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Author Topic: Happy couple?  (Read 378 times)

ahbnyc

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Happy couple?
« on: September 18, 2021, 11:55:44 pm »

I would appreciate any feedback, aesthetically and maybe more importantly whether it was obnoxious to take this in the first place -- I mostly photograph birds and the occasional landscape where this sort of thing is not an issue.  Obviously, the subjects were in a public place (Central Park in New York) and I am not sure they even saw me -- I was using a long-ish lens -- but I feel like maybe I was invading their privacy.  Of course I suppose the whole idea of street photography is taking pictures of unwitting strangers. Again, I am new at this and really not sure how to think about it.
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degrub

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2021, 12:27:34 am »

He appears to be looking directly at your lens.
Public place in US, i think there can be no expectation of privacy. I don’t think you can use for profit without their consent though.

There were a few threads, down in the coffee corner subforum i think, that discussed this a few years ago.
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RSL

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2021, 07:31:10 am »

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Russ Lewis  www.russ-lewis.com.

Chris Kern

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2021, 09:36:57 am »

I feel like maybe I was invading their privacy.

Excellent capture.  Good timing and composition.

The law in the United States follows a commonsense ethical doctrine: to invade someone's privacy, he or she must have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Shoot with a long lens at night into a window of a private home and the subject might plausibly file a tort claim against you (depending on the law in that state) for invasion of privacy.  I certainly wouldn't do it.  People in a public venue like New York City's Central Park have no reasonable expectation of privacy.  Obviously, if you feel uncomfortable photographing particular subjects without their knowledge, you can either refrain from doing so or ask permission.  For example, I won't shoot pictures of young children in public places if their faces will be recognizable without first asking their parents if it's okay.  I'm within my legal rights, but prefer not to do so.

ahbnyc

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2021, 11:58:26 pm »

Thanks for the feedback! My concern really was with whether taking pictures like this is right as a moral/ethical matter -- I agree that it is clearly legally not a problem. I think where I come out is that it is OK to photograph people in public places as long as they aren't aware that you are doing it or they clearly wouldn't mind if they were aware, on the theory of no harm, no foul.  But maybe that is a screwed up way of thinking.
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RSL

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2021, 08:22:29 am »

If you have this kind of problem you're never going to be able to do street photography.
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RSL

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2021, 11:21:25 am »

Here's another reference. Right here in LuLa: https://luminous-landscape.com/on-street-photography/
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Chris Kern

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Re: Happy couple?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2021, 12:06:10 pm »

My concern really was with whether taking pictures like this is right as a moral/ethical matter -- I agree that it is clearly legally not a problem.

Actually, I was trying to make the point that the legal rule in North America* encapsulates an ethical consensus regarding what is appropriate, which may usefully serve an appropriate source of guidance for your personal decision.  Of course, you may always impose a more restrictive regime on yourself to suit your comfort level.

Quote
I think where I come out is that it is OK to photograph people in public places as long as they aren't aware that you are doing it or they clearly wouldn't mind if they were aware, on the theory of no harm, no foul.

The first half of your formula sounds more useful to me than the second—if only because people who "wouldn't mind if they were aware" that you were photographing them probably would behave differently if they were aware.  The essence of "street photography" is capturing people interacting with each other or their environment during a fleeting and unguarded moment.  I've lost count of the number of my attempts at street photography that have been ruined because the subject(s) noticed I was pointing a lens in their direction and decided to help me out by striking an "appropriate" pose.

One of my favorite examples of the genre is Garry Winogrand's 1964 World's Fair, New York City, New York, perhaps because I spent a lot of time shooting pictures there as a teenager (albeit not anywhere as successfully as Winogrand):



If the subjects had been aware they were being photographed, they might well not have minded.  But instead of a classic of street photography, Winogrand probably would have wound up with tourist's snapshot of a bunch of other tourists smirking into the camera.

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*My understanding is that the Canadian and Mexican law regarding photography in public places is essentially the same as that in the United States.
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