Wednesday, June 09, 2004

street ethicette

I can feel another little moral crisis coming on.
I bumped into a friend - another photographer - who said she was glad she'd met me because she'd photographed me earlier in the street whilst I was photographing something else and I'd moved away too fast for her to ask if that was OK. after reading my incomprehension, she said she always approaches people she's photographed to ask if it's alright with them - whereupon I rapidly deflected her tacit "don't you do that?" into some joke about catching up with people on trains and buses and in crowds. but, really, if it's wrong to photograph people unawares and unconsenting, then the vast majority of documentary photographers and photojournalists couldn't do what they do.
I do half-remember reading an article somewhere not so long ago about a rather famous French photographer being sued for a huge amount of money by someone in one of his (rather famous) street photographs who was maintaining that she, as subject of the photograph, was entitled to a share of the money he'd made from it.
she had a point, I thought.
for sure, most people, in my experience, enjoy a photographer's attentions. but some don't (I don't, actually). oh, these endless moral mazes!

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