are present in the frame.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,649
772
Southeastern USA
Street photography can be very powerful, especially to visually explain the relationship members of a community, or those who are effectively outcasts, have with each other and the larger society in which they exist.

Intent seems to be an important part of the moral discussion. Wanting to tell a full story of travels, rather than just what a tourist bureau would approve, I would include photos of the very poor and how they live. Of course a photojournalist documenting a location, the plight of particular segments of society, or contradictions within a society has a duty to be honest with choice of subjects.

Using photos of one group of people as a warning to others can also be morally perplexing. For example, to attempt to prevent a self-destructive behavior, would it be ok to go into a hospital and, without the subjects' knowledge, take photos of people suffering from drug abuse, STD's, smoking, careless driving, or neglected diabetes? If not, would your answer be based on their location, that a hospital is a special place for privacy? Then what of the photographer whose motive is to save lives of young people by taking pictures of drug addicts languishing in a public park or on a sidewalk? Is this ok because the suffering occurs in a public space? Is it ok to take pictures of a toothless, lesion-riddled amphetamine addict who happens to be dozing with mouth open if the purpose is to "scare straight," for example? (In other words to use the sad images to frighten the viewer into avoiding destructive behavior.)

Finally, even trickier moral issues do arise for some photographers and their audience when the purpose of a photo is purely artistic, where the subject becomes no more important to the photographer than a bird or an interesting found still-life. I do not feel comfortable with such work even when the subject has been paid a nominal fee, especially when the "artiste" receives accolades for images made with thousands of dollars worth of equipment and a "tip" worth the price of a cup of coffee to the desperate subject.

Also I do see street-photography as a sport (akin to birds-in-flight) as a somewhat coldblooded objectification of human beings.

No, I don't think pleasuring the egos of the artist, the viewer, or the curator to justify using unknowing (and perhaps unwilling) human subjects.

On the other hand, in most places in the USA, street photography is completely legal, and if remaining within the law satisfies ones conscience, who are we to condemn?

Surapon: Glad to see you back and, once again, posting provocatively!
 

Quasimodo

Easily intrigued :)
Feb 5, 2012
977
0
47
Oslo, Norway
www.500px.com
If it is indeed a homeless person, or picturing extreem poverty, I think one has to a certain degree an ethical responsibility to take the shot. Homelessness and poverty are societal problems, and in our visually communicated lives, we need those type of Pictures to address inequality. In the Picture you posted, the face was not present, so It would not be an issue either way.

just my two cents

G.
 
May 8, 2013
1,853
1
To me it is a question of empathy.

How much does the photographer care about the feelings of the subject?

There are some photographers who seem to have no empathy for their subject. If the photographer wants to take the photograph that's all that's important to the photographer. "It is all about me and what *I* want".

There are more people in society than just the photographer.

This is one of the many reasons I don't do, and would not be good at, street photography. I am always concerned with the feelings of the subject and realize that they may not want me, or anyone else, to take their photograph. Why would I want to do something that may make someone else unhappy or uncomfortable?

The fact that taking a photograph of someone in public is not illegal is only a small part of the equation. Whenever this topic come up on photography forums, the legal issue comes up and for many photographers that's the end of the discussion.

To me, it is more complex. Simple because I can do something, does not mean that I should.

As previously posted, everyone has their own set of morals and ethics. For some, these play a more important role than what is simple legal or illegal.

A most complex and complicated issue.
 

lion rock

EOR R
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
After reading the replies here to Surapon's question on street photography on street people, I think Mr Surapon is not only an architect of building or equipment he uses, but also an architect of man. He raised a point and ask us to give our opinion to see how we feel of an idea. He gets us talking openly without reservation. He's in a way asking us to learn from ourselves. What a teacher he is!
Personally, I would take photos of any kind, and that includes the good, the bad and the ugly, though not staged. BUT, I will NOT show to the public. I would keep them to myself or show only to the select few. Human nature would be my title to this type of photography. It would remind us of who we are, what we are. I saw, even in museums, this type of photos, and it is part of our society. Whether the subjects gave permissions or were given compensation for their faces to be displayed, I don't know.
Mr Surapon, you keep coming up with your ideas and questions.
-r
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,649
772
Southeastern USA
lion rock said:
After reading the replies here to Surapon's question on street photography on street people, I think Mr Surapon is not only an architect of building or equipment he uses, but also an architect of man. He raised a point and ask us to give our opinion to see how we feel of an idea. He gets us talking openly without reservation. He's in a way asking us to learn from ourselves. What a teacher he is!
Personally, I would take photos of any kind, and that includes the good, the bad and the ugly, though not staged. BUT, I will NOT show to the public. I would keep them to myself or show only to the select few. Human nature would be my title to this type of photography. It would remind us of who we are, what we are. I saw, even in museums, this type of photos, and it is part of our society. Whether the subjects gave permissions or were given compensation for their faces to be displayed, I don't know.
Mr Surapon, you keep coming up with your ideas and questions.
-r
+1
 

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
70
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
Thanks you, Sir/ Madame , to my dear Teachers and Dear Friends.
Yes, Past 2 days, I have learn some thing NEW and Let me thinks, Before I shoot. Yes, Sir, Past 50 years in my life , When I have my first Camera ( 16 years old boy), I shoot every thing that I see infront of me, With out thinking. Yes, When I come to USA, 41 years ago---I just Keep on shooting--Just Point and shoot style, with out thinking, Until 10 Years ago, I go to Local Community College in the night time from the PRO " Photographers 1 or 2 courses in every another semesters= Try to improve my skill of my love Hobby, Photography .
Past Two Years, I am very glad that Accidental see your " Canon Rumors" web site, and be a member. I am very glad in my life, And Have Learn the new things from my dear Teachers and Dear Friends, Plus share my small Tricks too.
Yes, I am very glad that I ask the question that I do not know, And I get the Best answers from you, Yes, Difference Opinion of you that make the world go round and plus Improve our IDEAS.
Thak you, Sir/ Madame.
Surapon