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By paulbroad
I wondered what the thought was on recording images such as this. (Any other comment too, of course.) The lad was a bit upset for a minor reason in our local Sunday market. Is it intrusion or a legitimate candid. This was shot from the hip with the SX40HS set to face finding autofocus and auto exposure. ISO100, about 1/600 @ f5.6. Aimed by guess. Slight crop, some burning in and dodging and a smart sharpen in CS3.


Tags: Portrait Close Boy Upset Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 9:56AM
Well its an excellent capture and really could only be a candid.
A lot of street photography is quite unkind and the subjects would not being too pleased with being photographed if they knew..
Is it an intrusion? I reckon it could be and could back fire on the photographer. Should you do it? Some of the best photographic images ever taken are candids - so in the pursuit of photography - yes do it.
I guess you need to be thick skinned or charming if you get caught in the act.
These are my thoughts, i hope you get more comment as its something that interests me.
This picture might look good in BW?

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paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 12:06PM
Thanks Ian. I am interested in the comment on this one more than usual. Unlikely to get caught with this camera as I've disabled shutter sounds so there is no indication at all when shot from the hip. I do a lot of this and have only been challenged a very few times in many years. Often at markets where, I suspect, those upset actually have something to hide. The tax man?

I just say I'm an amateur shooting for competitions and fun and it has never gone further. More worried, in our silly stupid modern society, about shooting images of children!

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
26 Oct 2012 1:08PM
I suppose that it is but as Ian says, all street photography (what a daft name) is, by its nature, intrusive.
Like yourself, I have a 'silent running' camera and have used it surreptitiously a few times but in reality, I find it almost impossible to bring myself to photograph people in the street as I feel that I'm intruding.
Having said that, I think that to some extent, it could depend upon the location. I wrote this a little while ago, then the following Saturday, I had a day out in London, where it was completely different.
Even away from the tourist bits, (I lived there for years, so I know where to go) people took no notice of me pointing a DSLR at them. It was the first and ony time that I've ever felt confident about photographing strangers.

Incidentally, I like your image. It tells a very familiar story. I've got a female version at home, just like it.
Briwooly 12 452 5 England
26 Oct 2012 3:31PM

Quote:Unlikely to get caught with this camera as I've disabled shutter sounds so there is no indication at all when shot from the hip.
that's the bit that worries me Paul by the very act that you hide the fact you are your taking the pictures you have made the decision that it intrusive. I think if someone took a picture of myself openly I would be fine but if I saw someone covertly taken shots of me I think I would be confronting them and asking why and if children were involved even more so

Brian...( ex Bos plant Grin )
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
26 Oct 2012 4:16PM
As it clearly shows the child in a way he can be identified, and he is the subject, not incidental, you would need to obtain permission to use this shot ethically.


paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 5:20PM
Hello Brian,

Candid potography goes back to the early days as you know, and if you make yourself known before shooting, then the shot is no longer a candid. Cartier Bresson was a past master. Robert Capa, his war shots are largly candid. I am interested in general opinion, but shooting without the subjects nowledge is the norm. You will be on lots of photographs without knowng.


I take your point but it is only in the last few years that anyone has bothered about shooting images of chidren in a negative way. About 30 years ago I won a competition in a national magazine with a back shot of two little boys having a wee. No problems.

Ethicly or legally? I think when you look at the pages of any newspaper, this image is pretty tame and I have to say I would exhibit it and use it as a news stock image. Legally, there can be no problem in the UK. You are legally deemed not to hold copyright in your own features, and thus can be photographed on public property without recourse unless there is a resulting breach of the peace. Could be of course if you are spotted.

It would be impossible to seek permission much after the event anyway. I have no idea who he was.

Progressing this further. Should we thus not take pictures which include someone elses house, car, boat or horse, dog etc. A human is just another mammal after all.

Where does it stop?

Briwooly 12 452 5 England
26 Oct 2012 5:57PM
Paul I've no problem with candid or street shot or whatever title you want to give them and have taken a few myself,the problem I have it the hiding of the camera and pretending not to be taking pics that's the bit that has me a little uncomfortable. And the fact something was acceptable 30 years ago does not make it acceptable today.
Can I suggest you open this thread in the forum and see what the wider opinions are I think it would be an interesting debate.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
26 Oct 2012 6:09PM

Quote:Can I suggest you open this thread in the forum and see what the wider opinions are I think it would be an interesting debate.

A good idea.
BarryC123 9 43 25 Ireland
26 Oct 2012 7:14PM
Intrusive ?
Well, yes.
That's sort of the point though, isn't it, when talking street/candid photography - you're photographing life, and life's not always nice and peachy, nor indeed are we all looking our best at every moment.
I'd definitely call this a legitimate candid.
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
27 Oct 2012 1:18AM
If you attend a photo ethics course, this would be tagged as unethical.

paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 9:24AM
I will open a thread in the forum. It's all a matter of pesonal opinion and who is making the decision I would think.

ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 10:54AM
I n my honest opinion, if you had a long zoom lens and no one knew you were taking the shot then that is maybe classed as candid, however if you went right up to the boy and his mother with a 50mm lens then I would say that would be in your face photography and totally unacceptable.
Photography is about capturing the moment in time and not all photos are happy ones, not sure on how i feel about this to be honest.
I am thinking also that there is no law as far as i am aware that dictates you cannot take photos on the street, saying that I have not done street photography as yet and if i did i think i would be polite enough to ask the subject if i could take a photo of them if they were ok and not crying, or i would try and be discrete and have a small camera with a good zoom for this type of photography, example the micro 4/3rd cameras and lenses are absolutely ideal for this as they are nice and compact to do the job without being too in your face.

We have all got to be a little careful these days as the government and do gooders sitting behind desks are all too happy and willing to take a little more freedom away from us so maybe a little bit of caution needs to be the order of the day.
SlowSong Plus
9 7.4k 30 England
27 Oct 2012 11:42AM
If I saw this image with no caption or explanation I'd just see a boy pulling a miserable face. Such a common occurrence that I can't see what the problem is.

It's not as if we know him or that anyone he knows is likely to see the image. And if you think it spares peoples' feelings by being covert then that's up to you. Having said that I prefer to be open about taking candids and have found that people rarely object if you're "up front".
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
28 Oct 2012 12:05AM
There's no privacy law in this country. I don't see how this could be labelled "unethical", merely a "slice of life". I think that while we don't expect to have our photo taken all the time, if you do something you don't want people to see, don't do it in public. The fact that Paul got so close in the first place suggests to me that they were too busy with their own affairs to worry about what other people saw or thought.

Using a telephoto zoom from afar or a wide angle from close up only changes the optical perspective, not the validity of the image.

I have no problem with the picture, other than I would have liked to have seen the adults face too, it might have added to the story. The boy looks too old to be throwing a strop, man up!

parob 7 3 74 France
28 Oct 2012 11:59AM
I'll join in the debate on Street Photography by referring to a very interesting explanation found on this London Photography Site: : An equally interesting point of view by Phi Douglis is found found on I'll quote a pertinent paragraph:
Quote:Some photographers think that 'street-photography' means just shooting pictures of people in public places. That is a very limited definition. For me, 'street photography' means telling stories. It means showing how people spontaneously react and interact in public places. And in telling a story about a few people, I can also try to make a visual statement about many people because my street photography can potentially express ideas that carry symbolic, as well as specific, meaning.

Regarding the submitted photo, I admire its quality, details, colour, as it stands! Carry on Paul, your views express quite correctly the frustration many of us feel. So, accept it takes guts to break down this supposed ethical problem. Let photography breathe!
xwang 9 56 8
31 Oct 2012 11:49AM
Hello Paul,
I don't know if this image is for the image itself or should or should not take it. I'm more bothered about the the "headless" lady than should or should not take the photoGrin. I wonder if the image could be cropped off at least 1/3 from the left, but I am not sure, if it was cropped, I wonder if the lady could be still identified as a human being... so, still don't know, but I've uploaded a MOD for you to have a look.
I just had a very brief read of the discussion above...I caught three words here: intrusion, ethic, legitimate.
Intrusion or not... Let's hope that we don't call taking photos of all strangers is intrusion, if it is so, there won't be any street photo anymore. People may like it or may not, but that is a different matter, because everybody takes their own image differently. In this case, I don't think it's that serious. He is a child, for a small matter, he wants to have a cry, so he did.. Kids do that,it's not a big deal, he may forget about it a few minutes later. Is it intrusion if one takes a photo when the child smiles? If not, what's the problem of a child is crying? It's part of human emotion, true to real life... the image is not misused, or leading to a negative effect on one's reputation..I think that's fine, not a big deal. I didn't see the adult ( presume it was his mother) took him that seriously either.
Ethic: This is a difficult one..this is towards moral principle, it is a larger area than legal matter. Normally speaking, moral standard is higher than legal requirement, but it has no legal obligation. It involves with customs, religions.. etc. But it also depends on which country when one takes photos..As you said, it was fine shooting images of children in a negative way 30 years ago. But nowadays, In UK, it become a topic, not only positive or negative, but also should or should not. We all know that it is a bit crazy, and it's a split issue. If the photographers are not allowed to take all children's photos apart from their owns.. a lot of the childhood images, art, would be lost in the human history...Is a painting allowed or not? So ethic or not, it depends on which group you want be in...I think that Willie mentioned " photo ethics course", they have to act very cautiously. They can only give out a guide line, they don't want to throw you into any kind of legal battle. Mainly different countries, customs, religions, ethic groups would react differently.
Legally speaking, you are under the English law. If you have studied, it is in the law, you are perfectly fine to take any photos freely. Continental law may require different obligations, US may differ from state to state, up to other countries.. they are all different. Mostly it's the financial matter. In this case, you didn't do any financial harm to this kid. I think it's fineSmile
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
31 Oct 2012 5:09PM
Hello Jas,

Thanks for your views. Spot on I think. Quite like your crop. Does pull in better on the lad.


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