Monday, June 4, 2007

Search For Justice

A homeless man, carrying all his possessions, walks past the St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton. This is an affluent suburb, full of shiny office towers and expensive houses. It makes me wonder where he was coming from and going to.

There are some ethical questions in street photography. I took this while seated in my car across the street. It's what some photographers call sniping, taking a shot of someone in public without their permission, a quick hit and run. The detail of the man's face isn't clear enough in this picture, but he saw me taking his picture and stared at me. There was no other contact between us. I felt uncomfortable, even a bit guilty afterwards. What would have done in the same circumstances?

TOMORROW: Which of these things does not belong?


Anonymous said...

He may have a reason to stare at you. His past might be the reason.

Abraham Lincoln's kidney stone attack...
I rolled on the floor, puked, screamed, and passed out. When I woke up the neighbor was gone.
Brookville Daily Photo

Anonymous said...

He stared because you took the photo. Such street photos are always very interesting but I have great problems to shoot them. I think the only way is to ask them or to do it secretely ...

Sally said...

Yes, it's a dilemma. Sometimes I shy away from taking a picture, but more often than not I go ahead. If I want a portrait I usually ask permission, but have also done reasonably close shots without I'm no good for an answer!

Ming the Merciless said...

It's probably legal but is it ethical? I struggle with this issue a lot and it is a tough one. Even if you have permission to do so, how would you get it in writing?

And then we have the other issue of "informed consent" which goes to whether the person can cognitively understand the consent to pose for the photo.

Anyway, you're the lawyer. You should know more than I do about this stuff. :-)

Homelessness is an issue is most city. It's really bad in Queens now. Guiliani chased them all out of midtown (quality of life issues...more like tourism image issues) so they all come out to Queens and Brooklyn.