To ask or not?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Lol999, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Lol999

    Lol999 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, had an unnerving experience today, hope someone can offer some advice. If I'm in the wrong then I'll hold my hand up. So I'm in a cafe and it has some interesting customers so I discretely take out my camera, pre-focus and set it on the table. Every so often I take a shot with it still on the table. Nice and discrete. I should add at this point no children were in any of the shots. Someone who was not even in the shots sees this and decides to inform my subjects. Then all hell let's loose. One woman objefcts strongly so I apologise for any offence caused, stop immediately, tell her I'm a student and offer to let her have the pictures. This isn't enough for one woman who holds out her hand and says" film. now." I tell her she's no chance as I'm in a public place (the technicality of which I have to look at) and decide to make a quick exit. Suffice to say my days of shooting in my small town centre are over for a while. I feel guilty for causing upset to these people, but if it wasn't for this busybody everything would be fine and dandy. Did I cross the line? I was just after some natural looking "street" shots and stopped immediately upon objections being raised. In future I'm just going to ask but at the end of the day did I commit such a sin?
    Cheers, Lol
     
  2. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    That person is ridiculous. Your just capturing life as it is. If you were taking pictures of people in compromising positions it might be different but I dont think taking picutres of random people in their natural state is wrong. Keep doing it, I bet you get some good candid shots.
     
  3. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think what could have put people in an uncomfortable position, is trying to do it so descretely... putting the cam on the table etc... this sort of makes you guilty... even tho your not doing anything wrong. I would very obviously take pictures... out of the window...at people walking past etc... that way its obvious to everyone that your just taking pictures... and not up to anything more sinister..... if someone then has a problem... either politley ask them to move out of your shot (thats the cheeky way!)... or withdraw and move on.
     
  4. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Producing a UK Press card and saying "tough" has worked wonders for me in the past. I don't like being a bad guy though, so I'm pretty good at it now. The best technique is to make like there's something wrong with your camera and keep peering it it, looking at the lens, looking out the window, looking at the table, all the while shooting the candids and pretending on the others!

    Rob
     
  5. Lol999

    Lol999 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I might try the distraction technique next time. Just that this cafe wasn't laid out to enable that sort of thing. I've just checked a legal resource on the 'net and I haven't actually done anything illegal.

    Lol
     
  6. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    Some people are idiots, you should have offered to sell them to her!

    Bloody midlanders ;)
     
  7. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    I had a similar issue when I first tried "public" photography but fortunately it was less hostile.

    I went to a local skate park and hung out for an hour or two watching everyone skate and then finally took my camera out and took some shots.

    A few people did not seem to care but 2 or 3 got very upset demanding to know if I had taken and shots of them. One in paticular was ok with it once he found out I was not a professional or trying to sell the shots to a magazine or whatever but it was akward telling them that photography was "just a hobby" and these were for "personal use".

    I can understand why they would be bothered by it, I just wish that I had been prepared for a reaction like that. It put me off of photographing people in public and to this day I dont think I have taken and shots of someone on the street. This is something I am going to have to work on I think.
     
  8. Lol999

    Lol999 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, small town mentality I'm afraid. i'm going to have to try my luck in Sheffield some time.

    Cheers, Lol
     
  9. Mr_Jones

    Mr_Jones TPF Noob!

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    Really a shame that they got that upset with you. I usuall don't have problems with people. I usually catch their attention and politely ask them. I tell them that I won't be invasive and they're usually okay with that. Then again, I'm from the Twin Cities and they're extremely easy going people.
     
  10. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

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    So let me get this correct. You are in a cafe, you are sneaking photos of people without their permission, someone caught you doing this, someone gets upset, and now you wonder why or if you crossed the line.

    Maybe they were upset due to their privacy being violated. Maybe they were concerned with what you are going to do with the photos. Maybe there is a reason they don't want their photos taken. Maybe you should have asked permission.

    Maybe the laws in the U.K. are different as far as public places but I don't think because someone is in a cafe that you have the right to start snapping their photos without asking.

    Put their shoes on your feet. If you were out to lunch with your spouse, kids, parents, whoever. You see some guy hiding his camera on the table sneaking photos. You find out he has taken some of you, would you be upset?

    Ask permission, it's a lot eaiser than dealing with angry people and don't get me wrong, I know your pain. I have walked away from some good shots because I was told no.
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are two issues:

    Is what you did legal?

    Is what you did ethical and moral?

    They are not the same.
     
  12. JonathanM

    JonathanM TPF Noob!

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    OK, I don't like having my phot taken - thats why I like to be behind the camera. I wouldn't be happy knowing that I had been photographed in this way.

    OK you wanted candid shots, but putting law aside, was it beyond the realms of possibility that your targets wuld have refused consent if you had asked them nicely? Probably not. You don't know though because you didn't ask them.

    Your "discretion" was another persons "underhand" activity- their reactions extreme, but in response to what they may have found quite a threatening situation.
     

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