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Old October 24th, 2012, 04:31 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Do you Photograph Children in Your "Street Photography"

To me, befriending and photographing unrelated children, unsupervised, (especially by an adult in authority that intentionally grooms them), has a real proven slight risk of improper motive, creepy behavior and worse. By contrast, it's pretty certain that taking pictures of children of strangers, (neither of which one would ever meet again), seems totally different. Are we to be intimidated from taking pics of kids we see in the streets, just because someone was arrested because that person with the camera was also behaving in a way that parents felt was "creepy)!

So what do street and causal photographer's do? Ignore children and just choose adults or buildings or birds flying by? Under what conditions do you photograph other folk's children where you do not already know them? How is anyone protected?

Asher
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  #2  
Old October 25th, 2012, 01:59 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
To me, befriending and photographing unrelated children, unsupervised, has a real proven slight risk of improper motive, creepy behavior and worse. By contrast, it's pretty certain that taking pictures of children of strangers, seems totally different.
I am not really sure you wanted to write what you wrote here. I don't understand what you mean at all.
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  #3  
Old October 25th, 2012, 03:40 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I am not really sure you wanted to write what you wrote here. I don't understand what you mean at all.

Hi Jerome,

It's a matter of emphasis on where risks for children are most prevalent. The stranger, by himself, snapping pictures at a kids sports event, is suspicious! The man has no rank, is not recognized and therefore his actions are frightening to the folk. OTOH, a local scoutmaster would command respect and be considered to be recording for some local newsletter! The police in Texas could be rightly concerned with street or park photograph of children by vagrant strangers. So, the legislature has devised draconian laws to nab strangers photographing children! However, well-intended, this will not decrease child molestation in that state! The legislators are asleep as to where molestation is happening: with trusted adults! It could be a step-father, the mother's boyfriend, the priest or a teacher.




LA Times: Patterns of Molestation By Boy Scout Leaders of boys in their Packs

[But]sic a close look at nearly 1,900 confidential files opened between 1970 and 1991 revealeda pattern: Many suspected molesters
engaged in what psychologists today call "grooming behavior," a gradual seduction in which predators lavish children with attention,
favors and gifts.In hundreds of cases, Scout leaders allowed the boys to drive cars, drink alcohol or look at pornography.
They gradually tested physical boundaries during skinny dipping, group showers, sleepovers and one-on-one activities.




In fact most molestation is by children who are groomed by scout leaders, neighbors, priests, occasionally sports coaches and others who are often also in a position of authority. At the same time, one should be aware that pedophiles do groom potential victims in order to have long term private access to them. All the professions I have mentioned involve a lot of personal times and the risk therefore is increased.

This doesn't mean that one should suspect every scoutmaster, music teacher or tennis coach, but one should be aware of this proven etiology of pedophiliacs hunting habits and try to follow what's happening to one's own kids! Here are some really useful child-safety tips!

Asher
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  #4  
Old October 25th, 2012, 04:14 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
So what do street and causal photographer's do? Ignore children and just choose adults or buildings or birds flying by? Under what conditions do you photograph other folk's children where you do not already know them? How is anyone protected?

Asher
To be honest - the suspicion that is placed upon me every time I lift my camera in a public place over the last 10 years or so - - - and the being approached by security guards who have escorted me out of shopping malls or inhibited me from shooting something on the street where they perceived that their building may be in the background, or having people come out of buildings and homes demanding that I not take pictures or pay for the priviledge . . .

. . . has for the most part caused me to lose my impetus and joy in photographing anything other than the safe professional shots that I am hired for.

That was a huge motivation for my yearly trips to Central America starting 5 years ago - where shooting children and people in general in the streets and other public places - - - is a non-issue. In that environment, I simply don't worry about taking the liberty of photographing children that I knew or didn't know. At home I wouldn't even attempt to sit in a park and raise my camera to the children or even shoot kids from my neighborhood that I knew as they played on the streets.

If I were bold and brash, I'd probably get away with it without any consequences, but I just can't be bothered - and reading the other post made here recently about the man who was arrested for taking pictures at a baseball game (I am certainly not siding for him) - - - just makes me firm on that resolve. On more than one occasion I have had security approach me at a local city fair where I was honed in with a big camera and long lens on my grandchildren on rides during our family day, and demands were placed on me to tell them who I was taking pictures of and why. I understand that it is a sick world nowadays, there is no trust, and everyone is suspicious and paranoid over everything that may be perceived as a threat. It is just such a shame isn't it. But it's the way that it is.



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  #5  
Old October 25th, 2012, 04:36 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Agreed; that we have to protect our children and be wary of their activities and the people they spend their time with.

Let's open this subject up a bit ( I know it is OT )...

" There is something appalling about photographing people. It is certainly some form of violation..."
Guess who made this statement. You might be surprised.

p.s. I did not remember it either!! I had to look it up..I had reference it in my Salgado's thread.
Actually it was none other than Henri Cartier Bresson.

Irrespective of what who said what, I do believe photographing ( and photographers of ) children should be watched very very carefully.
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Last edited by fahim mohammed; October 25th, 2012 at 04:56 PM. Reason: To add the p.s.
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  #6  
Old October 26th, 2012, 12:53 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
It's a matter of emphasis on where risks for children are most prevalent.
I seem to recall that the risk is most prevalent within the child's family, since incest is, unfortunately, not as rare as it should be. What does this have to do with photography?
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  #7  
Old October 26th, 2012, 03:06 PM
Bob Latham Bob Latham is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I seem to recall that the risk is most prevalent within the child's family, since incest is, unfortunately, not as rare as it should be. What does this have to do with photography?
I think the statistics tend to confirm your statement, Jerome, and yet nobody would bat an eyelid if if was a family member taking the street shot.

I don't believe that children are intimidated, frightened, suspicious or even adverse to having a camera pointed at them in an open environment. What we're dealing with is "fear by proxy"...or is it?

Robert states above that people would object to having their dwellings or buildings photographed....maybe it comes down to something more basic. Do people see their children as "their property" and all others should be denied the pleasure of looking at them unless invited to do so?

Scenario 1. You see a classic car parked in the High Street and set yourself up to photograph it just as the owner returns. I wager that he'd engage you in conversation and give all the details of his pride and joy.

Scenario 2. You see an average 5 years old family saloon parked in the same place and prepare to photograph it just as the owner returns......"Oi mate, what the *"&/*% do you think you're doing, that's my car"

A strange race, aren't we?

Bob
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  #8  
Old October 26th, 2012, 04:35 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Here we go again. Guilt, guilt, guilt, bound up with expectations and recrimination and a need to be protected from all evils and live happily ever after.
Adding photographers to the list of suspects is probably satisfying some other need that has little to do with protecting children. Photographing a child is more about our own indignation at the thought of what the photographer is thinking at the time, which is a current trend in our behaviour.
Anyway, you are all probably a voice in the wilderness. The rednecks are against you and there are more of them than you. So stop whinging and get on with it the best way you can. Things are only going to get worse.
Either that or come to Australia. In 50 years I have only ever been challenged once and that was from a sweet old indigenous woman who thought I might make her look ugly. And keep in mind I do send my students out into the street with their assignments and most return unscathed.
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  #9  
Old October 26th, 2012, 05:04 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Here we go again. Guilt, guilt, guilt, bound up with expectations and recrimination and a need to be protected from all evils and live happily ever after.
Adding photographers to the list of suspects is probably satisfying some other need that has little to do with protecting children.
Tom,

I don't have any such guilt, it's just prudent to consider the place one is shooting in and also predicting the normative reactions of the denizens of that location.

Asher
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  #10  
Old October 26th, 2012, 05:05 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Advice to street shooters building a children's image portfolio!

In all, taking pictures in the parts or streets, of anyone, especially of children, involves a mixture of respect, common sense and prudence. When one holds a professionally looking camera, one has an extra responsibility of not making photographers seem creepy and inconsiderate. A signal, "May I?", is so easy!

Above all, one should not insert oneself into people's private moments. If the children one wants to photograph are close by, (for example, at a children's soccer meet), introduce yourself to the parents or coach to get consent before shooting, give them your card and offer to send the the pics at no charge; they'll appreciate the chance of great pictures! They rarely object when approached appropriately. Still, never pick up a conversation with strangers children, unless parents give the O.K. Don't venture close to aim a camera at a child and so violate their "safe" space. That's very frightening to parents!! Instead, always meet the parents in advance and they have to be involved. Taking pictures in the street can be very rewarding but one has to be socially aware of good manners.

From across the street, however, for a quick passing snapshot, no need to ask, just delete any pics that seem disrespectful. If ever a parent asks for the pics to be deleted, comply promptly!

This method works for me with no issues at all!

Asher
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  #11  
Old October 26th, 2012, 09:25 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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I wasn't suggesting you in particular had guilt, Asher. You may even be wanting to avoid it by being prudent.
The difficulty with common sense is that its not all that common, on either side. It also may be prudent, as you suggest, to not reveal yourself by flashing you professional looking camera (or anything else that may cause concern) and if this is the case is one's motivation changed or is it simply the perception.
As for the shoulds and should nots you have listed, people's private moments in a public forum are still fair game for a photographer and the latter are protected by the law (at least here). Discretion shown in such situations becomes common practise and is then expected by the public as the norm. Maybe the public see me as harmless with my point and press and kids see me as a novelty more than a threat, but I, for one am not going to give to public perception on this. I have the lawful right to do this and am protected by it just as any other law protects others. One does not give up one for the other. They all apply equally. I am not a pedaphile or kidnapper or murderer of small children or any other threat to the public and I still assume that perception doesn't count in accusation of offense. Someone thinking I might harm their child does not make it so and I have just as much right to pursue my hobby as they do of passing through a public place.
Sure, I can be courteous and polite and all that, as I would be if I didn't have a camera, and some days I might not feel like an arguement or explanation but when I am in top form I'll stand my ground, because if I don't I am eroding the very rights we all fight for and respect.
Mind you, if the security guard is big, brainless and armed I do think twice.
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  #12  
Old October 26th, 2012, 10:48 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Sure, I can be courteous and polite and all that, as I would be if I didn't have a camera, and some days I might not feel like an arguement or explanation but when I am in top form I'll stand my ground, because if I don't I am eroding the very rights we all fight for and respect.
Mind you, if the security guard is big, brainless and armed I do think twice.
Tom,

I feel the same way and will stand my ground until the risk of getting assaulted is greater than the value of the picture. In the case of bespoke store security guys who talk into their sleeves like they are in a Presidential detail, I just get in close and take portraits close up and invite them to call the Beverly Hills Police. I'm careful not to block access to someone's path, but I do go out of my way to use my rights to photograph as I wish when confronted. It's important under such confrontational circumstance to be meticulously courteous and non-threatening. Otherwise there can be a host of justifications for getting arrested. One critical point.

I'd never allow give permission for my pictures to be reviewed. Likewise your person and car!

Asher
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  #13  
Old October 26th, 2012, 10:52 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Sure, I can be courteous and polite and all that, as I would be if I didn't have a camera, and some days I might not feel like an arguement or explanation but when I am in top form I'll stand my ground, because if I don't I am eroding the very rights we all fight for and respect.
Mind you, if the security guard is big, brainless and armed I do think twice.
Tom,

I feel the same way and will stand my ground until the risk of getting assaulted is greater than the value of the picture. In the case of bespoke store security guys who talk into their sleeves like they are in a Presidential detail, and order me to stop photographing in the street towards their store, as it's illegal, I just get in close and take portraits close up of them and invite them to call the police! I'm careful not to block access to someone's path, but I do go out of my way to continue use my rights, unabated, to photograph as I wish, when confronted. It's important under such circumstances to be meticulously courteous and non-threatening. Otherwise there can be a host of justifications for getting arrested. One critical point, here in California, I'd never give permission for my pictures to be reviewed by the friendly policeman who arrives on the scene! Likewise your person and car!

Asher
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Old October 27th, 2012, 02:13 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I seem to recall that the risk is most prevalent within the child's family, since incest is, unfortunately, not as rare as it should be. What does this have to do with photography?
Jerome,

I'm just pointing out that the Texas folk need to get priorities right if they really want to protect kids. If theta's their purpose, focus on protecting children where they are most vulnerable. Likely, that is in the home with step fathers, and boyfriends of a child's mother as well as the usual suspects in places of authority.

Asher
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Old October 27th, 2012, 06:13 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I'm just pointing out that the Texas folk need to get priorities right if they really want to protect kids. If that's their purpose, focus on protecting children where they are most vulnerable. Likely, that is in the home with step fathers, and boyfriends of a child's mother as well as the usual suspects in places of authority.
So? We have established that the risk of child abuse by the local scoutmaster is larger than the risk of abuse by a paparazzi sitting at the edge of a playground with a long lens. How does that change things? The state of Texas is free to enact laws as they see fit, even when these laws do not make sense. Moreover, there appear to be vast popular support for these laws against photographers and the state of Texas is still somewhat a democracy (even when they do not accept observers during elections... see the other thread). Excuse the sarcasm, but who are you to ask the people of Texas to elect representatives who will draft laws that will make sense when they don't want them? Besides, it is not as if Texas did not have laws that made even less sense and could be more dangerous to public safety.

More interesting for me as a photographer is the question implicitly raised by Bob Latham: why would it be more suspicious if you take a picture of a 5 years old car than of a classic vehicle?
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Old October 27th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
More interesting for me as a photographer is the question implicitly raised by Bob Latham: why would it be more suspicious if you take a picture of a 5 years old car than of a classic vehicle?
It all depends on the social circumstances. It's not about just suspicion, it's about common courtesies. Parent get uncomfortable and it's appropriate to give a family with small children some free space and not insert oneself, Asking is a kindness I personally suggest.

I even ask about pictures of a classic car, if the owner is there to notice me. It's just good manners! Also, one may learn more about the car and be invited to photograph more of them! Still I'd take pictures anyway!

Asher
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Old October 27th, 2012, 11:10 AM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
It all depends on the social circumstances. It's not about just suspicion, it's about common courtesies. Parent get uncomfortable and it's appropriate to give a family with small children some free space and not insert oneself, Asking is a kindness I personally suggest.

I even ask about pictures of a classic car, if the owner is there to notice me. It's just good manners! Also, one may learn more about the car and be invited to photograph more of them! Still I'd take pictures anyway!

Asher

I am somewhat in agreement Asher. I am not a bold and brash person who likes to take advantage of people. I sometimes ask - particularly if I have approached someone or they engage me. Those become nice portraits. But in taking street photography I want to capture people in the act of daily life, and I cannot get that by engaging them or asking for permission. Many times I am walking by someone and/or they are walking by me - or shooting down a street with a long lens as people are engaged with each other. That type of street photography does not work if there is an interaction with the photographer. So I shoot people - adults and children - both ways.

While I do take many liberties while I have been shooting in Central America, I have also built many very good relationships by being conscious to return to the same location with a print in hand a week or two later. That always brings a huge smile and a debt of gratitude believe it or not - when I present it to them. Most are surprised and wondering when I took - even ones who I had approached and talked to can't remember the interaction generally. One nice thing about countries like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, is that you can find just about everyone at the same general location, whether my return with the print is a week later or even a year or more later. It is intensely satisfying being a people photographer in those countries.


When you mention about photographing cars, a few months ago I posted some artistic images from an old car show. While I did not ask or engage the individual car owners - I did enquire at the desk upon entering, if the owners are fine with photos being taken of their cars. Being it was an association of sorts, I presumed the front desk would be my hurdle to overcome if any.



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  #18  
Old October 27th, 2012, 03:05 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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You mean like this; unsupervised ?



No. Never.
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