Wednesday, 4 February 2015
Street Photography–Et tu Brute?
You’ve seen the photos of some famous street photographers and been impressed with their visual narrative. Or you’ve bought your camera and are close to urban areas – you could do landscapes and travel but those genres are so far away and so infrequent. You really find people in the street interesting, so you’re interested in street photography. But then it gets all difficult. So let’s talk about a few things.
taking photographs of people in public places is generally permitted.
if you are using your shots for a commercial purpose, such as for an advertising campaign or competition, you should obtain a model release form signed by the subjects you are photographing
There is no restriction on taking photographs of people on private property from public property.
Can taking photos be a criminal offence? Yes – read the document – case precedents and exclusions are cited.
Mark Davison has written an essay on photography in public in Victoria, Australia
For the UK, this is the advice.
You can’t enjoy yourself if you have to contend with expressed upset and anger from the people you take photos of. Regardless of whether you have the right to take a photo of them or not. If you are argumentative and robust, yes, of course you can stand up to a scene in public but that is time and effort lost from the shooting. If you are faint hearted, it could spoil your day out to the extent that you pack it in.
A lot of enjoyment is in yourself – you’ve got to be at peace with yourself. And that’s before you aim the camera and press the shutter.
Emulating another photographer idol who euphemistically has balls of steel or adopting approaches that don’t suit you, might carry off one time, but progressively, won’t be sustainable.
You’ve got to develop your own mental state, your own approaches.
So, why actually, are you taking my photo?
Will my photo appear on the internet?
Will you make money from my photo?
Isn’t there a law about taking photos of me unawares?
What if I ask you to delete my photo?
Can I see all the photos you just took?
Why are you taking photos of my kids, sis, wife, gf? Are you some kind of pervert? Why don’t you play fair and take photos of your mother / wife / gf / yourself doing weird things and post them online?
Look, I’m not supposed to be here and you’ve taken a photo of me. I’m distressed, angry and upset. What are you going do about it?
________________ over there doesn’t want you here. Could you go away now?
I’m calling the cops / reporting to the authorities. Does your employer / spouse / mother know you do this?
I’m bigger and tougher than you and I don’t like your face or how you’re carrying out your intrusive activities. Feel like making my day? These are not necessarily the questions you will be confronted with, but they could very well be things that people think about you. Be comfortable with your own answers – if you don’t believe your own answers, your photos are likely to show it.
On how I approach strangers in the street | An Afternoon with Brandon Stanton | Humans of New York: Behind the Portraits | Brandon Stanton: The Good Story
Karlo de Leon: How to build confidence in photographing people
B & H Video: How to Talk to Strangers: 7 Tips For Photographing People – Adam Marelli
Ming Thein's Thoughts on Portraiture
Joel Meyerowitz: Video: Milan 2013/10/28 | 1981 documentary
Henri Cartier-Bresson Video: 1998 “Pen, Brush and Camera”
Video: Street Photography Interview with Justin Vogel in NYC with Eric Kim | flickr: HCSP
Bruce Gilden Video: What Makes a Good Street Photograph?
Daido Moriyama Video: Near Equal
Garry Winograd Video: Visions and Images 1981
Video: The Many Lives of William Klein (2012)
Video: Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (2005)
Ben Fewtrell: Taking Photos in Public