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Old Sep 23, 2009, 9:33 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Chato;1003102]
Now in our age, everyone is photographed All The Time by stores, by building owners, by the government. Do people care? Do these photographs in some manner, don't count? And is anyone naive enough to believe that these images can't be posted on the net - But in THIS case totally anoymously, with no recourse of the subject to claim legal damages?

There have indeed been cases where victims have collected, and employees fired for just such shenannigans. Government and business owners who do this are bound by ethics standards, and there is recourse if abuse takes place.
The difficulty for the subject, is finding out that the abuse of power took place in the first place.


The Mob doesn't scan the net looking for victims, and if they did, how would a photograph of a person, tell them where the person was?

Are you ablolutely sure of this? No, and you can't be. You would probably be amazed at how much information can be dredged up from public sources on just about anyone or any subject, mostly because people tend to think, like you, that it is harmless to post it.

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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:38 PM   #12
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I always let people know they have been photographed, either before of after the shot. What is done with the picture after that depends on the person's response to being photographed. This is just how I prefer to do street photography, doesn't mean everyone has to do it my way.

On the legal side of this subject, one should be careful that a picture they take doesn't cause the subject harm insome way. Problem with the issue of harm is, who is to say what is harmful and what is not harmful. Usually the lawyers and courts, a place I don't want to go and have this discussion. Another legal issue not brought up so far is; what if you get a picture that makes you money selling in galleries like hotcakes. It is (is the USA) legal to photography people in public but it is a whole different story if you make money from a picture of someone without a signed release form.

Street photography is fun but as with all things fun some caution should be used while shooting.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:16 PM   #13
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Finally some good responses. I agree that there are places where it can be expected pictures will be taken, and I suppose even posted on the internet. Events which draw the masses will draw the cameras. And I imagine there are some people who avoid such gatherings or places which are too public for their liking thus avoiding the camera nuts. But just walking down the street or sitting outside your dwelling is not the place I would expect someone lurking with a hidden camera or sitting in a car taking sneeky pictures, to be. It might not have a law yet to make it illegal, but that will come in time. There is certainly a moral issue. What gives any person the right to put the spotlight on someone else without their permission?
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 8:47 AM   #14
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A very interesting topic, and one that often comes up on forums which are more street-photography oriented.

If you are harmed by the picture then you have recourse under the law as it stands.

If I take a picture of you in a public place and post it on the internet how are you harmed?

You make many claims about it being immoral but on what grounds? Just because someone somewhere might have something to hide that might possibly be exposed on the internet at random? As a previous poster said, if that is your argument you are going to have to start banning an awful lot of things. Should I be banned from mentioning that I happened to see so-and-so at such-and-such a place? After all, you never know who might overhear me and perform some nefarious action off the back of that information.

There would be three very grave consequences of you getting your wish to have street photography banned:

Firstly, if you are going to stop people from taking pictures in public then you are going to threaten a whole range of liberties that are fairly fundamental to our society. It would make a free press almost impossible for a start.

Secondly, you will effectively outlaw the creation of much photographic art. Assuming such a law had been in force for the last hundred years the following names would be unknown:
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastian Salgado, Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand, Elliot Erwitt, Andre Kertesz, Robert Capa, Frank Weston, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Martin Parr, ...

And that only covers some of the books in my paltry library. That list could be extended to hundreds or thousands of names and take a far more thorough scholarship of art photography than I possess. Perhaps you do not regard the loss of such treasures as significant, but it weighs very heavily with me.

Open societies permit a lot of things that some people find distasteful (for whatever reason). I happen to find a great many things that people are allowed to do in public distasteful, but the banning of such things leads to a closed and intolerant society. The banning is a much worse evil than that which it purports to cure.

Thirdly, a strong argument can be made that a great deal of good can come from documentary photography done outside of the strict confines of photojournalism. The work of photographers who document local areas and communities can have a contemporaneous social impact, and equally provide a fascinating and important source of information for future social historians.

Go have a look at the FSA website archives. Would we have all been better off if those pictures had not been taken? How about Steve McCurry's iconic picture of the Afghan girl with the green eyes for National Geographic? Or the amazing work of Jacque Henri Lartigue? Should we have stopped Diane Arbus dead in her tracks?

I understand that some people get wound up by having their picture taken in a public place without their permission. I don't understand why it bothers them, but I accept that it does. Perhaps it has something to do with an innate belief that something has been taken from them. Do you find it very objectionable if people look at you for more than a second or two? I would love to know why it bothers you so much, because I feel that you have expressed it poorly. You say it is immoral but not why you think it so.

Why should I have the right to take photographs of people in public places? Well, the right to do such a thing comes from the principles of an open society. I should be allowed to do whatever the heck I like as long as I do not harm other people in the process. My right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose. But you have not made a convincing case that harm comes from taking or posting pictures and why it should be allowed in some cases e.g. security cameras, but not in other cases e.g. documentary purposes, art, journalism.
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 8:47 AM   #15
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It might not have a law yet to make it illegal, but that will come in time. There is certainly a moral issue. What gives any person the right to put the spotlight on someone else without their permission?
Here is where I strongly disagree. I sincerely hope there is NEVER such a law. You speak of morality - morality should NEVER be legislated. This is an interesting discussion, but government should not dictate behavior unless and until their is a compelling need to do so. The fact that someone "doesn't like it" isn't a compelling need. If there are statistics showing a great number of people are actually being harmed by this, you haven't presented any such evidence. But morality? Do we then legislate against swearing in public because that's offensive? Do we then legislate against same-sex couples because that's offensive? How about unmarried couples living together? Let's legislate that too - it's morally offensive.

It's all fine and interesting to discuss how people should behave and what lines they should follow in their photographic endeavors but that's a far cry from arguing such behavior should be legilsated because you are morally opposed to it.

If you want to legislate it for safety reasons then by all means show some data that says there's a need for such legislation.
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 9:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Calicajun View Post
what if you get a picture that makes you money selling in galleries like hotcakes. It is (is the USA) legal to photography people in public but it is a whole different story if you make money from a picture of someone without a signed release form.

Street photography is fun but as with all things fun some caution should be used while shooting.
"Commercial purpose" is not defined as selling an image in a gallery. It is the use of the image which links YOU to the selling a product. Such use ties the person to the product, and you need a release. You do NOT need a release if it's simply used as a form of art.


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Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
Are you ablolutely sure of this? No, and you can't be. You would probably be amazed at how much information can be dredged up from public sources on just about anyone or any subject, mostly because people tend to think, like you, that it is harmless to post it.
Actually I am SURE about this. There is a mathamatical possibility that such an event could occur, but as Bynx as shown in another thread, even though he's famliar with New York, he couldn't place the location of subjects. And what if he could identify someone at the statue of liberty, or some midtown location? Does that mean the person lives there? Hangs out there? And what makes you think that someone scanning the net could even recognise a person. I've worked in a field related to law enforcement, and the question is Not realistic. Statistical possibilities have not succeded in me winning the Mega Millions.


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Originally Posted by Hawgwild View Post
I agree in principle with you, Bynx. I also agree with Dave. As a US citizen, I can expect privacy in my own home, with the blinds drawn. Almost everywhere else, I am fair game. Recently in my town a man was brought to court for an "upskirt" view he took at a local bookstore chain. He was basically let go, because the law was too vague. Naturally, the young lady was upset, but to no avail. It was determined that, although he acted like a jerk, she had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a bookstore, which is a public place.
The law is murky on this. But if you stick a camera in a bag, and go around shooting under womans skirts, you have presented the authorities with a prima facie case of violating privacy. And even if you don't go to this extreme, such an image can be proved to be "causing harm" and if posted or printed can put the photographer in legal problems.

***************

Many of these objections that I've quoted can also be used as arguments for banning quite a few other things then just photography. No one has ever claimed that life is without controversy. No solution to life exists if you want total privacy from photography - Without banning photography itself.

To a great extent, the law is more aggressively enforced in England, where the police can and do randomly stop photographers all the time; yet it's estimated that the average Londoner is photographed over 400 times a day by government cameras alone.

Out of site out of mind?

The Net is actually a red herring. It did not qualitatively change the problem; merely brought the problem to the attention and paranoia of the public. More so because of child abuse and terrorism then anything else. Photography has always been rediculously popular. Does it matter if your image is on the net or a magazine with a circulation of millions?

Bynx just photographed himself, and without much thought posted this photograph on the net. What if I copied it, and posted it with the title:

"Half naked pervert prepares hidden camera to photograph woman undressing?" (I'm not very creative, let someone else make up their own title - The image is located in the weekly challenge section)

We have laws on the books which protect people from "harm." I have no trouble with those laws.

Now in my case, ninety percent of the time people are well aware of the fact that I'm photographing them. Sometimes they are not. So what? My work does no one any harm, and I am violating neither the law, NOR morality by taking them. The fact that they might be in a book, or a collection of images for sale, does not change this.

Unless you believe that your image itself has a life of its own, no other answer is logically possible. If you choose to be in public, you have chosen to be seen in public, and I fail to see the difference between mere numbers of possible viewers - None of whom give a damn about you personally.

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Old Sep 24, 2009, 11:44 AM   #17
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I hope this doesnt become a personal thing. Before your series of Street Photography it never occurred to me to think of anything being off limits to what can be posted in a photo site or any other site for that matter. But after looking at the first couple of your posts I started to feel uncomfortable looking at average people minding their own business. It made me think what if it was me or my kids or someone else I cared about. I dont know why Im angry about this but I am. Im not ticked that you took the pictures. Some day a few years down the road they might be a valuable record of a time and place long gone. But now these people live where you shot them. What I am ticked about is you posted them and your arrogance in your belief you can do whatever you want with images of others. If you want to post people on the net for everyone to see use people you know. Your family or your friends are probably just as human looking as the ones you have posted. Then at least, we know you have some kind of permission from them to post. Street scenes where people are just part of the overall scene and not the main focus would be ok. But in all your posts these strangers are the subject and it just doesnt seem right. And just because there isnt some cop telling you to stop doesnt make it right. One thing I dont understand is the apathy by the many readers of this site who have read the posts on this issue and have said absolutely nothing. A few at most have somewhat agreed, but in a vague manner. Your arrogant manner is similar to the way smokers used to think a few years ago. They could smoke anywhere they like, butt out anywhere they wanted to and didnt give a damn about anyone else but themselves because there was no law to tell them otherwise. Well look at them now. I hope the same will apply to individuals photographing others without their permission and making those pictures available to the masses. You might have the right to do it now. But I sure as hell hope that stops soon. And if it ever comes to a law being written to do that, you only have people like yourself to thank for it.
After reading Craig's post it did make me want to clarify one thing. Its not the taking of the pictures of people Im opposed to. Its the instantaneous posting of those pictures on the internet. What gives you the right to do that?

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Old Sep 24, 2009, 12:22 PM   #18
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All,

I'm going to say this publicly. Everyone has the right to their opinions but the personal attacks are going to come to a stop right now.

As for apathy, it is possible a lot don't have an opinion. It's also distinctly possible those that disagree with you prefer not to post for fear of personal attack by you.

People should be able to post an opinion without fear of anyone attacking the PERSON.

So, take a step back, take a deep breath and leave the cussing off the boards and try and refrain from personal attacks. Otherwise threads will be closed.

Keep it civil, forget the swearing and no more personal attacks.

Thanks
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 12:49 PM   #19
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Well it's the same thing.

A free and open society should give him the right. But that freedom is certainly on the wane and indeed smokers are now persecuted unnecessarily. I detest the smell of cigarettes, but in open spaces there is essentially zero evidence that it does any harm.

You may be correct that it will increasingly be seen as socially unacceptable. Certainly taking pictures of other peoples' children is now very much frowned upon for absolutely no good reason that I can see.

In practical terms however it is impossible to distinguish in court between public pictures that happen to have people in them, and those where the main subject is a person. Therefore such laws as you postulate would be unenforceable and end up with total bans on photography. The distinction between the internet and other public displays is also fraught. Would it be okay to make a print and put it on public display? What if that display was in a busy train station where ten times as many people saw it as would see it on the internet?

Passing bad laws brings the law into disrepute and ends in anarcho-tyranny; where laws are arbitrarily enforced upon people based on malice or complaint. Arguably we are close to that in many respects already. When everyone is breaking laws every day you are at the mercy of the establishment and the mob.
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 1:12 PM   #20
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Well it's the same thing.

A free and open society should give him the right. But that freedom is certainly on the wane and indeed smokers are now persecuted unnecessarily. I detest the smell of cigarettes, but in open spaces there is essentially zero evidence that it does any harm.

You may be correct that it will increasingly be seen as socially unacceptable. Certainly taking pictures of other peoples' children is now very much frowned upon for absolutely no good reason that I can see.

In practical terms however it is impossible to distinguish in court between public pictures that happen to have people in them, and those where the main subject is a person. Therefore such laws as you postulate would be unenforceable and end up with total bans on photography. The distinction between the internet and other public displays is also fraught. Would it be okay to make a print and put it on public display? What if that display was in a busy train station where ten times as many people saw it as would see it on the internet?

Passing bad laws brings the law into disrepute and ends in anarcho-tyranny; where laws are arbitrarily enforced upon people based on malice or complaint. Arguably we are close to that in many respects already. When everyone is breaking laws every day you are at the mercy of the establishment and the mob.


But such principles are no longer much in fashion.
It seems to me that some feel that an image of a person is qualitatively different then the actual public appearance. That in some strange and undefinable way it is, in and of itself, and invasion of privacy. To my mind, this is merely one or two steps removed from believing that an image steals the soul. The proposed remedy being to ban a recognised form of art, and all the great artists who have popularised such photography.

A search on Google for "Street Photography" +"Books" gives me over a hundred thousand hits. And here we are with some people proposing a ban on such photography and on such books. Perhaps a book burning is in order? Perhaps we can dance around a fire and destroy these harbringers of ourselves?

A glance at newspapers, talk shows, etc, etc, shows the irrational becoming more and more acceptable.

Some have tried to come up with "reasons' for banning this photography, other then the mere privacy issue. The mob will get them. Abusive husbands will get them. Can they come up with links for this kind of behavior? Reports? Studies?

Many people on this board post pictures of their family, themselves, freinds, neighbors - There's a forum right here on these boards where this is done. Are these people invading their own privacy? The privacy of their neighbors? Their children?

If banning pictures of people becomes the law, how will such a law deal with the people I mention above? Jail them? Demand they produce release forms?

Fighting reality is a losing proposition.

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