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The Amazing Stories Behind Pictures: Places, Events, Poetry, Works of Art Some pictures have far more to see than what is immediately obvious. It's also a window and a library of whatever went before. Tell us this and so we'll be taken beyond the picture deep into the nature and feelings that will buttress the pictures and pull us to come back.

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  #1  
Old December 27th, 2015, 01:40 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Default The ethics of photography

When do we say "That's enough"?

The invasion of privacy, the ridiculing of the life of another, the exposer of women to the demeaning nature of men, the destruction of innocence, the willful exploitation of the vulnerable, the photograph in the name of art.

wWhich layer do you operate on.
Do you see this as an aesthetic use of the elements of design.
Do you ask what lens was used?
Have you questioned the right for this woman to clutter the street?
Would you consider asking her if the photo could be taken?
Would you offer her a feed, a home,?
Or would you pass her by as if she never existed?
Perhaps you might stop and talk, gather a story, show interest in her.
Did you consider she is someone's daughter, mother, sister?
What circumstances got her here?

Or is it just another photo for the forum?

Who knows, who cares?

_DSF6147 by Tom Dinning, on Flickr
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  #2  
Old December 27th, 2015, 01:46 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
When do we say "That's enough"?

The invasion of privacy, the ridiculing of the life of another, the exposer of women to the demeaning nature of men, the destruction of innocence, the willful exploitation of the vulnerable, the photograph in the name of art.

wWhich layer do you operate on.
Do you see this as an aesthetic use of the elements of design.
Do you ask what lens was used?
Have you questioned the right for this woman to clutter the street?
Would you consider asking her if the photo could be taken?
Would you offer her a feed, a home,?
Or would you pass her by as if she never existed?
Perhaps you might stop and talk, gather a story, show interest in her.
Did you consider she is someone's daughter, mother, sister?
What circumstances got her here?

Or is it just another photo for the forum?

Who knows, who cares?

_DSF6147 by Tom Dinning, on Flickr
All of the above and then have angst for what I did and did not do!

Tom, there's no way around the fact that we exploit, whether or not we ask permission. Folk have no clue as to the power of the lens!

Asher
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  #3  
Old December 28th, 2015, 12:36 PM
charlotte thompson charlotte thompson is offline
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Location: Katy, Texas
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I think Asher said it well! "The power of the lens" or of many other mediums all of which explain or otherwise elect to do so.

Charlotte-
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  #4  
Old December 28th, 2015, 05:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Tom,

It's interesting that you ask about this lady's situation, on the ground with a few meager possessions. It is such a scene that got me photographing women.

I pointed out one young woman with provocative attention drawing clothing on her young figure, suiting exhausted and forlorn waiting for a lady bus at 2:00 am, her head in her arms. I pointed her out to my wife as we passed. "How did she get to this?"

"She made her bed!" Was the response. At that point o decided I would try to understand the social stresses on a sampling of young adults to find out more of their pressures and how they get to make life decisions. Who brought them up? What encouragement was there? What role models? Any abuse? Who blocked them and who provided solace?

I haven't as yet completed the work but have learned a lot and Christmas time I get call as to how I am doing and love to my wife and good wishes for the new year!

I never did discover a person so distraught as the one that sparked in me a desire to understand this group of young people, but I do have a lot more understanding of the challenges that face women in moving from their parents home, good or bad to being Independant and fulfilled with their path in life.

Asher
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  #5  
Old January 1st, 2016, 02:57 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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There was weekend when visiting a city many years ago, I spent a day doing street photography. The location was a green patch opposite a Salvation Army shelter where about twenty homeless men congregated. A three-legged dog that ran around clearly belonged to one of them. I unleashed my trusty Nikon F4, shot a roll of film of the sociable dog, got a couple of dozen prints developed at a 1-hour lab, and returned to the green to give the prints to its owner. The outcome was that these homeless men adopted this stranger with a camera for a day.

They told me candidly why they came there - to winter in the warmest part of Canada - the circumstances they left behind, their hopes for the future. They let me see drug deals going down, played some games of chess, warned me to move away down the road when the police came to take away those boozing in public, taught me the "homeless handshake" and hugged me when I finally left.

The only photos I took that day were of the dog, the only physical mementoes the negatives. To photograph those homeless men, who certainly would have given me permission, seemed entirely inappropriate and unethical. You don't exploit people that way. They were friends, if only for a day, not specimens in jar for others to examine closely for the sake of art or entertainment. For those reasons, I never was tempted to photograph street people or their counterparts again.
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Old January 1st, 2016, 09:44 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
There was weekend when visiting a city many years ago, I spent a day doing street photography. The location was a green patch opposite a Salvation Army shelter where about twenty homeless men congregated. A three-legged dog that ran around clearly belonged to one of them. I unleashed my trusty Nikon F4, shot a roll of film of the sociable dog, got a couple of dozen prints developed at a 1-hour lab, and returned to the green to give the prints to its owner. The outcome was that these homeless men adopted this stranger with a camera for a day.
I know that Robert Watcher returns sooner or later and brings the folks their pictures! But you just photographed a dog! It would be great if we all made a point of returning with pictures. Perhaps I should carry a camera with instant film, just to give prints away!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
They told me candidly why they came there - to winter in the warmest part of Canada - the circumstances they left behind, their hopes for the future. They let me see drug deals going down, played some games of chess, warned me to move away down the road when the police came to take away those boozing in public, taught me the "homeless handshake" and hugged me when I finally left.
This is a great story! You had yourself a ball! The major things was that you and the homeless folk felt safe. That trust is key!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
The only photos I took that day were of the dog, the only physical mementoes the negatives. To photograph those homeless men, who certainly would have given me permission, seemed entirely inappropriate and unethical. You don't exploit people that way. They were friends, if only for a day, not specimens in jar for others to examine closely for the sake of art or entertainment. For those reasons, I never was tempted to photograph street people or their counterparts again.
Here's the rub, Michael!

I am guilty of taking pictures of homeless folk, like one takes pictures of a decaying weather beaten wooden hut, falling to pieces. It is part of our failure. Is it exploitative? Well everything we do is in some way exploitative. So how do we divide between what we can do, what we must do and what we shouldn't do?

What we must do is hold up a lantern to our society and the environment over which we have stolen dominion from nature itself. That, however cannot be used as an excuse for humiliating a homeless person, poking a camera in the fellow's face.

I believe that if one is easily noticeable, one should refrain from photographing unless
  • documenting a crime against some other unfortunate person
  • one has established consent, one way or another.

Often I find that pointing to my camera and smiling will give a cheerful wave of consent or else exactly and clearly the opposite, an annoyed wave off and shake of the head!

Still, you took the most respectful path - simply engaged them as fellow sentients and made their lives a little lighter ....and enriched yourself in the process.

Now you must find that ancient picture. That 3-legged dog is a hero!

Asher
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