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