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Author Topic: discerning good images  (Read 21062 times)
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2010, 09:52:46 PM »
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I thought the key was to stop taking photos of shit you know is going to suck.  You don't try harder you just stop wasting your time with crap.  Frees you up to look for something new.  That said I just took my 1,000,000th photo of the same tree.  But I suck, so...
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stamper
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« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2010, 02:49:00 AM »
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Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
Rocco,

You've gotten some good advice here, but I want to add my own two cents.

It took me many years to get over the "trying harder" trap. After trying and trying and trying harder, I would finally give up. I didn't put the camera away, I just put my photography time into doing technical exercises (in those days largely to do with exposure, Zone system, composition, etc., etc.)


Then, after a period of not looking for masterpieces, I would suddenly see something that grabbed my attention, and I'd shoot it before thinking. And often those happy accidents turned out to be keepers.

But as soon as I started looking seriously for "great images" again, frustration started all over again. After many cycles of "trying harder" alternating with "not trying at all" (except the tech exercises), I finally realized that trying to make Art was my biggest impediment. These days I spend a lot of time just looking, but without too specific goals, and my hit rate is much higher than it used to be.

So I suggest you try taking your photography a little less seriously for a while and see what happens. So I'm really just echoing what Joe just said. Good luck!

Eric

This strikes me as being very good advice, something that I will think seriously about because I to have been feeling frustrated.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 03:02:40 AM by stamper » Logged

stamper
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« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2010, 03:01:25 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Stamper, Most of the people in my street photographs have no idea I've made the shot. It's a matter of timing -- something you have to practice and practice in order to get right. In this, the most recent one I'm satisfied with, not one of those kids saw me shoot. Of course it was very dark -- darker than it appears in the picture. Had it been brighter, someone would have seen me and the shot would have been different, possibly even impossible.

[attachment=21572:St_George_Street.jpg]

My favorite street lens is a 50mm f/1.4 -- on a full-frame camera. Sometimes I'll use a mid-range zoom, but the 50mm forces me to get in close enough that the perspective ends up right. The only time I crop is if I can't get to a point where I can compose what I want in the viewfinder. Lately I sometimes use an Olympus E-P1 with a 17mm lens, which, on the four-thirds sensor comes off as a 34mm equivalent.

The reason I don't ask permission is that a posed picture is very different from the real thing. I might have been able to get those kids to pose for me, but what I'd have ended up with is a picture of a bunch of kids going yah.. yah... yah. What I wanted was the interaction that was going on between the basketball player, the girl on the right edge, and the girl in front with the cigarette. You can't get that in a pose.

But, yes. There are places like your political rallies where street shooting is a joy. I shot this picture on St. George street in St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is a tourist town, and St. George street is a pedestrians-only thoroughfare -- a huge tourist trap loaded with shops and restaurants. Everyone's on vacation and at least half the people on the street are carrying cameras. It's a street-shooter's paradise because no one pays any attention to your camera. I can hang a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom on my D3, a combination that's huge and menacing, and no one even glances my way. There are other places, like downtown Colorado Springs, where everyone spots your camera right away. That makes life more difficult, but not impossible.

Very insightful! Thanks for the feedback. This why I stopped doing street photography and what passes for street photography for most of the time. A lot of people on the street seem to "know their rights" and believe you aren't entitled to take images of the public in the street. In the UK they are wrong but it isn't worth the hassle to argue with them. Some will even offer to take your picture with your camera if you wish. Usually one of the hooligan element. This means that an interesting type of photography is off bounds or it takes someone with confidence and a brass neck to persevere with it. The Edinburgh festival in Scotland in August is an exception. A couple of weeks of good opportunities to indulge in it.
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Rob C
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« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2010, 03:53:01 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Very insightful! Thanks for the feedback. This why I stopped doing street photography and what passes for street photography for most of the time. A lot of people on the street seem to "know their rights" and believe you aren't entitled to take images of the public in the street. In the UK they are wrong but it isn't worth the hassle to argue with them. Some will even offer to take your picture with your camera if you wish. Usually one of the hooligan element. This means that an interesting type of photography is off bounds or it takes someone with confidence and a brass neck to persevere with it. The Edinburgh festival in Scotland in August is an exception. A couple of weeks of good opportunities to indulge in it.





Ah stamper, there's the rub: I don't agree at all that we are all here as free models for any geezer who happens to want to snap us.

This has nothing at all to do with any laws that may or may not be in place, it has everythng to do with the freedom to walk along the street without being turned into an exhibit in someone's computer. Living in a tourist-cursed resort town (just outside it, thank God) I would be seriously hindered from going for a walk were I to give a damn about the folks setting up their master shot of the baby, the wife, the wench or even the 'mate' by the seashore. These people glare at you because you don't stop, stay out of their way until they have done with the maestro bit. Really? I should take an hour to accomplish a five minute route?

Keep the cameras in the wilderness or in the studio, in the toilet and even the boudoir, but out of my face.

Rob C
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stamper
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« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2010, 03:59:55 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Ah stamper, there's the rub: I don't agree at all that we are all here as free models for any geezer who happens to want to snap us.

This has nothing at all to do with any laws that may or may not be in place, it has everythng to do with the freedom to walk along the street without being turned into an exhibit in someone's computer. Living in a tourist-cursed resort town (just outside it, thank God) I would be seriously hindered from going for a walk were I to give a damn about the folks setting up their master shot of the baby, the wife, the wench or even the 'mate' by the seashore. These people glare at you because you don't stop, stay out of their way until they have done with the maestro bit. Really? I should take an hour to accomplish a five minute route?

Keep the cameras in the wilderness or in the studio, in the toilet and even the boudoir, but out of my face.

Rob C

Surely Rob in all of the years of you doing commercial photography you must have captured people in the background of one of your shoots? If you did them all in the studio, in the toilet and even the boudoir, you must have led a sheltered life or you were very shy?
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RSL
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« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2010, 06:10:40 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Ah stamper, there's the rub: I don't agree at all that we are all here as free models for any geezer who happens to want to snap us.

This has nothing at all to do with any laws that may or may not be in place, it has everythng to do with the freedom to walk along the street without being turned into an exhibit in someone's computer. Living in a tourist-cursed resort town (just outside it, thank God) I would be seriously hindered from going for a walk were I to give a damn about the folks setting up their master shot of the baby, the wife, the wench or even the 'mate' by the seashore. These people glare at you because you don't stop, stay out of their way until they have done with the maestro bit. Really? I should take an hour to accomplish a five minute route?

Keep the cameras in the wilderness or in the studio, in the toilet and even the boudoir, but out of my face.

Rob C

Rob, Easy with that "geezer" stuff. But seriously, you feel that HCB, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Andre Kertesz, etc., etc., were all doing something they shouldn't have been doing? I do agree about your impatience with people who expect you to avoid passing by while they take forever to frame the shot of their kids, but that's a different subject altogether. If I were to snap you on the street, there's almost no chance you'd have any idea it happened, so I can't see how the event would intrude on your life. To anyone who's really bothered by the idea of appearing in a street photograph I'd say, "Stay home. Don't go out unless you have an appointment with your psychiatrist."
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Rob C
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« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2010, 09:04:08 AM »
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stamper:

I have spent much of my location time trying to avoid the possibility of extraneous people intruding into my work; that's why I used to spend a fortune of client money going abroad to exotic places where this seclusion could be achieved.

Russ:

HC-B et al were doing what they were paid to do and probably had politically motivated reasons for doing it - they do all seem to have been quasi-communists and even declared ones; the Parisian slums, the bars and dives, the factories, the hookers they photographed were the breeding grounds for more of that ilk and I would be surprised if the proles weren't 'in it' to the hilt as well, and anything but exploited. Their photographic skills and observational prowess are to be admired, as are those different ones of James Bond, and my appreciation of what they did with a camera knows few bounds. (But that was then and this is now; life and mores change and wife-beating is a sin, as supporting Franco is now a sin whereas some thirty years ago it was the very opposite and one of the most common remarks old peole would make regarding those times was that they felt safe.)  I used to shoot  beautiful ladies without their bras or anything else, for that matter, and it was so very poular but, suddenly, it became forbidden and my market dived. Whereas porn shot through the roof, making me happy that my distance from that murky world led to my personal poverty!

So no, the psychiatrist can come to see me, not me go see him!

However, what both of you seem to miss or, more likely, prefer to avoid, is to acknowledge the fact that one should be free from the scrutiny of somebody lurking behind a bush with a camera. Yes, it is a skill, but it is an intrusion nonetheless. I am not fair game; I am a private person with an expectation that that be respected. I am not blind to the skills of the hunt, but I am not willing to be the prey, consciously or otherwise. That I might not know I have been shot doesn't mitigate the original offence.

Rob C

PS Don't you just love Mondays?
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stamper
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« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2010, 09:19:30 AM »
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Rob,
          you are a private person in a public place. If the laws allow it - I don't know about Spain - you will have to grin and bear it! As long as no one is pestering you by blocking your right to walk on the pavement etc etc then you will have to put up with it? Nowt you can do about it, at least legally. Any ways how do you know they are pointing their camera at you? They might be waiting for the grumpy old geezer to pass before pressing the shutter button? LOL
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RSL
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« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2010, 11:03:41 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
HC-B et al were doing what they were paid to do and probably had politically motivated reasons for doing it - they do all seem to have been quasi-communists and even declared ones

Rob, You're right about the communist cast. Even HCB. But you have to remember that those were the days -- the 20s -- when socialism seemed the wave of the future. Non-intellectuals embraced it because of the "to each according to his need" part. Intellectuals embraced it for two reasons: first, it seemed reasonable to them because they hadn't taken into account human nature and hadn't thought it through, and second because some of them, even though they saw the pitfalls, needed to put their fingers into the wounds to believe. They were the ones who countenanced millions of murders before some became convinced. You still can find many unconvinced "intellectuals" in university "social science" and English departments. Every day I thank God that I joined the air force instead of following my initial plan to become a professor of English literature.

But HCB at least wasn't paid for his street photography in the beginning. It was only after he'd been able to get a few of his pictures into magazines that he became a professional. Even then, the money wasn't the thing.

Quote
Supporting Franco is now a sin whereas some thirty years ago it was the very opposite

Seems to me that during the Spanish civil war only one side supported Franco, and the Americans, Capa for instance, who joined the fight joined it on the other side.

Quote
However, what both of you seem to miss or, more likely, prefer to avoid, is to acknowledge the fact that one should be free from the scrutiny of somebody lurking behind a bush with a camera.

I never lurk. I especially never lurk behind a bush. I wouldn't be able to get a decent shot of you that way.

Quote
I am not blind to the skills of the hunt...

Rob, it's not the skills of the hunt that are the important thing about street photography; it's the truths about human life. Take a closer look at the picture I posted in reply to one of Stamper's posts and tell me that the only significance in that picture is that it's the result of a successful hunt: antlers on the wall as it were. I don't believe you really believe that.
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2010, 02:51:29 PM »
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Quote from: stamper
Rob,
          you are a private person in a public place. If the laws allow it - I don't know about Spain - you will have to grin and bear it! As long as no one is pestering you by blocking your right to walk on the pavement etc etc then you will have to put up with it? Nowt you can do about it, at least legally. Any ways how do you know they are pointing their camera at you? They might be waiting for the grumpy old geezer to pass before pressing the shutter button? LOL



That's the whole point of the complaint: why should I have to grin and bear it? That's why some grin and bare it out the back of a bus!

: - (

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2010, 03:25:05 PM »
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[quote name='RSL' date='Apr 19 2010, 05:03 PM' post='360967']

"Seems to me that during the Spanish civil war only one side supported Franco, and the Americans, Capa for instance, who joined the fight joined it on the other side."

And ain't that surprising, when the 'other side' was the communists! Imagine Spain today if Franco hadn't triumphed!  

"I never lurk. I especially never lurk behind a bush. I wouldn't be able to get a decent shot of you that way."

I'm sure you don't - it was just a figure of speech.

"Rob, it's not the skills of the hunt that are the important thing about street photography; it's the truths about human life. Take a closer look at the picture I posted in reply to one of Stamper's posts and tell me that the only significance in that picture is that it's the result of a successful hunt: antlers on the wall as it were. I don't believe you really believe that."

If you look at the Is it Art section, you'll see that I started a topic on Street, wondering about both its function post shooting and suggestions as to why folks do it.

I admit freely that it has fascinated me all my life, not that I particularly wanted to do it, but the motivation for it in other people was the big question uppermost in my mind. The closest I ever got to doing anything like it was in Rome. I was staying with the family of a cousin of my mother's that lived there, and it was fully in the time of the Dolce Vita syndrome, and I think before the commemorative/eponymous movie. I had been asked along to a birthday party somewhere in the city one  night and I took along the camera and flash just for fun.  After the meal, when the thing was breaking up, my group went along the Via Veneto and we had a giggle pretending to be doing a paparazzo/starlet number: the pretty girl with the cousins walked briskly along with one hand over her face, the other outstretched towards me shouting no foto! no foto! After some of that, I walked along the other side of the road and stopped off at different café tables shooting God alone knows whom - all of those girls happy as hell to pull poses and smile their heads off at a total stranger. Amazing, the power of the camera to corrupt.

But that's not street, in the sense of Arbus or Winogrand or any of the latter day saints. It was more tabloid scandal stuff, which, you have to remember, had been mainstream in Europe for decades before it hit the UK. I'm not sure when it happened in the States - maybe the National Enquirer or something that sounded like that pre-dated the UK passion for pap. In Rome, the Burton/Taylor thing fed hundreds of snappers for ages - even made the negroni world-famous. And that was well before OK! or British Hola were even imagined.

Love photography, such a velvet emotion!

Rob C

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EduPerez
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« Reply #51 on: April 20, 2010, 02:37:48 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Quote from: RSL
"Seems to me that during the Spanish civil war only one side supported Franco, and the Americans, Capa for instance, who joined the fight joined it on the other side."
And ain't that surprising, when the 'other side' was the communists! Imagine Spain today if Franco hadn't triumphed!  
I hope you are joking on this one...
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stamper
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« Reply #52 on: April 20, 2010, 02:51:47 AM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
And ain't that surprising, when the 'other side' was the communists! Imagine Spain today if Franco hadn't triumphed!  

I hope you are joking on this one...

Quote

"Seems to me that during the Spanish civil war only one side supported Franco, and the Americans, Capa for instance, who joined the fight joined it on the other side."

Unquote

As someone who is well read on the subject I can state that this isn't remotely true. Only two countries supported the Republicans. Mexico and the USSR. The rest either remained " neutral" - thus supporting Franco by default - or directly supported Franco. Any ways this isn't a subject for a photographic site. The moderator will possibly pull the plug on an interesting thread?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 02:52:43 AM by stamper » Logged

stamper
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« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2010, 02:57:51 AM »
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Quote

That's the whole point of the complaint: why should I have to grin and bear it? That's why some grin and bare it out the back of a bus!

Unquote

Rob thanks for the "cheeky" reply. It is called democracy. I am sure that you in the past have upset some people with your photographic attempts?
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« Reply #54 on: April 20, 2010, 05:05:55 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Quote

"Seems to me that during the Spanish civil war only one side supported Franco, and the Americans, Capa for instance, who joined the fight joined it on the other side."

Unquote

As someone who is well read on the subject I can state that this isn't remotely true. Only two countries supported the Republicans. Mexico and the USSR. The rest either remained " neutral" - thus supporting Franco by default - or directly supported Franco. Any ways this isn't a subject for a photographic site. The moderator will possibly pull the plug on an interesting thread?

Edu, Stamper, I didn't say that "America" joined the fight on the other side. I said "the Americans" who joined the fight joined on the other side -- yes, the Communist side. There were several of them, including Robert Capa. Capa went as a photographer. Some others went as ambulance drivers, etc. Stamper, if you've studied the subject you must know that.

Correction: I tend to think of Capa as an American -- I guess since he landed with the Americans at Omaha beach on D-Day. But come to think of it, I don't know what his nationality was during the Spanish civil war. There were Americans there, though.
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stamper
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« Reply #55 on: April 20, 2010, 05:34:53 AM »
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Russ,
           your use of the word communist is a problem in this context. Franco tried to overthrow an elected Republican government, which was middle of the road in political terms. The communists fought for the Republican side to oppose Fascism. Most of the world didn't want to support the Republicans because of communist support instead they supported the Fascists. There are over 500 books in Amazon on the subject. I have 5 by my bedside. A complex subject that nobody can agree on. As stated the thread has went off subject.

BTW the Anarchists played a big part in opposition to Franco, many were  imprisoned and put to death by the communists who were dancing to Stalin's tune.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #56 on: April 20, 2010, 06:03:21 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Edu, Stamper, I didn't say [...]
Just to clarify, I was not commenting on your post, but on Rob's.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #57 on: April 20, 2010, 06:22:12 AM »
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And, going back to the subject of privacy and street photography... I am with Rob:

Even if laws allow me to take someone's photograph on any public place
  • , I am very reluctant to do so. Precisely because I prefer to respect everybody's concept of their own privacy, no matter how outrageous it may seem to me, and even considering that I do not care at all about appearing in somebody's else photograph. Now, another thing is when a security guard tries to convince me I cannot take a photograph outside his building...

  • Under Spanish laws, anybody (and almost anything) can be photographed while on the street; only the uses of such photographs are restricted: while journalistic purposes are allowed, commercial uses require authorization from the model.
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« Reply #58 on: April 20, 2010, 09:29:04 AM »
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Quote from: stamper
Russ,
           your use of the word communist is a problem in this context. Franco tried to overthrow an elected Republican government, which was middle of the road in political terms. The communists fought for the Republican side to oppose Fascism. Most of the world didn't want to support the Republicans because of communist support instead they supported the Fascists. There are over 500 books in Amazon on the subject. I have 5 by my bedside. A complex subject that nobody can agree on. As stated the thread has went off subject.

BTW the Anarchists played a big part in opposition to Franco, many were  imprisoned and put to death by the communists who were dancing to Stalin's tune.

Stamper, You're right, of course. On the other hand most of the people from the U.S. who helped during the war, and Capa, whom I suspect was either a Hungarian or a French citizen at that time, were, at least, socialists, as was Gerda Taro, the love of his life. People forget that in those days socialism and communism weren't such dirty words. On the other hand, supporting Franco as Rob pointed out wasn't all that bad an idea either. In the long run he remained neutral during WW II. As you say, the whole thing is complicated to the point of obscurity. Yes, these comments are off subject, but sometimes these side roads are interesting and worthwhile.
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« Reply #59 on: April 20, 2010, 09:35:14 AM »
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Quote from: EduPerez
And, going back to the subject of privacy and street photography... I am with Rob:

Even if laws allow me to take someone's photograph on any public place
  • , I am very reluctant to do so. Precisely because I prefer to respect everybody's concept of their own privacy, no matter how outrageous it may seem to me, and even considering that I do not care at all about appearing in somebody's else photograph. Now, another thing is when a security guard tries to convince me I cannot take a photograph outside his building...

  • Under Spanish laws, anybody (and almost anything) can be photographed while on the street; only the uses of such photographs are restricted: while journalistic purposes are allowed, commercial uses require authorization from the model.
Edu, It sounds as if Spanish laws are very close to U.S. laws on the subject. And, of course, you and Rob are right to avoid doing street photography since you feel people on the street have an expectation of privacy beyond what the law recognizes. But at the same time, I don't feel the same way, so I'm quite free to shoot a picture of you when you're on the street. I doubt it will happen, though. I think you can relax.
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