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Poll - Do you feel comfortable taking street photographs?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Chrissie_Lay, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I wrote most of a really long reply and then trashed it because it just sounded more and more arrogant. I think your summary does a better job. Humans do love to categorise stuff, and sometimes it's useful in a top level way (which part of the bookshop do I need to be in), but it's always at risk from cross-category content or increasingly diverse and deep categorisation which then stops helping. Are we reading a crime novel, or a romance novel, if the two investigators are having a relationship, but the story focuses on both equally. Which bit of the book shop does it go in. The same debates and arguments rage in all areas of art.
     
  2. Ilovemycam

    Ilovemycam In the Stop Bath

    Generally, the photogs that can't do legit street work argue street portraits are street photos. (a la'Eric Kim style - he will stage nearly 80 posed photos of a person and call it street.)

    Here is the rundown.

    nsfw

    https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/street-photography-versus-street-portraiture/
     
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    To be honest, I'm wary of any definition that declares itself legit or true. Categorisation is important for some purposes, but it's never wholly able to encompass the various elements of art, regardless of what that art is.

    There's no true form of 'high fantasy', there are just books which more or less conform to a more or less general agreement on what high fantasy is, at the moment, and that may change over time. It's much easier to define what isn't something, in many cases, than what is.

    However, all this is what makes art so much fun ;)
     
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    You all made me so hung-up on the subject, I almost put this one in for my Street Round 6 entry!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I am very hard pressed to set any bound to street photography.
    However I am more interested in the things that go on in street than the buildings that make up the streets. This is not to say that I am not interested in buildings , in fact I am constructing a set of the more interesting buildings, and how people enhance them, of my small town.

    What ever I take I prefer it to be part of a set, rather than a stand alone shot. Some time a " better" individual shot is left out because it adds little or nothing to the understanding or theme.

    I think this attitude might be counter intuitive to many phothographers.
     
  6. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    Not to those of us from the Picture Post / Life Magazine generation (I'm on the trailing edge of that group). Picture stories are marvellous and years of making singles for newsprint never quite rid me of the opinion: one shot good, three shots better.

    :)
     
  7. ZenTog

    ZenTog Well-Known Member

    I shall give you kudos for recognising that there might just be some kind of issue ... now instead of using it as some kind of pathetic weapon try to streeeeeeetch the grey matter to consider the possibility that the person who asks you not to photograph them, or hides their face, or turns away MIGHT just have some of kind real issue.

    Then .. and this is the really big one ... try to be considerate of that.
     
  8. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    I'm a beginning street photographer and came across this green bottle sitting on the wall, surrounded by several smashed green bottles scattered below the wall.

    Does anyone know if I need the bottle's permission before I photograph it?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. ZenTog

    ZenTog Well-Known Member


    There are REAL PEOPLE who have real issues with having their photo taken. You are taking photos of REAL PEOPLE - something that appears to completely be ignored.

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE

    REAL PEOPLE
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  10. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    What I would say is in this position you should be very careful - if you knock this green bottle off the wall and it should fall, even accidentally, you would be culpable for the damage to someone else's property and you would have a hard time proving it was not you who smashed the nine other bottles too (I am assuming there were 10 green bottles.)

    So, before taking this picture, you really should have considered the position you were placing yourself in and consulted your lawyer - your picture is proof you were there after several bottles had been smashed and could be interpreted as a trophy picture of your destructive actions, and has placed you at the scene especially if this last green bottle was destroyed too, after the point this picture was taken... Not to mention you may have blundered in to and contaminated a crime scene, or stumbled in to a neighbour vs neighbour altercation or worse the opening blows of gang warfare in the area... No green bottle 'accidentally' falls off a wall, whether it be carelessness, malicious intent of simply wanton destruction of another's property there is always a reason. What have you done? What did you do? Did you smash all those bottles just for a photo?

    I suggest as a gesture of goodwill you attend your local police station with the photo and the original memory card, along with time date and location of where it was taken and description of any other persons present in the area at the time and allow the investigation to take its course.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  11. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    That particular picture is a corker isn't it. Looking at it I would have said "social documentary" recording the fact a child could source a couple of bottles of plonk back in the day, but that is looking at it from today's perspective with licencing laws etc. so maybe just "Documentary" I'm sure at the moment the picture was taken it was probably categorised as "fun" or even "a bit of a giggle"...

    I catch your drift about categorisation. I think the one true need to categorise is so when one says 'street photography' we all know what one is going on about. What is the difference between a 'portrait' and an 'environmental portrait' for instance?

    See what you mean there. Nothing is ever black and white.

    And they wondered for a while if photography could be considered art :)

    I think this may be why I have never had much truck with it, not because I cannot categorise it, but because when someone says "street photography" to me I get the connotations of the classic "American approach" mentioned earlier - short lens, almost confrontational, not especially nice to witness or perform. Not 'me'. Even the word 'Candid' means something different to me when associated with street photography, not 'unposed, bold, unhidden', but 'sly, sneaky and just a bit... dishonest?' No offence to anyone who enjoys being candid and reads a different meaning from the term, it's just what I get from it.

    Thinking about it I do take street photos, in my own way. Long exposures of crowds blurring through bottle necks in the pavement, crowd shots of busy highstreets stretching off to infinity etc. I don't make any one person the subject but it's still 'street', in my own way, isn't it?

    I very much like the way the original question was worded "do you feel comfortable taking street photographs" my answer 'my type of street photograph yes, someone else's type probably no'

    If the question was 'do you feel comfortable taking pictures in public' I'm sure it would have been a very short conversation :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  12. ZenTog

    ZenTog Well-Known Member

    The Story of the Dog Poop Girl
    (A Moral Tale)

    Once upon a time way back in 2005 a girl was on a train in Korea with her dog. Being a pooch, accustomed to doing its business when and where it likes, it pooped on the train. Other passengers, annoyed by its actions (and probably the smell) asked the girl to please clean up after her dog. For reasons unknown to us at this time she basically told them to shove off and mind their own business.

    One of the passengers snapped her photo. (Now please remember this is in the dark ages of the internet without the tools we have today to find information). The photo with commentary on the incident was placed on a popular (at that time) Korean forum.

    Within hours she was renamed 'dog poop girl' or gae-ttong-nyue in Korean. Her photo was distributed widely. Within days information about her identity, her parents, where she lived, and where she went to school was posted online along with the photo.

    If this was not bad enough, a blogger picked up the story and that story was picked up by Boing Boing, which had about 10 million hits per day at that time and TA DA now the whole world will forever know her as 'dog poop girl'.

    Even now, if you google 'dog poop girl' you will see the term has entered urban slang, memes, pictures, you name it.

    The girl in question dropped out of university and moved away from her home town to escape the harassment and shame.

    As a result of this incident (and others) Korea introduced a Cyber Defamation Law.

    All of which I am quite sure the person on the train with a camera did not intend, but what they intended does not matter, the consequences of that action are what matters.

    Your photos are not harmless essays on life. Try to remember that you are taking photos of real people's lives and you can not know the impact posting that image online will have.

    Be mindful!
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Oh, boy. Do you realize what sort of person this makes you look like?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Of which the moral is, some people get what's coming to them. Would you rather she had gone on being an arrogant little baggage, and that being an arrogant little baggage was regarded as the societal norm, without consequences? Though in Korea it may be: do you remember the story of Cho Hyun-ah, Korean Air, and the macadamia nuts? Refresh your memory with http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30636204

    Incidentally,"the whole world will forever know her as 'dog poop girl'" is something of an exaggeration. Who else on this forum had ever heard of this event?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  15. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Or, here's a thought...you could clean up after your dog.
     
  16. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you had not noticed, it really is a Green Bottle.
    However many time you repeat it.... it is not REAL People


    Street photography is not exclusively about people who object to being photographed. many have no more concerns than that green bottler, every one in the UK has been brought up knowing that it it is part and parcel of the expectations of every day life.

    Please define the difference between Real people and just people.
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Highlight 1: "source?" Hardly. The child was running an errand. In the 50s (and presumably before) this was quite normal. I can remember being sent to Len Gulliver's corner shop to buy a packet of cigarettes (Wills Woodbines) for my dear old great grandmother. I'd have been the same sort of age as the boy on the rue Mouffetard at the time.

    Highlight 2: But as this whole thread perfectly illustrates, it just ain't gonna happen. We all think of different things, and it's going to stay that way. It may make you think of (Highlight 3) Bruce Gilden, but how many share that? He's not even a representative of the "classic American approach". He's the photographic equivalent of a "shock jock" and there are scores of American photographers who will be remembered long after he has been (deservedly) forgotten. Look at the Farm Security Administration photographers, or the Office of War Administration. For that matter look at the so-called "New Color Photograpy".

    Where "street" makes you think of Golden and his sorry imitators, it makes ZenTog think of dog turds in railway trains and it makes me think of French Humanist photographers such as Cartier-Bresson, Ronis and Doisneau or of numerous excellent English photographers (Marin Parr, for example).

    The more I reflect upon it, the less need I see for categorization. Photographs do not need to be pigeonholed. Good ones will be remembered, and bad ones forgotten, no matter what labels we put on them.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I am somewhat older than most on here, and naturally fall into that bracket, though I had never associated myself as being influenced in that way, though we are all influenced by what we see and experience.

    One shot, of necessity, captures a moment, more shots can capture the context.

    Much like the difference between a headline and a story.
    A page of headlines is never more than starting points.
     
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    What ever makes you think we are not considerate of these things.
    We do not intentionally force anyone to be the subject of their miseries.

    Though this can be the lot for the likes of war photographers, whose best efforts educate us all in the suffering, horrors and inevitable futility of wars.

    However independent work is no longer shown by attached war photographers, as their content is proscribed and edited by the units they are attached to.

    Was are no longer permitted to be covered in the way Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia were.
    Not by the British or American authorities anyway.

    War is censored.
    It seems you want street photograph, to be not only censored but banned by these same authorities.
     
  20. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    On a side track... those greens in that bottle reproduced exceedingly well.
    what did you use to capture them. camera/colour profile? perhaps.
     

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