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03-25-2014, 04:22 PM   #1
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Is Street Photography Impolite?

First of all, let's take out the heat of that question
No, I am not implying that any of you who is doing street photography is impolite.

I rather post this question because I grew up in an area where running around with a camera is not very common (it's a not-so-big city in a small country), and now find myself living in Tokyo. I find some of the pictures that come from street photography quite interesting, and would be interested in trying it myself.
However, there is this invisible barrier inside myself that finds it kind of voyeuristic to just point the camera at a stranger and snap away. As if I would be disturbing them in their daily business. Now once again, I myself would not see any problem with anybody taking a picture of me when I am on my way to work, etc., but I do have this barrier that hinders me from trying certain types of street photography.

Now, do you have similar feelings? Am I perfectly right, horribly wrong? Am I just shy? Talk some sense into me

Cheers,
René

03-25-2014, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by wullemaha Quote
Is Street Photography Impolite?
If you're this guy, it is.
03-25-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
If you're this guy, it is
Haha, priceless! Thanks a lot for sharing! That is hilarious.
03-25-2014, 05:50 PM   #4
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In Australia there is no right to privacy when you are out in public. In fact, the Privacy act here doesn't even prevent a neighbor photographing you in your yard.
As much as I'd like to try street photography, I couldn't do it because I'm not very good with handling conflict and at some point someone is bound to complain and cause a fuss.

03-25-2014, 06:08 PM   #5
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I don't get in people's faces, and I don't take pictures if someone sees me and actively blocks their face.

Politeness isn't about the photography act, it's about who's taking the photo.
03-25-2014, 06:38 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Politeness is partially dependent on how the photo is used. A photo of a willing subject can still be impolite. Some examples:

If a homeless person willingly poses then you post the photo online saying "look at the shabby clothes on this guy, what a loser!": Impolite, demeaning, disrespectful, tactless, etc. Posting the same photo to illustrate the problems of homelessness is good.

If you admire the way someone else is dressed and prepare to take a photo, they signal that they don't want to be photographed, but you snap anyway: It's not polite because you didn't heed their request to not snap, but it's not disrespectful or wrong IMO.

People on the street have no right or reasonable expectation of privacy. I think all of us, photographer or not, have an obligation to treat others respectfully. Go snap away at street photograpjhy all you want, but be considerate in how the photo gets used.

---------- Post added 03-25-14 at 09:40 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
If you're this guy, it is ... SNIPPED LINK
"I have no ethics." lol

Okay, I draw the line at flashguns in people's faces. Definitely disrespectful and annoying. I bet he's been punched a few times in his career.
03-25-2014, 06:58 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Okay, I draw the line at flashguns in people's faces. Definitely disrespectful and annoying. I bet he's been punched a few times in his career.
I wonder how may times the camera was shoved backwards into his face. I think the way he does it is rude personally. That is not the way I do street. I prefer to be back and not intrusive. I have been asked to not shoot someone And I didn't . Usually the folks I shoot have no idea I took the shot. Most of the people that did know didn't seem to care. I have only been confronted one time ( knock on wood). Then the lady wanted to see it. The problem was it wasn't her I had shot
03-25-2014, 07:04 PM   #8
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Only as much as photography itself is-- stealing souls and such.

M

03-25-2014, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Every Street Goes Somewhere

Hello Rene, this is an interesting question, my answer would be 'No', it's a time-honored and perfectly valid form of photography.
Any time my resolve weakens on this, I go here; https://www.google.com/search?q=well+known+street+photographers&sa=X&tbm=isc...w=1366&bih=622
And before I'm 1/4 of the way thru, I'm rarin' to get back out.
Having said that, Street Photography isn't for everyone, from either side of the lens. As subjects, most folks don't mind, others tolerate it, and an occasional person will actively object. It's rare (in my experience) but does happen.
As the photographer, there's ways to ease into street mode, my favorite is public events. Street fairs, outdoor shows, concerts, almost anyplace where the public is encouraged to go, cameras go too. Museums and indoor events tend to be more restrictive about flash, tripods, even cameras themselves. Check first.
Then, take photos of everything you like, including the people. Everyone else will be doing the same thing, but you usually will have a better camera.
You can also try 'stealth' mode, clicking without raising the camera, with pre-set exposure. Sneaky, but it works, with practice. I hardly use it.
Generally, a smile and a wave are all that's needed, and that's only when they initiate the contact. As a last resort I would delete the photo, but that's never happened. Most times, they smile and wave back, perhaps somewhat embarrassed or curious, but unharmed in any way.
And I keep clicking!
Ron
03-25-2014, 07:26 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Only as much as photography itself is-- stealing souls and such.
HAHA, priceless!

QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I bet he's been punched a few times in his career.
Rightfully so ;-) the flash and the pressing the lens up against one's subject nose is where he's crossing the line I think.

The only way I have done "street" so far is mostly focused (no pun intended) on objects rather than subjects, with people being in the background..
Example:

03-25-2014, 07:56 PM   #11
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Street photography is something that intimidates me. I live in a small city with not much to shoot at with regards to street photography. So when I was in a bigger city I had a go at it and I noticed many of my shots had people walking away so I wasn't intimidated by the idea they may not like having the photo taken. It's a style that definitely required you to have a certain personality to pull off.

I had a couple goes at getting this shot. And you can see the guy leaning over and looking at me. Immediately after this he stood up as if he was going to come over to me like he was some kind of celebrity and didn't want the picture taken. But I got the shot I was chasing and walked away.
03-25-2014, 08:18 PM   #12
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Sticking a flash right in someone's face and popping it off without notice (as in the video) is very rude indeed. If he did that to me he might punched in the face as a knee-jerk reaction.
03-26-2014, 12:39 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
If you're this guy, it is.
Street Shots Bruce Gilden - YouTube
And if you are this guy it is not,

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasleuthard/
03-26-2014, 01:16 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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Is Street Photography Impolite?

QuoteOriginally posted by wullemaha Quote
First of all, let's take out the heat of that question
No, I am not implying that any of you who is doing street photography is impolite.

I rather post this question because I grew up in an area where running around with a camera is not very common (it's a not-so-big city in a small country), and now find myself living in Tokyo. I find some of the pictures that come from street photography quite interesting, and would be interested in trying it myself.
However, there is this invisible barrier inside myself that finds it kind of voyeuristic to just point the camera at a stranger and snap away. As if I would be disturbing them in their daily business. Now once again, I myself would not see any problem with anybody taking a picture of me when I am on my way to work, etc., but I do have this barrier that hinders me from trying certain types of street photography.

Now, do you have similar feelings? Am I perfectly right, horribly wrong? Am I just shy? Talk some sense into me

Cheers,
René

I have been trying my luck at street photography. I noticed that there are a few situations that you will find yourself in:

1. the target is mobile and aware of your presence
2. target is mobile and unaware of your presence
3. target is stationary and aware of your presence
4. target is stationary and unaware of your presence

In cases 1 and 3 I smile at them while clearly showing my camera and if they don't look aggressive then I shoot. In cases 2 and 4 I just shoot. I find 3 to be the most uncomfortable but I'm slowly learning.

Here's my #3:


03-26-2014, 01:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dtmateojr Quote
Here's my #3:
I really like that one, a lot!

QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
And if you are this guy it is not, https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasleuthard/
NICE!
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