What is appropriate in street photography?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by John Peri, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. Why do I keep thinking about Bruce Gilden and his craft/art when reading the last few posts in this thread?

    Ah yes, probably because he's Mr Famous Street Photographer sticking his camera (and a flash) directly into people's faces to capture the facial expressions of shock, anger, fear, surprise, resentment etc.. Very respectful.

    It appears to me that the answer to the question of what is appropriate in street photography may differ quite substantial depending on whether you are the photographer or the photographed and also on the level of tolerance of each individual. Don't do onto other what you don't want done onto you could be a guideline - even though there will still be variability from person to person.
  2. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I don't have any problem with street photography. Almost none of my photos have people in them. I did take 2 photos of my wife this year, trying out a couple of film cameras (film's all I shoot) that I won on ebay.

    Hmm... don't forget, you
    took this picture of me...
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  3. Yes, reminds me of this C.S. Lewis quote:

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
  4. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Seems too many people have developed thin skin and political correctness rules these days. Shooting kids playing in the park is now considered stalking and you are automatically labeled as a pervert. WRONG! People that think they have a right to privacy in public have no idea what their rights actually are.There are certain areas that are guaranteed PRIVATE and on a beach is not one of them. Photographing girls scantly dressed and even nude on public beaches is not against the law because there is no expectation to privacy in a public place.

    BUT if you are going to use those pictures for commercial use... you had better have releases for everyone in that photo.

    There are many guides available as well as government publications on photography laws for your city or state. Google is your friend.

    AS long as no laws are being violated, there are no rules to street photography except shoot with one eye open so you can see a potential attacker coming your way.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  5. When I take pictures of young women, old women, old men, children, etc. it's almost always from the backside and almost always with a long lens, because that's what I carry for my main quarry, wildlife. The reason that I focus on backsides, some of which are quite attractive, is so I don't need a model release to sell the images. I'm not "stalking" them, I'm there and they go by and I shoot them after they go by. I do shoot from the front, occasionally, but I can't sell those and don't try to get a release, even thought I carry a release app on my phone.

    Believe it or not, these kinds of images sell:

    [​IMG]Long-haired woman walks her dogs by David Stephens, on Flickr

    Buyers use them in lifestyle articles. If there's something striking about the subject, like this gal's hair, it helps. I think the long-lens perspective helps set apart these images when an art director is looking at a light board full of images.
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  6. Are you familiar with the photos which sparked this conversation? and if so, do you consider the photo you posted here to be of the same ilk?

    My comment was in response to the photos of a specific individual and not intended to be taken out of context. I am unsure if some of the posters in this thread are actually okay with voyeuristic stalking of young girls in bikinis at the beach or whether they are just clueless as regards the photos to which this thread alludes.

    I too have taken many photos which I could post to this thread of various people, men and women, both from behind and in front, using a long lens, however those photos would be no more relevant to this conversation than the one you have posted. What I do not do, is sneak around at public beaches taking hundreds of similar photos of scantily clad young girls clearly without their knowledge or consent. If you are okay with people doing so then fine you are entitled to your own moral compass. I stand by mine.
  7. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I don't remember any proof that the photographer in question was "sneaking" around. If people are in a public place, a photographer doesn't need their knowledge or consent to take their photos.
  8. Well yes I suppose that it is within the realm of possibilities that after taking these pictures from a distance with a long lens the photographer approached all the young girls and showed them the image he had taken. The issue here is not whether the behaivior is legal but rather whether it is appropriate. I think the photos in question have no redeeming features and appear entirely intended to titilate a certain type of dumbass male. I have trouble imagining that the subjects of these photos would be comfortable with the knowledge that they are part off a large collection of photos posted on the internet. But then who cares about them so long as it's legal, right?
    tomspielman likes this.
  9. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    They're out in public dressed (or not) as they are. They can't be that naive to think males aren't looking at them. It seems to me that they're asking to have their photos taken.
  10. He does not legally need their consent, but legal and ethical aren't the same. You asked what was appropriate, - not what was legal.

    I'm sure they know males are looking at them, and some may in fact be hoping that males are looking at them. But not just any males, - males they see as dating material. And maybe the photographer falls into that group. But there is a difference between looking, staring, and taking pictures. I'm sure they all expect to get looked at. But staring is rude under most circumstances. Stealthily taking a picture is also rude. Stealthily taking pictures of young girls is creepy.

    Ambiguity is hard. A male can not always be expected to know whether some girl is going to see him as dating material or not. But a lot of the time, we do know. I'm 50 years old and married, I'm not dating material for a 17 year old girl. I know that. I know that it would be creepy for me to seek out scantily glad young girls and take pictures of them without their knowledge or consent. It might be creepy even if I had their consent. It depends on what my intentions are.

    And this isn't some new PC thing getting foisted on us. In my 50 year lifespan, it's always been creepy for old guys to leer at young girls.

    That's a dangerous and most likely wrong assumption. And if it were the case, then he should simply ask them if it's OK.

    You are right in that we don't know for a fact that he's sneaking around. He may have asked them if it's OK. But the pictures look suspicious. In none of them are the girls looking towards him, and all of them appear to be taken from some distance.
    michael_levy|3 likes this.
  11. Have you looked at the pictures? They're of young women, not young girls. That they're scantily clad is to be expected on a beach in the summer. What do you propose then in order to "protect" them from staring male eyes, that they all wear burqa's, or that there's a separation of men and women in public places?

    If the pictures are intrusive it shouldn't have anything to do with the gender or "collective" (which some people are so eager to speak for, in the protection of the collective of course. If you can't see how demeaning and oppressive that is, then you're just willfully blinded by your ideology and your claim to moral superiority).
    being photographed.

    There's courtesy and respect. And then there's political correctness with its compelled speech and thought (all under the guise of equality and freedom of course), it will be the fascism of the future doing more harm than it can ever do good. It is happening today and people shouldn't be afraid or made feel guilty (like "You're a bigot". Nope, that tactic and claim to moral superiority will not work with me, try some critical thinking instead if you're going to engage me) when rising up to it.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  12. That is so sad, always feeling an attack is imminent while making photos.
    Uhooru likes this.
  13. Yes, I started at the start and followed the links. Whether you admit it or not, photography and enjoyment of photography is, at its foundation, voyeuristic. If people present themselves in public in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you should look away. If you see someone's photographic work that makes you uncomfortable, look away. Don't apply your values to others.

    You seem to be arguing about degrees. Simply look away when the degree is passed that makes you uncomfortable.
  14. "Don't apply your values to others" dcstep
    paul ron and dcstep like this.
  15. Yes, reminds me of this C.S. Lewis quote:phil.

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    So articulate and true.
    Norman 202 and dcstep like this.
  16. This conversation is hilarious. Not sure why this is about what's lawful, what's moral, what's ethical or political correctness. To me its about not interesting photos with no engagement with the subjects or the environment and a creepy, sniper like vibe. If that's the photos he wants to take, I don't give a hoot, but I will opine on what I think of the photography. I have no moral problem with them other than what is good photography and what is crap.
  17. It's less about what makes me uncomfortable and more about what would make the people being photographed uncomfortable.
  18. This is certainly true. But if a photographer has thousands of pictures of teen girls, and mostly nothing else, it does seem suspicious.

    I suspect that I might have a few pictures in some of the mentioned categories, but not a significantly large number of them.

    I suppose I do have some pictures of girls on my daughter's softball team. For one, there was the challenge of getting the ball just of of the hand of the pitcher. But also lots of pictures from my son's baseball team.
  19. I've looked at them and and it seems to me that quite a number of them are under age, - girls in other words.

    I hope that people are considerate of one another and regulate their behavior accordingly. I think it's fine and natural for people to look at one another. But how you look and how long you look matters. Most of us are taught this at a young age and continue to learn as we get older. Staring at women's chest while talking to her is rude (for example). Do you agree or or not?

    Do you suppose these girls (and their parents in the case of the under age ones) are OK with pictures of their asses being taken by some stranger and posted on the Internet? I think most of us who think this is not appropriate believe so because these are unwilling subjects, Further, while the motives of the photographer are not known they are pretty suspect. The fact that these are young girls does matter. Young boys would be creepy too though. You just don't tend to see these kinds of pictures of them.

    I don't think anyone has suggested that it should be illegal or that the photographer should be banned from PN, at least not most of us. I'm not sure where you're seeing the Facism. It's no more to Fascist to see this behavior as not OK as to insist that it is.

    To put a different spin on it, let's take away the beach and the bikinis. Imagine it's a weekly teen night a local bar and you've got some adult male showing up every week to take pictures of the girls and post them on the Internet. How long until management shows this guy the door? The beach is different because it's a public space, but the behavioral norms (in my mind) as far what's OK and what's not are the same. How is what the beach photographer doing any different than what the bar photographer is doing?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  20. It depends on the context of the situation and on the woman, but generally yes, that would be rude. But not looking into anyone's eyes for a long time when talking to them is rude, whichever direction one is looking at, just like looking too long into someones eyes while talking to them is also rude (at least in most Western cultures it is). That men can't help but glance at a woman's cleavage when socially interacting with a woman I don't find rude. Unless you're going to suggest that women are all passive and innocent when it comes to eliciting a man's attention. A man shouldn't apologize for having such instincts, like glancing at a women's cleavage and nor would a woman necessarily want a man to apologize for it. A mentally balanced man must be aware of such instincts at all times in order to control them and keep them in check, rather than wanting to suppress or deny them (in the sense that he must be aware and embrace both his masculine and feminine side just like a mentally balanced woman must be aware of both the feminine and masculine side of her psyche), it's precisely through suppression and denial that will make the predator lash out eventually.

    As for your other points, you're drawing out all kinds of analogies and situations that simply aren't applicable to the matter of the OP, which is primarily one of morals and therefore politics, let's be honest about that too.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017

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