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Author Topic: From the tram  (Read 1503 times)
michswiss
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« on: July 03, 2011, 03:39:54 AM »
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1)


2)
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 08:20:51 AM »
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Both great shots that force me to spend much more than a second or two on them. Especially in #1, every face tells a story, including the nearest one in dark shadow.

Fine examples of your excellent vision!

Eric
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 08:29:25 AM »
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Fine shots, Jennifer. In the first one I almost can see you sitting there with the camera in your lap. None of the subjects had a clue. Walker Evans would applaud those two shots. Great catch in the expression of the woman in the second one.
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 11:25:49 AM »
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Yes, two cracking shots, as per usual from this lady.

Only thing, though: doesn't all this street stuff raise a moral question about using people like that? I know that I'd be pissed off to be shot without permission, but that's just me and some understanding about copyright, model releases, exploitation etc. but I think it a very delicate area. Shooting anyone with visible disabilities/peculiarities - à la Arbus - I find indefensible; making hunting games out of the poor isn't my idea of the high ground either, but I suppose many of them, should they see one doing it, could settle the matter in their own, practical way.

Does anyone remember the movie Hard Target? I find the morality issues pretty parallel.

Rob C
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 02:10:51 PM »
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Those are pretty muddy waters, Rob.  There are legal issues and then there are moral issues, and everyone has to decide the latter for themselves.  One of the reasons I rarely shoot images of people.  A local photographer who shoots for the newspaper has a policy of shooting first, and then approaching his subject to get their permission.  In this way he keeps the spontaneity of what he saw.  If people object or won't give permission, he deletes the image in front of them.  That's HIS way...

Mike.

P.S.  Those issues (such as they are) aside, very good work!
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 05:20:49 PM »
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Rob, Street photography has been going on at least since Eugene Atget. I've been doing it since 1953 and I can tell you that I've almost never had anybody complain, though I have to admit that at least 90% of the time the people I photograph never know they've been photographed.

You're not quite unique, but you're very unusual. The only other guy I know of who complained regularly about having his picture taken was Henri Cartier-Bresson. To me the real problem is with people like William Klein who shove a camera in peoples faces and photograph them in an agitated state the photographer himself has produced. Beyond that I don't see a moral question, and in the United States at least, there's no legal question as long as I'm on ground regularly accessible to the public. What is it about having your picture taken that involves a moral issue? You certainly don't believe a part of your existence is being captured in the image and stolen. What's being taken away from you in a photograph?

On the other side of the coin, your picture, presented to others, is a valuable service. It helps them understand how the other half lives. In fact, How the Other Half Lives was the title of a book of photographs by Jacob Riis, back in 1890. See... Even then people were interested in pictures of other people.

Mike, Your local photographer is never going to be a Weegee. It would be interesting to argue the point with him. As far as I'm concerned, once I trip that shutter, what I have in the camera is a work of art that belongs to me, not to the subject(s). And copyright law agrees with that point of view. Your local guy is never going to do very well with traumatic events like fires, shootouts or arrests. If I were his editor I'd be tempted to fire him.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2011, 06:15:04 PM »
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I just went back for another look at Jennifer's wonderful images and asked myself a couple of questions:

1. Are any of the people in these images portrayed in a way that could reasonably be considered demeaning or unflattering?  My answer: No.

2. Is there any resemblance between her style of photograhing people and that of Diane Arbus? A resounding No.

3. Would I be offended if she photographed me in a way that at all resembles anything she has posted on LuLa? Again, No. And I don't consider myself very photogenic (like HC-B I prefer the back end of the camera).

I think it should be clear from some of my other posts that my own photography tends to landscapes and abstract rather than street. But I do admire street photography that is done well, like Jennifer's.

Eric

P.S. In another thread soon I plan to post some "pure" street photography.
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michswiss
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2011, 08:10:36 PM »
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Eric has summed up my ethos nicely.  I normally try to treat my subjects such that they have pretty much his reactions to my shots.  At least points 1 & 3.  I doubt most people will be that familiar with Diane Arbus' work.   I also tend to keep to a "no bums or buskers" policy unless I can turn it into a complicit environmental shot.

For what it's worth though, it's always tough and often nerve wracking to shoot on the street.  It is something of an invasion, doubly so if you shoot primarily with short lenses.  But once you start, there's an energy to it that's addictive.  Maybe an adrenalin rush, maybe just becoming hyperaware of your surroundings.
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RSL
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2011, 08:29:38 PM »
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Jennifer, Hear hear! Eric's right on the money. I avoid the buskers too, but I don't avoid bums. I think I told this story on LuLa once before, but it was a while back: Several years ago as I walked along a street in Colorado Springs with my camera over my shoulder a hobo stopped me and said, "Take my picture." So I took his picture. Back in my office I made a 3 x 5 print of it and put it in a plastic baggie. For the next week and a half I carried the print when I walked the streets. Finally I spotted the guy again and gave him the picture. He looked at it, started to cry, and said, "That's the first time anybody's taken my picture in twenty years." For a long time I shot pictures of hoboes and made small prints to give to them. After a while the local hobos would be looking for me when I went out. I got some wonderful hobo portraits during that period, and, I think, raised a little bit of self-respect in some of those unfortunate souls.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2011, 08:32:15 PM »
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Quote
Beyond that I don't see a moral question, and in the United States at least, there's no legal question as long as I'm on ground regularly accessible to the public. What is it about having your picture taken that involves a moral issue? You certainly don't believe a part of your existence is being captured in the image and stolen. What's being taken away from you in a photograph?
<snip>
Mike, Your local photographer is never going to be a Weegee. It would be interesting to argue the point with him. As far as I'm concerned, once I trip that shutter, what I have in the camera is a work of art that belongs to me, not to the subject(s). And copyright law agrees with that point of view. Your local guy is never going to do very well with traumatic events like fires, shootouts or arrests. If I were his editor I'd be tempted to fire him.

Russ:  As I understand it, there are two separate issues.  Copyright law deals with who owns the images and what rights are assigned to any particular party.  Privacy law deals with whether or not the image had a right to be made at all.  We had a lawyer come and speak to our photography group last year, and while he brought several pages of notes, even he was quick to admit that the different acts were often confusing and somewhat contradictory.  He also asked us not to copy the notes he prepared as he couldn't be 'legally' certain they were correct.

Privacy laws are likely different in the US than they are in Canada, but to sum up in one sentence, as I understand it, a person's right to privacy is NOT superceded by a photographer's right to make a photograph.  So, if you're riding a bicycle naked down the street in a parade, you've obviously surrendered all rights to privacy, real or implied.  However, if I'm standing on a public sidewalk and shoot an image of you in your house through your living room window, then I've violated your privacy.  There are some gray areas as well.  If I make an image of a sidewalk café, then the people at the tables are in public view.  However, if I zoom in and focus specifically on a couple in quiet conversation seated in the corner, then by isolating them in the image I've violated their privacy.  Also, images don't need to be used commercially to be considered a violation.  Posting an image on your Flickr page of that quiet couple in the corner is, by law, a privacy violation.  That's the letter of it; practical application depends on the courts.  That's a quick overview as I understand it, and it may be wrong!

As far as newspaper photographer I mentioned, he was referring to casual candids he makes in the street that may or may not be chosen by his editor for use in the paper.  It's his policy and he doesn't need anyone else's approval for it.  You can see some of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/slamphoto/

Mike.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 08:34:45 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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michswiss
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2011, 08:43:46 PM »
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Russ, your example of the Hobos falls into that complicit environmental portrait area I was referring to.  I've done the same thing as you in terms of getting prints made afterwards and seeking the person or persons out to give as thanks.  I think it's a fine thing to do, especially if you take the time to actually interact with the person as another human being. 
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tom b
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2011, 08:54:44 PM »
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One of the young guys I paint with started painting portraits of an elderly man in a shelter. Suddenly he was dressing better and grooming himself more. He attended the exhibition of the paintings in a suit and had a great time, he was happy to be the centre of attention.

He passed away not too soon after the exhibition but his life had improved greatly as a result of the experience.

Cheers,
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 03:18:34 AM »
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Rob, Street photography has been going on at least since Eugene Atget. I've been doing it since 1953 and I can tell you that I've almost never had anybody complain, though I have to admit that at least 90% of the time the people I photograph never know they've been photographed.

You're not quite unique, but you're very unusual. The only other guy I know of who complained regularly about having his picture taken was Henri Cartier-Bresson. To me the real problem is with people like William Klein who shove a camera in peoples faces and photograph them in an agitated state the photographer himself has produced. Beyond that I don't see a moral question, and in the United States at least, there's no legal question as long as I'm on ground regularly accessible to the public. What is it about having your picture taken that involves a moral issue? You certainly don't believe a part of your existence is being captured in the image and stolen. What's being taken away from you in a photograph?

On the other side of the coin, your picture, presented to others, is a valuable service. It helps them understand how the other half lives. In fact, How the Other Half Lives was the title of a book of photographs by Jacob Riis, back in 1890. See... Even then people were interested in pictures of other people.

Mike, Your local photographer is never going to be a Weegee. It would be interesting to argue the point with him. As far as I'm concerned, once I trip that shutter, what I have in the camera is a work of art that belongs to me, not to the subject(s). And copyright law agrees with that point of view. Your local guy is never going to do very well with traumatic events like fires, shootouts or arrests. If I were his editor I'd be tempted to fire him.



“What is it about having your picture taken that involves a moral issue? You certainly don't believe a part of your existence is being captured in the image and stolen. What's being taken away from you in a photograph?”

Short answer: it’s being done without my consent.

“On the other side of the coin, your picture, presented to others, is a valuable service. It helps them understand how the other half lives. In fact, How the Other Half Lives was the title of a book of photographs by Jacob Riis, back in 1890. See... Even then people were interested in pictures of other people.”

I imagine that very few people are unaware of how the other half lives (so much so that most of us spend/have working lives if only to avoid falling into the shoes of the ‘other halves’); that such has long been presented in book form is no justification at all, just record of the fact that it is nothing new. Interest in other people? That’s the old debate about the public interest v. the public curiosity, which the tabloids, to their grim joy, use to exploit in order to stay in business.

I stress again that I have no intention of condemning Jennifer’s shots: I don’t think anything she has shown here is ever mocking or exploitative; if anything, there is often a smile and an easy going-along-with in her shots, it’s the ethic behind the whole idea of the stolen shot that disturbs me, and by stolen I think I feel the emotion of mild rape (you know, as in a little bit pregnant). Frankly, the legal position should have very little to do with it; it should be something that’s understood and, thus, respected as a person’s right to go about their way without being spied upon by earnest lenspersons enjoying their street safari. Isn’t the fact that street involves the very attempt at invisibility something that hints at its somewhat doubtful rôle?

As for shop windows – that’s possibly the dream of every window dresser in every land! “Please, choose mine!”

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 03:22:02 AM by Rob C » Logged

RSL
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2011, 07:01:15 AM »
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Isn’t the fact that street involves the very attempt at invisibility something that hints at its somewhat doubtful rôle?

Not at all. The only way you can capture a scene the way it is, instead of the way it becomes after you've stirred things up, is to be -- well, not necessarily invisible, but non-threatening and easily ignorable -- just part of the furniture. In fact, one way to get in trouble on the street is to try too hard to be invisible.
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2011, 07:15:24 AM »
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Mike, Happily, the U.S. hasn't gone as far in the privacy area as it appears Canada has. The best summary of U.S. law I know of is by Bert Krages. You can see it and download it at http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm. In the U.S. I have every right to shoot that couple in the corner of the sidewalk cafe and sell the result as a work of art, though I don't have a right to shoot them through the window of their home.

By the way, I like your guy's work, and I'm glad to hear he doesn't ask the guy doing the perp walk whether or not it's okay to keep the picture he just shot.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 07:24:49 AM »
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Mike, Happily, the U.S. hasn't gone as far in the privacy area as it appears Canada has. The best summary of U.S. law I know of is by Bert Krages. You can see it and download it at http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm. In the U.S. I have every right to shoot that couple in the corner of the sidewalk cafe and sell the result as a work of art, though I don't have a right to shoot them through the window of their home.

By the way, I like your guy's work, and I'm glad to hear he doesn't ask the guy doing the perp walk whether or not it's okay to keep the picture he just shot.
+1.

Eric
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2011, 09:16:41 AM »
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Rob, Here's a suggestion: See if you can find a copy of Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Westerbrook and Meyerowitz. In my not at all humble opinion it's a good read, and it covers the subject very well. The book surely would help you appreciate what street photography's really about. Unfortunately, the book will have to come from the library. It's long out of print, and, looking at Amazon's listing, at the moment used copies start at $140.93 and top out at $473.15.
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2011, 10:01:31 AM »
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Rob, Here's a suggestion: See if you can find a copy of Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Westerbrook and Meyerowitz. In my not at all humble opinion it's a good read, and it covers the subject very well. The book surely would help you appreciate what street photography's really about. Unfortunately, the book will have to come from the library. It's long out of print, and, looking at Amazon's listing, at the moment used copies start at $140.93 and top out at $473.15.




Russ, believe me, I know what it's all about; my question concerns its morality, not its look nor, really, final purpose; and yes, I believe they are seperable things, purpose and the doing.

I make no whited sepulchre claims here - I've been as guilty as the next of doubtful acts.

Rob C

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