Question... :)

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Holly, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Holly

    Holly TPF Noob!

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    Hope its ok to ask this here.. :)

    I see a lot of great photos from every day life to public outdoor things..

    Dont you get nervous being out in public and just taking pictures of what ever? Example.. I just took a look at Mansi's photo of the homeless women.. I would be too nervous (so to speak) to take this kind of photo knowing the place she is in etc... I Guess my word would be GUILTY.. That she is there and I am where I am.. I cry when I see photos like that, let alone getting a photo...

    Also,, No one looks at you funny if you are just taking pictures of them? They dont ask why you are doing it?

    Id like to do this if I wasnt to nervous of them.. DO I just stop and concider myself someone who doesnt take this photos?


    Thanks!
     
  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I understand what you're saying. I too feel just a bit like I'd be exploiting the person, seeing them as something less than a person.

    I think I would want to do this kind of work if it was important... say, to heighten awareness of someone's plight.

    Good question. The same photo gave rise to some strong feelings in me.

    Pete
     
  3. jocose

    jocose TPF Noob!

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    Holly, these are all good questions, and ones that I asked when I first got into photography and the Forum.

    First an anecdote. The DC Meetup #3 (I think--the one with me, Kelox, and JonMikal) gave me a great story to tell about people looking at you funny. We were in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and we were up in the KC Cafe. I was busy taking pictures of the salad bar and didn't notice the manager coming up to me. He said, "Can I help you with something?" I just smiled and said, "No, I'm good. Thanks." and went on taking pictures. Later than night we got a great pic of JM looking up Marylin Monroe's dress. The guests in the hotel thought this was quite funny, but the management didn't. Fortunately we left before they could say anything.

    The general rule (law) is that anything in public spaces are fair game unless you are planning to make money off it...in that case you need consent forms and all that.

    To be honest, I wouldn't have been so brave with that manager if it weren't for the fact that I was with others...I probably wouldn't have taken the pics if I was alone.

    As far as homeless, or any people in the street, I've realized that there are several ways and styles. Some will pay the person (or give them some money--however you want to look at it), some will just take the pic and not care--again remember that if they are in a public space they don't have any real control. Some shoot from a distance so the person doesn't even know.

    I struggled with this a lot, and I realized a few things. First, most people don't care if they get their pictures taken or not. Most peolpe don't even realize that your taking their picture. I still feel uncomfortable, so I understand and don't really take that many pics of strangers.

    I think that there is also the reason you are doing it to consider. I personally love Mansi's work. I'm fascinated by other countries and other cultures. I think that Mansi has a way of showing the people, showing who they are, showing their life and what's going on (there are others on the Forum that are good at this as well, but I thought I'd make Mansi uncomfortable :) ). I don't think that she ever looks through her camera at the people and says, "this will make a great pic to exploit this homeless person." Rather, I think that there is real empathy in her shots, and that makes the picture have a very different feel. I don't feel it's exploitation, but rather trying to teach me about this person and his or her plight (this is not meant to imply that you think she is exploiting anyone...just trying to make an example).

    So, ultimately, my long rambling post is really just trying to say that if you really feel that you need to take those kinds of pictures, there are ways to do it so that you don't have that guilt...why do you want to take the picture? Do you just think the guy laying in the gutter is funny? Do you think the picture will show how much better off you are than they are? I think the answer, of course, is no...you sound very much like you feel for these people and if that is what you want your pictures to evoke in us the viewer, then always have that in your mind when you shoot...always say to yourself that you are telling the story of the less fortunate in our society..that you want us to see that these people are human, they are someone's brother or sister or son or daughter.

    On the other hand, if you can't do it, don't. There are so many other things to take pictures of. Also, don't force or rush it...if that is really what you're drawn to, you will get more comfortable with time.

    Hope that helps...
     
  4. wyldkard

    wyldkard TPF Noob!

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    Or you can shoot from across town with one of these.

    [​IMG]

    :D

    I just picked that bad boy up. Trust me, they would never even know you were in the area.
     
  5. JonMikal

    JonMikal TPF Noob!

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    i totally agree with this.

    i have many shots of the homeless, but always shoot from a distance of 100-200 ft., never invading their privacy. with regard to Mansi's images, i'm quite certain she befriends these people prior to capturing their images; both feeling comfortable with the shoot.

    you will need to determine what type photography you feel comfortable with. just experiment. what may help you, is something i shoot a lot of; protests and rallys. it will get you used to shooting people on the street and reduce your concerns.

    hope this helps.
     
  6. nvr2low

    nvr2low TPF Noob!

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    holly crap, i would hate to try and get a stedy shot with that thing, hope you have a tripod, looks like a pain without one.
     
  7. Holly

    Holly TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all your answers... Yes I love Mansis Work which is why I asked.. Her work just amazes me.. As well as some others here.. They tell a STRONG story and I would love to do photos like this!! I Guess I have to kick the nerve and try a few to see how it is for ME... IF I like it and can do it then that will be great..

    Will have to start from a distant and continue down that road :)

    Thanks every one!!
     
  8. Luminosity

    Luminosity No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know exactly how you feel Holly. If I want to take a shot of someone and I'm about to look really obvious that I'm taking their photo I always give them a friendly smile and ask politely, saying something like " I take photos as a hobby and love how you look, doing what you were doing just then...do you mind if I take your picture ?"

    People usually relax a little and don't mind me taking the shot after I converse with them. I generally then just tell them to ignore me and continue with what they were doing...wait a little, unobtrusively...take their photo and thank them, smiling.

    Of course, it's always best to try and get a shot of someone when they're not aware of a camera so learning to 'shoot from the hip' is a priceless tool. If you're into street photography then it's worth practising at home with a friend or fam member. Ask them to indulge you for an hour as you literally take shot after shot from different heights until you feel comfortable with being able to capture someone without having to raise the camera to your eyes.

    Then you take aforementioned friend or fam member out to a movie or cook em dinner for spending an hour as your model ;).
     
  9. panzershreck

    panzershreck TPF Noob!

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    i didn't really get over the "guilt" feeling until bigger concerns came along, working with the college newspaper and getting several assignments every week, you're more concerned with developing the assignment and conversing with the subject (sometimes), basically getting it done, and having their picture published than worrying about the mere fact of taking their picture for art's sake

    confidence is a big factor, arrogant confidence is what hurts, simply hanging around taking or not taking photos (whether or not you end up using them) is enough to calm things down, and other times you simply approach the people first, not go in with cameras blazing away, think of it like a conversation, when you approach somebody you don't necessarily go "where's the bus station?!?", you go "uh hi, i'm sorry i'm not sure where to go, but do you know where the bus station is?" (honesty and manners help)

    and if you think that's hard, think about journalists who have to actually follow people around getting their information when the article might be negative towards them
     
  10. hot shot

    hot shot TPF Noob!

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    so one is taking the pee me finks
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Walking down the street and snapping photos is tough for me. The couple of times I tried it I used my TLR. Looking down on the ground glass is sneaky. People only have a suspicion of what you are doing. Keep in mind that you are invading someone's personal space. I believe the subject has the right to confront you. You were being disrespectful. Consider that at some point you are going to get hit or something.

    The "hey I can I get a shot" works well for me. Again; people are generally a little flattered. Respect for the subject is key. That includes going on to private land.

    Consider the direction of your work. Street shots, friends, whatever. The only answer is to put some time in and explore the subject. The hard part is (for me) the first 36 exposures. After that it is a piece of cake. So to speak.
     

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