Street Photography

Yesterday`s lecture was about photo composition, and we discussed a few photos of – beside others like Vivian Mayer, who I think did some amazing things – our tutor, who is a professional photographer.

My favorite photo was that of a musician who is frequently playing under Waverley Bridge. I was astonished when the photographer told us that this man wasn`t actually aware that he was being photographed, and a discussion ensued about the ethics of photographing (and publishing photos of) people without actually making them aware.

I think at parties, the best pictures are those where the subjects are not aware that a camera is pointed at them, and when you photograph in public, you can rarely avoid strangers walking through it (or think sports stadium!). I don`t share photos on social media if they have other people in it, if they can be recognised. I don`t, for example, want to show a man who has phoned in sick at work, or who is holding hands with a woman who is not his wife. At parties, there seems to be a general consensus that, if you don`t turn away if smartphone cameras come out, you agree to have your pictures taken and also published on social media.

Law is that it is not illegal to photograph people in public places and publish the photos, unless you are indoors, in which case you have to ask permission.

Ethics, I think, are a different matter, but I was glad to hear this, as street photography is something I could see myself happily getting into – I`d love, for example, to photograph locals sitting in mediterranean cafes smoking a cigar or old ladies sitting in front of their houses peeling potatoes, yet, I never dare to ask permission. There is also a woman in the Royal Mile who I`d love to photograph and blog her but… Wait for it. One day, I will take her picture.


Lisbon, 2014. Smartphone photograph in sepia, with artificial motion blur added later on to anyone but my husband


16 thoughts on “Street Photography

  1. Charis says:

    This question was discussed very often, but without any consensus. I made fotos with our digicam in September at our street party and asked people, if they like to be ‘portraited’ … 😉
    Anyway, the fotos will be embedded in a paperback book for all, who like to have a souvenir for probably 4.50 €. The difficulty for myself was to ask the right way – indeed most of the people were astonished to be asked at all … (hope, my English sentences are correct?!)
    In my blog I was pointed to consider copyright of others as well as my own. I don’t publish fotos of others and rarely of myself in my blog, {better to send them via mail}
    EXCEPT Blogger-meetings 😀 :mrgreen:


    • culbia says:

      The book sounds a lovely idea!! Did anyone not want to be in it?

      I rarely publish photos of others, although I often want to photograph them. I`d however be embarrassed to do so openly. I wouldn`t like it vice versa, so I would have to do it in secret like my tutor did, and this would feel unethical…

      BTW, I often tend to think facebook is limited to my own friends, but I`ve seen crazy things happening there through photos, incl. someone finding out that the guy she was seeing for many, many years was married to someone else during all that time…

      PS: Do you have a blog here? I was looking for it, but can`t find it.

      Liked by 1 person

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