Thursday, 9 October 2014

‘The Ethics of Street Photography’ - Blog Post Response.

Throughout reading Joerg Colberg's blog post ‘The Ethics of Street Photography’ I find the article raises awareness on the subject of how street photography can be perceived and the issue of permission or consent.

I feel that street photography should not be staged and should be captured as soon as something naturally happens in the photographers surroundings. One thing I have noticed when researching street photographer's, is how close they get to the subject they are capturing. I don't completely agree with Bruce Gilden's approach to street photography as he has in the past, ordered members of the public to not smile, just so he can get the perfect shot. "It's perfect, I want to shoot. But not smiling. Don't smile!"- Bruce Gilden. Gilden also simply states, he has no ethics. I personally wouldn't want to be walking along the street and all of a sudden a photographer who has no ethics, points their camera mere inches away from your face along with a blinding flash. Though in nature it may not seem morally correct, I do understand from a photographer's perspective what they are trying to construct, by what they are photographing. I do not agree that it is correct to make an innocent individual feel uncomfortable by invading their personal space, just to get what Gilden would see as a perfect shot.

Bruce Gilden

Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand is the photographer who features in the article Colberg has written about in his post on The Ethics of Street Photography. He also links another blog post within his, which is titled 'Garry Winogrand's uneasy eye' written by a lady named Caille Millner. 
“Winogrand was famous for never asking people permission before taking their photographs; a whole generation of male photographers idolized him for shooting however he wanted, whenever he wanted.”CailleMillner has written in her blog post. I also watched a video of Winogrand and his approach to street photography, at one point he says, “I hate the term; I think it’s a stupid term ‘Street Photography’ I don’t think it makes any, it doesn’t tell you anything about a photographer or work in a way”Winogrand. Millner talks about how Winogrand approached women differently in his street photography vs. the way he portrayed men. Milner expresses her opinion of when she visited an exhibition of Winogrands work, and I feel as though she finds his work lacks representing women in a positive light and is mainly for the male gaze.

Nowadays with modern technology e.g. smartphones, consumers can easily capture a photograph and share it instantly via social media.  Once something is put online, it can go viral so instantly and can be impossible to take down from the internet. Candid photographs of celebrities captured by paparazzi are first to hit the internet before being released as print the next day. The photographs are taken without the celebrity even knowing that they were being watched and photographed, this is a form of harassment and invades the privacy of that individual. I get the impression that paparazzi have no ethics, as they are willing to stalk a celebrity until they get the perfect shot, and then further sell that photograph for a large sum of money. Paparazzi are able to capture photographs of a certain celebrity and sell that photograph instantly to the media. Selling a photograph of someone who clearly doesn’t want their photograph taken, that being said, doesn't know they are having their photograph in the first place, is just wrong.

Colberg writes, "Photographers need to be aware of the ethics of their endeavour." I also agree with this, that photographers do need to be aware of what is right and wrong in what they are aiming to achieve. The article rules out the fine line between, active and passive privacy: "If you enter a store that you know has surveillance cameras you implicitly give your consent to being filmed or photographed." And, "If someone takes your picture in the street that consent is absent." I completely understand where Colberg is coming from when reading his blog post about how one needs to consider the difference.

Winogrand's Photography
Once people know that a camera is being pointed in their direction, I find they end up acting up to the camera, giving out a complete different persona than what they would, not having knowing about the camera. Candid shots work better, as the photographer is able to grasp a photograph showing people in their natural state. As long as the photographer is not tantalising individuals and keeps within a professional manner, the public shouldn't have to worry too much about being photographed in public areas.

Winogrand's Photography
Street photography would not be the same, as interesting and would not have the same outcome, if the photographer was to ask each and every person if they were alright having their photograph captured. "A photo of a man I took downtown that he asked me to delete. I did."
I do think the public should be respected and if they feel uncomfortable having their photograph taken, then it’s only right to appreciate their decision and move onto the next subject. When I use the SLR camera, I know that it isn't possible to delete an individual photograph, as doing so would cause me to expose every other photograph I have captured on the film. I hope to never cause any disrespect to members of the public when I convey my street photography photo shoots. I accept that street photography can be a challenge, but the more photographs I capture, the more interesting the photo shoots become.

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