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Author Topic: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?  (Read 2290 times)

jeremyrh

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Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« on: October 14, 2017, 01:05:08 PM »

I am thinking of doing a photoshoot with a model (ballerina) in a graveyard - Pere Lachaise in Paris to be specific. I am wondering if this is a bad idea - would it be seen as offensive, or bad taste by other people? What do you think?
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Telecaster

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 03:49:41 PM »

Depends entirely on the nature of the photos, Id say. Cemetery photography has been around as long as photography itself. Pere Lachaise likely has a policy or a set of restrictions theyd prefer you abide by. Id ask about it.

-Dave-
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Pickle

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 08:07:24 AM »

First up, the onus is on you to check any terms/conditions/restrictions on the relevant website - it's www.paris.fr/cimetieres

Second thing, what day do you intend to shoot?  Trying this on 1st November might cause significantly more offence than doing the same a week later.

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jeremyrh

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 11:18:23 AM »

First up, the onus is on you to check any terms/conditions/restrictions on the relevant website - it's www.paris.fr/cimetieres

Second thing, what day do you intend to shoot?  Trying this on 1st November might cause significantly more offence than doing the same a week later.
Commercial/professional photography requires a permit. My efforts are a long way from professional, though I have noticed that the jobsworths who police this sort of thing are poor judges, and tend to make an assessment based on the size of your camera and their mood at the time.

My question was more around do people think that the model would object (guess there's a way to find out...) and would onlookers be offended?
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David S

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 12:24:40 PM »

I would check with the model. Then you could decide what would be OK for you and the model to shoot in the graveyard. Is there a specific reason a graveyard is needed?

Dave S
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jeremyrh

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 12:46:44 PM »

I would check with the model. Then you could decide what would be OK for you and the model to shoot in the graveyard. Is there a specific reason a graveyard is needed?

Dave S

No need for a graveyard per se, but Pere Lachaise is conveniengt for me, and has some quite dramatic "architecture".
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tom b

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 11:20:24 PM »

Offensive, no.

The graveyard is a tourist attraction, think Jim Morrison of the Doors.

I'd be thinking more about location costs.

Good luck,

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Tom Brown

Otto Phocus

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 06:00:07 AM »

I think it would entirely depend on the shoot.

A model in a sexy outfit humping a tombstone would probably be offensive.
A model in an angelic outfit bowed in prayer would probably not be offensive.

Your shoot is probably somewhere in the middle.

Here are some questions for consideration

Are you singling out any specific grave to photograph?
Will any of the graves be identifiable? 
You mentioned architecture in your post.  Are you going to include any graves/markers in your shoot?

Please also consider your conduct while in the cemetery. It is more than just the shoot.
I do a lot of cemetery photography.  It is one of my favourite subjects.

The following are just some of the precautions I take.  These are mine and you may have others.

1.  I don't take photographs of people in cemeteries.  In this context, clearly your model would be excluded.  But I make sure that there are no people in the background.
2.  I avoid walking on the tops of graves
3.  I never place my equipment either on a grave nor on any grave marker
4.  I maintain a general respectful and quiet demeanor.  This is not difficult as that is my normal demeanor. This can conflict with some photographers interaction with models.  Many photographers like to keep the interaction between photographer and model light and fun. 

In such matters of ethics and demeanor, I recommend personalizing the experience.  Think of someone you highly revere. Imagine you are photographing their grave.  How do you feel about what you are planning on doing during the shoot?

Cemeteries are fantastic places for photography, in my opinion. But I never lose the human connection of what I am photographing.

Good luck with this.
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Pickle

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 08:46:26 AM »

Commercial/professional photography requires a permit. My efforts are a long way from professional, though I have noticed that the jobsworths who police this sort of thing are poor judges, and tend to make an assessment based on the size of your camera and their mood at the time.

My question was more around do people think that the model would object (guess there's a way to find out...) and would onlookers be offended?
The first part of the question is easily answered.  I think you understand how..

The second part of the question is more difficult to answer.  Offence is cultural and I have no understanding of how this sort of thing would be appreciated in France.  In some cultures there may be very little between, to use phrases already mentioned, "humping a grave" being sexually offensive and "angelic prayer" which could be interpreted as culturally exploitative (see Native American headdress discussions ad nauseum) and religiously insensitive depending on the exact details and circumstances involved.

If Pere Lachaise is conveniently located for you, then  guess you may be in the better position to determine the local attitudes?  I've photographed there, but never with a model. 

Once you start adding a model, tripod and lights/reflectors it becomes increasingly hard to justify the difference between a commercial shoot and a portfolio shoot with commercial production values.  Even more so if you are also a pro and it's then even more difficult to differentiate between a direct commercial shoot and a portfolio shoot with undeniable commercial value to your business.

I think you'd need to me more specific about the details if you wanted a specific answer.


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Alskoj

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 05:48:59 PM »

I think you're good to go.  Most of the people there are dead and shouldn't mind too much.
If you have a long lens (400mm on a full frame sensor for example), can you try a few shots with that?  I would love to see how that looks.
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algrove

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2017, 11:39:43 AM »

Do it in good taste. Love that place myself.
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Alskoj

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2017, 06:33:10 PM »

I think it would entirely depend on the shoot.

A model in a sexy outfit humping a tombstone would probably be offensive.

Too funny!
BTW,  my Dad died this year and his last words to me were... "you are no longer my son".  True story!
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 03:43:10 AM »

There is nothing you can do which will not allow someone who wishes to take offence to take offence. It's sad, but it's true. All you can manage is to take reasonable care not to be objectively offensive to a reasonable person, and forget the rest.

Jeremy
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(formerly kikashi)

Philmar

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2017, 12:38:16 AM »

Great cemetery - post your results for us!

petermfiore

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2017, 08:14:35 AM »

- would it be seen as offensive?

Not for the Residents!!

Peter

petermfiore

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Re: Photography in a graveyard - offensive?
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2017, 08:16:42 AM »

My Dad died this year and his last words to me were... "you are no longer my son".

A man with humor?

Peter
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