Saturday, April 19, 2008


This young woman was sitting in a downtown plaza, writing in a notebook, on a pleasant spring afternoon. It was a quick snap. When I was editing the picture in Photoshop, I zoomed in to fix some details and found that she was writing in Spanish. A surprise - we don't have a big Hispanic population here, unlike many American cities. Perhaps she is a student or a visitor. I can make out some of it (my Spanish is weak but more than nothing) in the high-resolution original. You can't in this version and that's partly on purpose.

Some photographers talk about the ethics of what is called "sniping," taking photos in public without the subject's knowledge or permission. Does this picture violate her privacy? I found some personal information, her journal, but did not realize it until post-production. On the other hand, one of my photographer idols, Diane Arbus, said that "One of the risks of appearing in public is the likelihood of being photographed."

What's your view of photographing people in public without their permission?

TOMORROW: Jurassic Park


Lady Demeter said...

Well, I gues as long as you're no stalker or kind of those things it's ok. I mean you photograph this in no bad purpose and as long as you don't show embarissing things of people or other things, where you know that they don't want this on a photograph, it's ok.
sorry for my bad English

good shot by the way.
have a nice weekend :)

iBlowfish said...

Strangetastes, I know street shooting just like invasion of privacy but the thing is streets aren't privacy. Public places aren't privacy too. I never conceal my camera in public but always try to invisible when I need to shoot some picture. When they notice, I always smile and nodded my head then move on. I just love with street photography. Anyway, cool shot.

Jilly said...

Love this shot. Streets are public places and in my book, it's fine. I had a dilemma recently where I photographed a group on the beach in Menton - having a picnic. It wasn't till I got home that I found one of the women was enormous and so I've not put that photo on cos I felt some might think she was being ridiculed. In some ways that thought is crazy cos thin or fat, old or young, really street photography is the same thing. I've not yet published it tho. I normally avoid publishing street people (who beg) full face in case they get in trouble - there are perhaps boundaries we all make but we all make different decision.

Love your shot today, tho, Strangetastes. She's relaxed yet you can feel the energy she is putting into her writing.

Jing said...

just love her posture~~~

Brittany Kalaj Margulieux said...

that's an interesting idea [the quote] that i have absolutely never pondered before. thanks.