PortraitPro Flash Sale - 50% Off + Get An Extra 20% Off with Code: EZ89

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 ?

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Big Bri 19 16.6k 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 19 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 17 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 18 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 Plus
19 18.8k 97 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.
Just Jas Plus
18 26.3k 1 England
25 Feb 2015 1:41PM
Reminds me. Some years ago when one of the big trades exhibitions was on in London I was approached by our MD. Somebody had suggested to him that our stand was shabby compared to our competitors. So he asked me to go and photograph some of competitors stands for this to be judged.

I quietly moved around the stands unobtrusively taking my pictures, or so I thought.

All went well until I was about to photograph one particular stand. Suddenly the Sales Director leaped up on the stand calling me by name. He had been our Sales Director some years previous.

He lined up all his staff with him and insisted that I photographed the team. Which I did and sent them a copy.

I did feel somewhat caught out, however. Grin
themak 6 1.0k Scotland
25 Feb 2015 1:58PM

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

I'd agree with that if the person is part of a scene rather than the main subject.

TV companies seem to think it's OK to illustrate eg obesity with street footage, and although they tend not to show faces, I'm sure some people must recognise themselves and feel humiliated. Maybe not.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
25 Feb 2015 2:06PM
I'm a total hypocrite, I think some of the best photos of people are when they don't know there's a camera pointing at them. End of. I hate people taking my photo without my permission and wish there was one law for them and one law for me!
themak 6 1.0k Scotland
25 Feb 2015 2:12PM
I just noticed this thread is 14 years old!
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
25 Feb 2015 5:36PM
Part of the enjoyment I get is the interaction.

Carabosse 17 41.5k 270 England
25 Feb 2015 7:22PM
Gosh this thread pre-dates me on EPZ! grin-light.jpg

Candids are as the word implies - photos taken without the knowledge of the subject. Once the subject is aware of you then (IMO) it can no longer be described as "candid". It may be "street photography", or whatever, but it is self-evidently not candid.
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
25 Feb 2015 7:50PM
Yeh I don`t get the candid bit, same goes for candid portraits Smile

For me it would be pretty pointless.
Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
25 Feb 2015 8:27PM
It's because people will act differently when they see a camera. Do you think that your photo is an accurate representation of that woman and that's how she normally walks about or is it actually a shot of how she behaves when she sees a camera Tongue
Paul Morgan 19 19.5k 6 England
25 Feb 2015 8:34PM
It's because people will act differently when they see a camera

And so they should.

Life would be pretty dull if all we ever saw were the CCTV type pictures that many call street pictures.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.