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The ethics of candid photography


How do people feel about shooting pictures of people without their knowledge in public places. I do not mean when the shots are an obvious invasion of privacy, but when the subjects are showing themselves in totally public areas.

I have had interesting comments in American galleries on perfectly innocent topless beach candids in Majorca, including one site insisting that I removed my offensive material.

Others felt candid photography itself was aninvasion of privacy.

I feel that, providing th subject is not being ridiculed, then there should be no problem ?

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Big Bri 13 15.7k United Kingdom
8 Aug 2001 1:28AM
I often take candid photos of people I think would make interesting subjects, although I think you should take into account what the subject would think about being displayed in public. Sunbathing topless is one thing, having candid photos of yourself displayed in galleries or on the web is quite another.
If you don't think the person would mind, what's to stop you going up to them and asking ? I suspect it's because you know the answer !!!
Katie e2
13 76
8 Aug 2001 1:28AM
Personally i think you can gain greater emotion from a sujects face, or reaction from being in a certain environemt when the subject does not know that are being photographed. Often when you mention to "Joe Bloggs" on the street that you would like to take their shot, but you want them to act natural, afterall that is what drew you to the subject in the first place, then they immediately put on a false bravado. It could be unintentional, however it does spoil the mood of the shot.
I agree that in certain cultures and sensitve areas it would be more than sensible to ask, but for reportage photography my opinion is, if you want to capture the image you need it in it's raw stage.
anon 11 31
12 Oct 2001 8:43AM
I wonder where you stand legally if the subject objects to the use of a candid shot when they see it used?

Will we soon be forced approach the subject clutching a model release agreement once we've taken the shot?!
lubylou 13 14
13 Oct 2001 5:36PM
I dont think it would be much of a problem if using a digital camera, you could show them the shot, explain why you took then ask if they object, if they do simply delete it there and then
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
15 Oct 2001 5:47PM
That's true. I went to a fair the other evening and photographed stall holders in their surroundings. If anyone saw me I went up and showed them the image on the camera's preview screen and explained what I was doing. No problem. I was even asked for a copy by one of them.

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