Watch a Street Photographer Going about a Shoot [VIDEO] - Digital Photography School
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Watch a Street Photographer Going about a Shoot [VIDEO]

One of the more popular topics of discussion on dPS over the last year or so has been ‘Street Photography’.

We’ve featured a variety of tutorials on Street Photography (there are a few links below) but every time we do people comment about the idea of walking up to strangers and taking their photos.

One of our previous guest posters on the topic of street photography – Eric Kim – recently posted a video on his blog that actually takes viewers on a street photography shoot with him.

Eric attached a little Go Pro video camera to the top of his Leica M9 and went out onto the streets of LA and started shooting. Here’s the video:

If you want to check out the end results of the shoot (the stills) check out this post on Eric’s blog.

Further Reading on Street Photography

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://www.zamilphotos.com Zamil

    I love street photography and nothing more captivating than taking photos of people in public… but I still think asking for permission and avoiding pissing them off is the way to go. From what I understand, it is bad news to take photos of people from Thailand… they believe it softens their ‘spirit’ and is bad for the soul (I may be wrong about the actual reason, but it’s just not polite and they take offence greatly). I think there are alternatives than to rock up to strangers and shoot off a camera in their face. Long lens maybe?

  • http://www.gavingough.com Gavin

    Zamil

    I agree with you. However, in my experience, Thai people are usually very happy to oblige when asked for a photograph.

  • Vat

    I dont think people who’re opposed to this approach seem to get the whole point of street photography. Of course, it might seem a little rude and obnoxious sometimes, but it’s a part of the technique, and it isn’t illegal. There’s street portraiture, where you ask people’s permission and take a photo, and then there’s street photography. I’m assuming no one has heard of famous celebrated Bruce Gilden : http://youtu.be/IRBARi09je8

    His technique comes off as much more obnoxious and attacking than Eric’s, and as @HermanVonPetri said, Maybe Eric did gesture politely sometimes, you wouldn’t have known from that video.

    @Scott Of course, Gavin’s method didn’t yeaild “artificial expressions”, his blog post is amazing. Except that, you can’t play that into streep photography, where if one’s primary aim is to capturing “a decisive or poignant moment”, a split second that’ll be lost for ever. So no, that method doesn’t really work here. I hope you see the beauty of street photography without it seeming so rude and obnoxious.

  • http://www.oyphotography.com Oy

    Hi Zamil,

    I live in Melbourne but I’m from Thailand. We don’t believe that taking photos is bad for our soul O.O

    but I totally agree with your opinion :)

  • Alex

    Are you kidding me?

    That’s all I’m going to say.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/archideos/ Archideos

    Nice post.. but its not applicable in all places as everyone commented..

    I do agree to get permission rather than what is shown in the video. Why not approach the subject have a nice chat and inform that you will take photos while his doing the work and not to pose with your camera.. and that’s it..Candid shot.. Your subject knows that a camera is ready to take the shot while doing something but didn’t know when the click will be executed..

  • Mary

    I was a bit horrified to see his approach–I agree with the people who said they thought it was rude to snap-n-go. I have taken a lot of street photos that I’m really happy with, but have almost always asked if the person minded first–I feel that gives me the permission to hover if need be, till the shot looks more candid. Also, there is the notion of the waiver, which I often want signed, and it’s really only appropriate to ask if the person has had a bit of a heads-up that you’ve taken their pic. I have taken candid pics w/o asking first, but only when the moment was so perfect that asking would have interrupted. Those shots I don’t feel I should have any expectation of using professionally, if a waiver is not going to be obtained. My $.02.

  • http://www.flickr.com/gipukan gipukan

    Saw the video after a dl from utube. One can not take people like this in uganda. People will aks for money or will take your camera with a crowd of people. In Amsterdam I can imagene doing it like that w/o people asking or doing antthing. This can probably not be done in the city we are going to live within 5 days. People will be offended to much.

  • Shishir

    So now, I am absolutely sure I can’t (won’t) do this. Not for me. This is scary and rude (If not asked first) indeed. Btw, @Scott: I feel you :D

  • Andrew

    Firstly, thanks for making the video and sharing it, it is interesting to see your style.

    Secondly, I hope you do take some notice of the many critical feedbacks on this page, and have a think about what you are doing. It may be perfectly legal, but there is absolutely no doubt that you are offending some people. I would ask you to consider if the gains are worth that. If you were taking some awesome capture of a street moment unfolding, whether it is a big momentous event or even something smaller but unique and really interesting, then I think you have some justification for risking annoying and offending people. e.g. If two people were having an argument over a piece of property they were both holding on to, or a touching scene of a couple, or a street vendor surrounded by cool wares, etc, etc. Something happening which shows emotion or makes a statement.

    But you are not even capturing a “photograph” here – you aren’t giving any thought to composing, or waiting for the critical moment, or looking for uniqueness, or for special light, or changing your perspective. You must be building a photo collection of thousands of people, all doing mundane things, and for what? Sure you might get the odd great photo here and there. But you could get that without cluttering up your memory card with 95+% of what are essentially shapsnots of commoness, by watching for the special photo moments, and not bothering people during capturing moments that aren’t special.

    So even if you don’t like the suggestions that have been made to ask permission first (which if you wait until they go back about their business can still give you unposed photos), I would recommend you take about one twentieth of the images, offend only one twentieth as many people, and take real photographs that have had thought given to their capture. Both you and the people on the street could actually enjoy that more.

  • George

    I’m sorry if this is a silly question, but I would love some answers…

    …What do you guys do with all your street photographs in the end?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/twintom Tom Richards

    I agree with the majority of the posts. I also find this type of technique to be quite rude.

    I tend to think that the best street photos are generally candid in nature. A non invasive technique that i was taught was to first set you cameras exposure then approach the subject. Ask them for the shot. Take a ‘portrait’ then as you break contact with the person take the candid shot. People will generally let you keep the shot as you have already asked for permission. The shot is still candid, however you havent offended anyone:)

  • Daniel

    I commented on his website and shared the opinion that his approach is rude and invasive and that he even published the photo where the guy was clearly stating (through his raised hand) that he does not want to get photographed. I did not attack or abuse him verbally, just stating my opinion without harm:

    That comment WAS NOT published.

  • Les Boucher

    While I admire many of the “Candid” shots which I see taken, and while they are a record of civilisation in its current form, I still feel that you are risking physical harm not to mention Legal problems when you approach your photography in the manner of the video.

    Allow me to play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. Let’s take for instance a couple of scenarios put forward by Andrew (above) “a touching scene of a couple” How can we, as Photographer’s, know prior to speaking to the couple that they are not in other relationships and going through divorces which could be put at risk when your photograph pops up on the web or somewhere?

    “If two people were having an argument over a piece of property they were both holding on to….” While this might be a quite legal transaction it MAY turn out to be something quite different and the people involved may take offence to having that shot taken of them. You may also, inadvertently, be taking a photo of someone with a shady past who doesn’t want their ugly mug plastered all over the place or maybe an undercover cop who is going his duties and the last thing he would want, once again, is to pop up in a photograph.

    These might be extreme examples but I think we, as photographers, have a duty of care to the people that we photograph to at least allow them to have the opportunity to say whether they do or don’t want their photograph published. Which is why, as I have said before, I will approach the person /persons AFTER I have taken a shot and ask them if they mind. If they object I delete the offending shot from my camera in front of them. If they have no objection I ask if they would mind signing a release form. It is that simple.

    By carrying out these simple tasks we not only enhance our own reputation but that of our fellow photographers.

  • Andrew

    Hi Les, thanks for sharing your input. I respectfully disagree with you though. If a couple don’t want their relationship known, then it is entirely their own fault for showing in public that they are a couple. They can’t kiss in public, where any number of people could see them, but then complain that they are photographed. You can have no expectation of privacy for things you do in the public arena, whether they are photographed or not. Ditto for people arguing over something – if they don’t want it known that they were arguing, they must not do it in public. An undercover cop doing something on the street can have no expectation that they could never be photographed or turn up in some photo. I have no duty of care to protect any of these people’s secrets, because they have chosen to do these things in public.

    Crowd type shots that show dozens or more people on a street are a very common theme, and people are often in the scene when photographing buildings etc. It is impossible to ask everyone’s permission for being in these kinds of photos, but their privacy is being “invaded” too.

    So perhaps I wasn’t making it clear, since I am saying that this photographer’s technique is poor not because it invades privacy – you cannot have the expectation of privacy in public (and in fact already have very little with all the CCT cameras around). I am simply saying it is rude to act this way towards them. Like if I stare at someone (photographing with my eyes) from a distance in public, so what? But if I stand 2 metres in front of them and stare, that would be considered rude by the majority of people. Similarly, I say what he is doing would be considered rude by the majority of people – by getting in their face. If I was riding a train and instead of standing/sitting a decent space away from another passenger, I stood really closely to them and invaded the space close to them, that would be considered rude by society (although probably legal). You will always have some people who don’t want their photo taken, and so any photo of them is rude to them, but I don’t consider that my problem to have to ask them to make sure that isn’t the case (although I expect I would delete the photo if they asked p.s. everyone should know that deleting the photo in front of them means nothing because you can get it back again using restore software). I don’t feel I have the duty of care to them to have to ask that, rather I just ought to avoid crossing the boundaries of what general society says is rude. That’s what it means to be a good citizen. These examples I have been talking about are for my country – Australia. In other countries or societies, it might be considered rude to take a photo of anyone at all without asking their permission, in which case I would do that.

    Risking being hurt for taking a photo is an entirely different issue, that’s a risk you have to weigh up regardless of your legal rights or ethical responsibilities, it has more to do with the characteristics of the neighbourhood or country you are in, and the character of the subject who might be violent.

  • Andrew

    And secondly I was saying that this photographer’s technique is poor because he is giving insufficient thought to his work and just grabbing snapshots rather than trying to get quality.

  • Daniel

    Andrew, I think you should understand Les Boucher’s examples in a more commonly spread way.

    The matter is that those people are being taken advantage of. They don’t gain the right to decide what is happening with the photos of them. Best example is the guy with the phone at the cafe. Eric published his photo anyway.

    Let’s go back to the example with the couple: If they decide to kiss publicly, they know they could be catched by anyone. But it’s their decision. If someone walks by talking a photo of them like eric did, they have no choice about what eric is going to do if eric decides to give a crap about their rights.

    The point here is that Eric’s taking a photo OF them. So they are the subject and should have a right to decide where to be published or not.

    (all IHMO, of course)

  • http://jimmartinphotoblog.blogspot.com Jim

    @ George – you ask what we do with our photographs? I made a photo book (for myself and as a sort of portfolio for my work), which you can see at http://www.blurb.com/books/2220854
    Otherwise, I’ve used some of the pictures for an exhibition I had (http://jimmartinphotoblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/turning-part-1-autumna-idea-of-doing.html) and I publish the pictures on my blog.
    What about the rest of you?

  • Daniel

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That’s where I live :)

  • Daniel

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That’s where I live :)
    What about the Library on Page 4, is that Stuttgart aswell? Can’t remember havin seen the Word Library on the building.

    Daniel

  • Daniel

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That’s where I live :)
    What about the Library on Page 4, is that Stuttgart aswell? Can’t remember havin seen the Word Library on the building.

    Daniel

    P.S. after checking your other links I already found out you’re a Stuttgarter :)

  • Daniel

    Sorry for the triplepost. I was getting lots of timeouts – I thought.

  • http://jimmartinphotoblog.blogspot.com Jim

    Yes, all those pictures were taken in Stuttgart. The library picture is the new library behind the train station. It says “Bibliothek” and “Biblioteque” (I think) on the other sides.
    If you’d like to get together for a photo walk sometime (like the Worldwide Photo Walk on Oct. 1), contact me.

  • Les Boucher

    Andrew, I wasn’t having a shot at you personally and I’m sorry if you took it that way. All that I was trying to say was that people, all people, including you and me have the right to go about our business without having their individual privacy invaded. I guess it all comes back to manners and courtesy and I for one would rather give my subject the opportunity to decide whether they have their image displayed or not.

    I’m not saying that my approach is right or wrong or, that I expect every other photographer to follow my example. All that I am saying is that if my photograph was taken I would appreciate the photographer having the common courtesy to approach me and ask if I minded if he displayed it. It is how I approach things and, as I have said, that is a personal choice that I make in each case. Others may approach it from a different perspective and I appreciate their right to do that. But I do feel that the example shown in the Video is over the top and just plain rude.

  • Andrew

    @Daniel, thanks for giving us something to think about. You are saying it is more of a ‘how your image is used’ than a ‘privacy from secrets’ issue. I concede that ideally you are right – everyone ought to have the right to decide exactly how their image is used. That seems fair in concept. Problems in practice: it is then impossible to take a crowd photo because you can’t ask everyone what ways they will let the photo be used; tourists can hardly take any photos of the city they are visiting unless there are no people in the scene; people who own buildings will probably start saying they also have the right to decide how the photo of their house or building is used, and so you can’t take photos of them either; news reporting plummets because the media can’t show photos of anybody engaging in any activity without asking their permission.

    Is it taking some kind of advantage of them, or imposing on their ethical rights? It probably is to some degree, but I think most societies have recognised that that is a fair price to have to pay for society to function in a free and open manner, for the enjoyment of the general majority. (I think only France has made the privacy rule that says you can’t publish without their permission, and although I haven’t researched much about it, I think it impacts negatively on photography as a whole in that country.)

    So I think it is reasonable and fair to not have to ask people for permission, because if you did have to, it would just cause too many practical problems. (Paparazzi are obviously on the very borderline of the ethical boundary of this issue. They act legally but I think often are too rude and invasive by their relentlessness and excessiveness.) So societies other than France say that you don’t have to ask permission unless it is for a commercial activity where the person’s image is being used to promote or advertise something (which I agree with since it implies they endorse it), and there are legal recourses if someone is being genuinely harrassed or stalked by a photographer. But except for those cases, society and the law say that an image taken in public does not need all people in the photo to give permission for how it is used. I’m sure you can think of cases where this freedom can be abused (People of Walmart perhaps?!), but like many other freedoms in our societies which can also be abused, we have decided that it’s still worth keeping them for the good of the general majority, and since it doesn’t cause a problem in the majority of situations.

  • Daniel

    Andrew,

    I feel the urge to explain myself a little bit more in detail as I think my point was not understood exactly.

    first of all I like to explain how the legal situation is in Germany:
    a. Our personal rights assure you the rights of a photo where you are the subject. Example:
    You go to a professional photographer and he takes pictures of you. The pictures belong to him. He may sell or give them to free of charge. Legally he is not forced to hand them out. However he can’t freely use the photos, he needs your permission if he wants to publish them anywhere.

    b. This situation is a bit problematic if you take photos of a architectural/natural/animal subject if there are people in the picture. Here the above stated does not apply. To guarantee you artistic freedom you have the full rights on these kind of picures if the subject has no personal rights (eg a church / see a.). If persons are in the picture they are regarded as embellishments. You may publish or sell the photo wherever you like, freely.

    c. In certain situations a crowd is regarded as a subject without personal rights. That is for example if you shoot a photo about a strike or a public gathering/assembly. The reason for the photo can be artistic or journalistic. The same right apply to you and your photo as in b.

    I find these laws are the best trade-off I can imagine. Therefor I fully support them. They fully represent my ethical opinions.

    Hence I agree with you about pictures of crowds or with people in it unless they are the subject. It secures the freedom of speech, which includes journalism and arts. One must be able to take a picture of a landscape or building without getting in trouble by someone who unavoidibly is in the photo. My opinion is that you do not invade peoples privacy as mostly they just appear in a way it’s hard to really identify them.

    But I see a difference if it comes to portraits. My opinion is that such photos aim to capture a certain feeling (or charisma) which mostly are radianced by the person the photo is taken of. That could be a relaxing coffee at a cafe, happiness, anger, surprise or love (maybe even by cheating his wife). And if you take a photo you participate with their feeling without being actively involved by them. You can argue that they should stay at home if they don’t want to be seen with these feelings or acts of cheatin (if we return to the example stated above). But there are other points that I think are a problem. A picture captures a moment forever. Imagine someone kissing a women and his girlfriend sees the picture. She only sees the picture but not the reasons. That could’ve been a kiss to thank for a favor or a kiss of love. Girlfriend just assumes based on the photo. Well and then there is the thing with the rights. If the photographer publishes the photo without agreement, he simply takes advantage of the subject. In my eyes that is just rude. Imagine you create an artwork and someone else takes a photo and gains money because the photo is beautiful.

    I hope you see my point now better. It’s not only because of privacy OR rights on that photo (and money, honour, whatever). It’s a complex topic where every fact counts a little bit.

    I have a little different opinion about Paparazzi because their subjects are regarded close to an art-subject as they are involved in art. But I do not have any respect for their methods and their job. I avoid explaining my opinion here as it is already getting a big enough discussion without talking about them.

    Personally I think the laws in Germany are really good and provide a good trade-off for all situations.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.brycethomasphotography.com bryce

    I agree with scott your method of street photography is very invasive and rude, you don’t ask for permission or even say hi. Seem like a jerk to me, wouldn’t you be more happy if you got to know your subject and have a relationship so they are more relaxed and you can frame it properly and get them looking natural without being afraid of the privacy being invaded, you could even write down there name for later use naming the photos.

    Very disappointed Eric and I am a shamed to be associated with you as a fellow photographer.

  • Scott

    Adding to the mix: in the US, there’s a line (not a bright one) between photography for news versus commercial photos, based on First Amendment Freedom of the Press issues. The presumption of the individual’s right to privacy can be trumped by newsworthiness. I can’t imagine that ANY of Eric’s shorts could be put into the latter category.

  • http://www.rumataphoto.com RumataMx

    I just wonder, do we ask other people to let us look at them? NO, we just look and their face is imprinted in our memory, even for a small time, I think same happens with photography, I respect this guy for being bold enough to shoot people the way we look at people.

  • Scott

    @RumataMx: That’s not an analogy at all. Memories aren’t permanent–look at the studies of eyewitness identifications for how poor our memories for faces are. Photos, on the other hand, lock that person’s appearance down.

    And there’s the issue of and transitory versus permanent. The person being photographed doesn’t know or have control over what’s subsequently done with that photo. Unlike a memory, photos are fixed and can be posted, traded, sold. With a photo, you’ve appropriated someone else’s appearance for your own use.

    That’s what makes this whole practice so slimy: you’re basically saying “I now own a little piece of you.”

  • Scott

    … I should have added, it’s also why there’s a difference between looking at someone and staring at them. Look at someone and there won’t be a problem; start staring at them….

  • Andrew

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your information about the situation in Germany. It is interesting for me to hear it, I do like the principle that everyone should have the right to say whether and how their image is published. I have some comments though about the practicality of such laws, not to argue with you but just to continue the discussion.

    Firstly, it would be seem to be a big hassle to have to repetitively contact someone in your photo to ask them permission for publishing a new way e.g. you asked permission of them to put the images on flickr. then next year you want to make a photo book about your city’s streets, so you have to contact them again and ask permission for that, then if you want to enter the photo into a competition you have to contact them again and ask permission – it seems very silly to have to repetitively contact all these subjects in your many photos. So the only way that makes sense would be to ask them to sign an agreement just one time for you to use the photo in any way you want. So photographers all have to carry around model releases that are legally well-written and get people’s signatures on them? I would be uncomfortable if someone asked me on the street to sign a legally binding document about me in a photo. I might need some time to think about it. Also, how can a person tell if they are happy for the photo to be published, unless they can first preview the photo in high quality? The LCD screen is too small to show it very well. They might want to be sure that their expression doesn’t look silly, or that their clothes look OK. So do you have to print a photo and send it to them in the mail to preview and ask for their release to be sent back in the mail? If you don’t do that, then even if you have a signed release, they could challenge it later saying that you never let them see properly that they looked foolish in the photo, and so the signature was under false pretences. None of this sounds very practical. And it would seem to take a lot of the simplicity and joy out of photography.

    Next, what if you wanted to modify the photo that the person signed the release for? Say you took a photo of a mother and daughter, and got the mother to sign a model release. Later you decide that the photo is more effective if you crop into just the daughter, to emphasise her expression or something. If you publish, the mother could say she never authorised the photo being changed in that way. You have effectively made a new image, and she might say that she wouldn’t have authorised a photo that just showed the daughter. So the only way around that is to either contact the subject again (what a pain, having to track all their contact details), or the model release at the start would have to say that the photo can be changed/manipulated and is still covered by the release. Does that also mean you can start using photoshop on the photo and add/remove things, or totally change the look and feel of it? I don’t think it’s fair for the original subject to have to imagine all the changes you could do with the photo when they sign the original release giving up their rights.

    The other thing that seems strange to me is the idea that if people are just embellishments then you don’t need their permission. When is someone an embellishment? If you take a photo of a nice little cafe with a family and a couple at tables at the front, and a waitress just inside, are they embellishments or not? They are necessary for the photo to have balance and look good, but they are not close up portraits either. If you take a photo of a beach scene, and there are 5 women on the beach, in medium size, are they embellishments or is the photo really about the women? What if there are only 3 women on the beach, or 2 or 1? One person might say that the woman on the beach is fairly small and just gives context and balance to the photo, so she is an embellishment. Another person could say that she is still recognisable and large enough that you need her permission. People might not agree. If the law is not clear on this, then photographers are going to be frightened to publish photos that have any doubt about them.

    Again, if you did get a photo of 5 women on the beach, and got a model release from each one of them (what a lot of trouble that is to have to do about one photo!), and then later you decide the image looks better with a different aspect ratio, so you crop it and now there are only 3 women in the photo, and perhaps they look bigger than before – they could say that they never authorised the photo looking like that, they authorised it in its original state.

    You said in (c) that permission is not needed if the photo is artistic or journalistic. I would say that if I take a photo of someone in public, whether it is a close up portrait or not, that my photo is artistic or journalistic. I am either recording an event or a scene, or capturing a moment in a way that creates art. So my photo of a couple kissing is artistic and should be allowed under rule (c). And my photo of people arguing is journalistic and also allowed. You say that paparazzi don’t need to get publishing permission because their subjects are art-subjects. I would say that everyone is equal – anyone is an art-subject. Just because someone has been on TV or a movie, or is in a band, doesn’t make them an art subject any more than an average person. If you try to distinguish between celebrities (no permission needed) and normal people (permission needed), where do you draw the line? Do they have to have appeared in one movie, two movies, be on television one time, twenty times? They might play in a little local band or play sport for a local club – does that make them a celebrity/art-subject ? All this is very hard to define.

    So in practice, it would seem that the law there could get very messy. In Australia, although there are no doubt cases where it can be abused (and if you feel badly enough that your image has been abused you can always take them to court), I prefer the freedom that comes from considering everyone (celebrity or not) to be an art-subject and that every photo taken is artistic or journalistic and photos taken in public are part of free speech and an open society, and don’t need publishing permission. I do like our laws that say you must have signed permission to use in a commercial context i.e. commercial advertising, and there are also laws about taking voyeuristic photos, stalking and harassment.

    Regards,
    A.

  • Andy

    I think part of the way we as photographers go about & define “street photography” is as much geographical as it is anything…I’ve been doing “street pix” in the southern U.S. for 30 yrs., & from what I saw of the video, If one were to act like that w/ a camera here, you’d get your butt arrested, not kicked, & you could scream about “photog’s rights” all you wanted…on a personal note, I have alot of fun going on the street w/ my camera, & because I’m kinda extroverted, enjoy interacting w/ the people around me, rather than zipping along at a near run on nearly empty streets cramming a camera in the occasional passerby’s face.

  • Samraz

    For those who are concerned about risking their expensive cameras like 7 or 5ds with Erics method, please check the price of his camera!!!

  • George

    Jim,
    Big thanks for your answer! That is a great book of art you have there. Now at least I have one answer what people do with their street photo’s in the end. And it was a good one.

    I suppose a lot of people thought that it was such an elementary question that it was’nt worth answering… Maybe, but I’m just interested thats all.

  • Pail

    Great video but I can’t help but wonder how many people might really get P***ed of with someone getting so much into their personal space and taking a photo….I don’t think I would be very comfortable with this approach…Then again I’m no pro!

  • Chris

    Personally I thought all the photos from this “shoot” looked like crap. Not my style at all. I will admit though,it takes some balls to just walk up to random people, get in their face, and take a pic. Still, with that approach I can’t help but think it’s only a matter of time before he takes a fist to the face.

  • Anthony Camilletti, Sr.

    Assume for a moment that you have taken a picture of somebody and you have an opportunity to sell it. What about model releases, copyrights, etc. Would you be possibility in trouble and you can’y even find the person you photographed since you saw this stranger on the street and took their picture and you probably will never seen them again.

  • http://notsofastfool.com/index.php?a=admin youtube people of walmart

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to present one thing again and help others such as you helped me.

Some older comments

  • youtube people of walmart

    October 25, 2012 05:08 pm

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I'm hoping to present one thing again and help others such as you helped me.

  • Anthony Camilletti, Sr.

    October 15, 2012 11:31 am

    Assume for a moment that you have taken a picture of somebody and you have an opportunity to sell it. What about model releases, copyrights, etc. Would you be possibility in trouble and you can'y even find the person you photographed since you saw this stranger on the street and took their picture and you probably will never seen them again.

  • Chris

    August 10, 2012 05:06 pm

    Personally I thought all the photos from this "shoot" looked like crap. Not my style at all. I will admit though,it takes some balls to just walk up to random people, get in their face, and take a pic. Still, with that approach I can't help but think it's only a matter of time before he takes a fist to the face.

  • Pail

    August 4, 2012 11:21 pm

    Great video but I can't help but wonder how many people might really get P***ed of with someone getting so much into their personal space and taking a photo....I don't think I would be very comfortable with this approach...Then again I'm no pro!

  • George

    July 15, 2011 07:13 am

    Jim,
    Big thanks for your answer! That is a great book of art you have there. Now at least I have one answer what people do with their street photo's in the end. And it was a good one.

    I suppose a lot of people thought that it was such an elementary question that it was'nt worth answering... Maybe, but I'm just interested thats all.

  • Samraz

    July 13, 2011 11:51 am

    For those who are concerned about risking their expensive cameras like 7 or 5ds with Erics method, please check the price of his camera!!!

  • Andy

    July 12, 2011 05:29 am

    I think part of the way we as photographers go about & define "street photography" is as much geographical as it is anything...I've been doing "street pix" in the southern U.S. for 30 yrs., & from what I saw of the video, If one were to act like that w/ a camera here, you'd get your butt arrested, not kicked, & you could scream about "photog's rights" all you wanted...on a personal note, I have alot of fun going on the street w/ my camera, & because I'm kinda extroverted, enjoy interacting w/ the people around me, rather than zipping along at a near run on nearly empty streets cramming a camera in the occasional passerby's face.

  • Andrew

    July 9, 2011 11:05 am

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your information about the situation in Germany. It is interesting for me to hear it, I do like the principle that everyone should have the right to say whether and how their image is published. I have some comments though about the practicality of such laws, not to argue with you but just to continue the discussion.

    Firstly, it would be seem to be a big hassle to have to repetitively contact someone in your photo to ask them permission for publishing a new way e.g. you asked permission of them to put the images on flickr. then next year you want to make a photo book about your city's streets, so you have to contact them again and ask permission for that, then if you want to enter the photo into a competition you have to contact them again and ask permission - it seems very silly to have to repetitively contact all these subjects in your many photos. So the only way that makes sense would be to ask them to sign an agreement just one time for you to use the photo in any way you want. So photographers all have to carry around model releases that are legally well-written and get people's signatures on them? I would be uncomfortable if someone asked me on the street to sign a legally binding document about me in a photo. I might need some time to think about it. Also, how can a person tell if they are happy for the photo to be published, unless they can first preview the photo in high quality? The LCD screen is too small to show it very well. They might want to be sure that their expression doesn't look silly, or that their clothes look OK. So do you have to print a photo and send it to them in the mail to preview and ask for their release to be sent back in the mail? If you don't do that, then even if you have a signed release, they could challenge it later saying that you never let them see properly that they looked foolish in the photo, and so the signature was under false pretences. None of this sounds very practical. And it would seem to take a lot of the simplicity and joy out of photography.

    Next, what if you wanted to modify the photo that the person signed the release for? Say you took a photo of a mother and daughter, and got the mother to sign a model release. Later you decide that the photo is more effective if you crop into just the daughter, to emphasise her expression or something. If you publish, the mother could say she never authorised the photo being changed in that way. You have effectively made a new image, and she might say that she wouldn't have authorised a photo that just showed the daughter. So the only way around that is to either contact the subject again (what a pain, having to track all their contact details), or the model release at the start would have to say that the photo can be changed/manipulated and is still covered by the release. Does that also mean you can start using photoshop on the photo and add/remove things, or totally change the look and feel of it? I don't think it's fair for the original subject to have to imagine all the changes you could do with the photo when they sign the original release giving up their rights.

    The other thing that seems strange to me is the idea that if people are just embellishments then you don't need their permission. When is someone an embellishment? If you take a photo of a nice little cafe with a family and a couple at tables at the front, and a waitress just inside, are they embellishments or not? They are necessary for the photo to have balance and look good, but they are not close up portraits either. If you take a photo of a beach scene, and there are 5 women on the beach, in medium size, are they embellishments or is the photo really about the women? What if there are only 3 women on the beach, or 2 or 1? One person might say that the woman on the beach is fairly small and just gives context and balance to the photo, so she is an embellishment. Another person could say that she is still recognisable and large enough that you need her permission. People might not agree. If the law is not clear on this, then photographers are going to be frightened to publish photos that have any doubt about them.

    Again, if you did get a photo of 5 women on the beach, and got a model release from each one of them (what a lot of trouble that is to have to do about one photo!), and then later you decide the image looks better with a different aspect ratio, so you crop it and now there are only 3 women in the photo, and perhaps they look bigger than before - they could say that they never authorised the photo looking like that, they authorised it in its original state.

    You said in (c) that permission is not needed if the photo is artistic or journalistic. I would say that if I take a photo of someone in public, whether it is a close up portrait or not, that my photo is artistic or journalistic. I am either recording an event or a scene, or capturing a moment in a way that creates art. So my photo of a couple kissing is artistic and should be allowed under rule (c). And my photo of people arguing is journalistic and also allowed. You say that paparazzi don't need to get publishing permission because their subjects are art-subjects. I would say that everyone is equal - anyone is an art-subject. Just because someone has been on TV or a movie, or is in a band, doesn't make them an art subject any more than an average person. If you try to distinguish between celebrities (no permission needed) and normal people (permission needed), where do you draw the line? Do they have to have appeared in one movie, two movies, be on television one time, twenty times? They might play in a little local band or play sport for a local club - does that make them a celebrity/art-subject ? All this is very hard to define.

    So in practice, it would seem that the law there could get very messy. In Australia, although there are no doubt cases where it can be abused (and if you feel badly enough that your image has been abused you can always take them to court), I prefer the freedom that comes from considering everyone (celebrity or not) to be an art-subject and that every photo taken is artistic or journalistic and photos taken in public are part of free speech and an open society, and don't need publishing permission. I do like our laws that say you must have signed permission to use in a commercial context i.e. commercial advertising, and there are also laws about taking voyeuristic photos, stalking and harassment.

    Regards,
    A.

  • Scott

    July 9, 2011 05:25 am

    ... I should have added, it's also why there's a difference between looking at someone and staring at them. Look at someone and there won't be a problem; start staring at them....

  • Scott

    July 9, 2011 05:24 am

    @RumataMx: That's not an analogy at all. Memories aren't permanent--look at the studies of eyewitness identifications for how poor our memories for faces are. Photos, on the other hand, lock that person's appearance down.

    And there's the issue of and transitory versus permanent. The person being photographed doesn't know or have control over what's subsequently done with that photo. Unlike a memory, photos are fixed and can be posted, traded, sold. With a photo, you've appropriated someone else's appearance for your own use.

    That's what makes this whole practice so slimy: you're basically saying "I now own a little piece of you."

  • RumataMx

    July 9, 2011 01:21 am

    I just wonder, do we ask other people to let us look at them? NO, we just look and their face is imprinted in our memory, even for a small time, I think same happens with photography, I respect this guy for being bold enough to shoot people the way we look at people.

  • Scott

    July 9, 2011 12:29 am

    Adding to the mix: in the US, there's a line (not a bright one) between photography for news versus commercial photos, based on First Amendment Freedom of the Press issues. The presumption of the individual's right to privacy can be trumped by newsworthiness. I can't imagine that ANY of Eric's shorts could be put into the latter category.

  • bryce

    July 8, 2011 04:00 pm

    I agree with scott your method of street photography is very invasive and rude, you don't ask for permission or even say hi. Seem like a jerk to me, wouldn't you be more happy if you got to know your subject and have a relationship so they are more relaxed and you can frame it properly and get them looking natural without being afraid of the privacy being invaded, you could even write down there name for later use naming the photos.

    Very disappointed Eric and I am a shamed to be associated with you as a fellow photographer.

  • Daniel

    July 6, 2011 08:23 pm

    Andrew,

    I feel the urge to explain myself a little bit more in detail as I think my point was not understood exactly.

    first of all I like to explain how the legal situation is in Germany:
    a. Our personal rights assure you the rights of a photo where you are the subject. Example:
    You go to a professional photographer and he takes pictures of you. The pictures belong to him. He may sell or give them to free of charge. Legally he is not forced to hand them out. However he can't freely use the photos, he needs your permission if he wants to publish them anywhere.

    b. This situation is a bit problematic if you take photos of a architectural/natural/animal subject if there are people in the picture. Here the above stated does not apply. To guarantee you artistic freedom you have the full rights on these kind of picures if the subject has no personal rights (eg a church / see a.). If persons are in the picture they are regarded as embellishments. You may publish or sell the photo wherever you like, freely.

    c. In certain situations a crowd is regarded as a subject without personal rights. That is for example if you shoot a photo about a strike or a public gathering/assembly. The reason for the photo can be artistic or journalistic. The same right apply to you and your photo as in b.

    I find these laws are the best trade-off I can imagine. Therefor I fully support them. They fully represent my ethical opinions.

    Hence I agree with you about pictures of crowds or with people in it unless they are the subject. It secures the freedom of speech, which includes journalism and arts. One must be able to take a picture of a landscape or building without getting in trouble by someone who unavoidibly is in the photo. My opinion is that you do not invade peoples privacy as mostly they just appear in a way it's hard to really identify them.

    But I see a difference if it comes to portraits. My opinion is that such photos aim to capture a certain feeling (or charisma) which mostly are radianced by the person the photo is taken of. That could be a relaxing coffee at a cafe, happiness, anger, surprise or love (maybe even by cheating his wife). And if you take a photo you participate with their feeling without being actively involved by them. You can argue that they should stay at home if they don't want to be seen with these feelings or acts of cheatin (if we return to the example stated above). But there are other points that I think are a problem. A picture captures a moment forever. Imagine someone kissing a women and his girlfriend sees the picture. She only sees the picture but not the reasons. That could've been a kiss to thank for a favor or a kiss of love. Girlfriend just assumes based on the photo. Well and then there is the thing with the rights. If the photographer publishes the photo without agreement, he simply takes advantage of the subject. In my eyes that is just rude. Imagine you create an artwork and someone else takes a photo and gains money because the photo is beautiful.

    I hope you see my point now better. It's not only because of privacy OR rights on that photo (and money, honour, whatever). It's a complex topic where every fact counts a little bit.

    I have a little different opinion about Paparazzi because their subjects are regarded close to an art-subject as they are involved in art. But I do not have any respect for their methods and their job. I avoid explaining my opinion here as it is already getting a big enough discussion without talking about them.

    Personally I think the laws in Germany are really good and provide a good trade-off for all situations.

    Cheers!

  • Andrew

    July 6, 2011 08:51 am

    @Daniel, thanks for giving us something to think about. You are saying it is more of a 'how your image is used' than a 'privacy from secrets' issue. I concede that ideally you are right - everyone ought to have the right to decide exactly how their image is used. That seems fair in concept. Problems in practice: it is then impossible to take a crowd photo because you can't ask everyone what ways they will let the photo be used; tourists can hardly take any photos of the city they are visiting unless there are no people in the scene; people who own buildings will probably start saying they also have the right to decide how the photo of their house or building is used, and so you can't take photos of them either; news reporting plummets because the media can't show photos of anybody engaging in any activity without asking their permission.

    Is it taking some kind of advantage of them, or imposing on their ethical rights? It probably is to some degree, but I think most societies have recognised that that is a fair price to have to pay for society to function in a free and open manner, for the enjoyment of the general majority. (I think only France has made the privacy rule that says you can't publish without their permission, and although I haven't researched much about it, I think it impacts negatively on photography as a whole in that country.)

    So I think it is reasonable and fair to not have to ask people for permission, because if you did have to, it would just cause too many practical problems. (Paparazzi are obviously on the very borderline of the ethical boundary of this issue. They act legally but I think often are too rude and invasive by their relentlessness and excessiveness.) So societies other than France say that you don't have to ask permission unless it is for a commercial activity where the person's image is being used to promote or advertise something (which I agree with since it implies they endorse it), and there are legal recourses if someone is being genuinely harrassed or stalked by a photographer. But except for those cases, society and the law say that an image taken in public does not need all people in the photo to give permission for how it is used. I'm sure you can think of cases where this freedom can be abused (People of Walmart perhaps?!), but like many other freedoms in our societies which can also be abused, we have decided that it's still worth keeping them for the good of the general majority, and since it doesn't cause a problem in the majority of situations.

  • Les Boucher

    July 6, 2011 08:49 am

    Andrew, I wasn't having a shot at you personally and I'm sorry if you took it that way. All that I was trying to say was that people, all people, including you and me have the right to go about our business without having their individual privacy invaded. I guess it all comes back to manners and courtesy and I for one would rather give my subject the opportunity to decide whether they have their image displayed or not.

    I'm not saying that my approach is right or wrong or, that I expect every other photographer to follow my example. All that I am saying is that if my photograph was taken I would appreciate the photographer having the common courtesy to approach me and ask if I minded if he displayed it. It is how I approach things and, as I have said, that is a personal choice that I make in each case. Others may approach it from a different perspective and I appreciate their right to do that. But I do feel that the example shown in the Video is over the top and just plain rude.

  • Jim

    July 5, 2011 11:54 pm

    Yes, all those pictures were taken in Stuttgart. The library picture is the new library behind the train station. It says "Bibliothek" and "Biblioteque" (I think) on the other sides.
    If you'd like to get together for a photo walk sometime (like the Worldwide Photo Walk on Oct. 1), contact me.

  • Daniel

    July 5, 2011 11:37 pm

    Sorry for the triplepost. I was getting lots of timeouts - I thought.

  • Daniel

    July 5, 2011 11:34 pm

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That's where I live :)
    What about the Library on Page 4, is that Stuttgart aswell? Can't remember havin seen the Word Library on the building.

    Daniel

    P.S. after checking your other links I already found out you're a Stuttgarter :)

  • Daniel

    July 5, 2011 11:33 pm

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That's where I live :)
    What about the Library on Page 4, is that Stuttgart aswell? Can't remember havin seen the Word Library on the building.

    Daniel

  • Daniel

    July 5, 2011 11:32 pm

    Jim, AWESOME did you shoot your photo book in Stuttgart? That's where I live :)

  • Jim

    July 5, 2011 10:43 pm

    @ George - you ask what we do with our photographs? I made a photo book (for myself and as a sort of portfolio for my work), which you can see at http://www.blurb.com/books/2220854
    Otherwise, I've used some of the pictures for an exhibition I had (http://jimmartinphotoblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/turning-part-1-autumna-idea-of-doing.html) and I publish the pictures on my blog.
    What about the rest of you?

  • Daniel

    July 5, 2011 09:41 pm

    Andrew, I think you should understand Les Boucher's examples in a more commonly spread way.

    The matter is that those people are being taken advantage of. They don't gain the right to decide what is happening with the photos of them. Best example is the guy with the phone at the cafe. Eric published his photo anyway.

    Let's go back to the example with the couple: If they decide to kiss publicly, they know they could be catched by anyone. But it's their decision. If someone walks by talking a photo of them like eric did, they have no choice about what eric is going to do if eric decides to give a crap about their rights.

    The point here is that Eric's taking a photo OF them. So they are the subject and should have a right to decide where to be published or not.

    (all IHMO, of course)

  • Andrew

    July 5, 2011 12:35 pm

    And secondly I was saying that this photographer’s technique is poor because he is giving insufficient thought to his work and just grabbing snapshots rather than trying to get quality.

  • Andrew

    July 5, 2011 12:30 pm

    Hi Les, thanks for sharing your input. I respectfully disagree with you though. If a couple don't want their relationship known, then it is entirely their own fault for showing in public that they are a couple. They can't kiss in public, where any number of people could see them, but then complain that they are photographed. You can have no expectation of privacy for things you do in the public arena, whether they are photographed or not. Ditto for people arguing over something - if they don't want it known that they were arguing, they must not do it in public. An undercover cop doing something on the street can have no expectation that they could never be photographed or turn up in some photo. I have no duty of care to protect any of these people's secrets, because they have chosen to do these things in public.

    Crowd type shots that show dozens or more people on a street are a very common theme, and people are often in the scene when photographing buildings etc. It is impossible to ask everyone's permission for being in these kinds of photos, but their privacy is being "invaded" too.

    So perhaps I wasn't making it clear, since I am saying that this photographer's technique is poor not because it invades privacy - you cannot have the expectation of privacy in public (and in fact already have very little with all the CCT cameras around). I am simply saying it is rude to act this way towards them. Like if I stare at someone (photographing with my eyes) from a distance in public, so what? But if I stand 2 metres in front of them and stare, that would be considered rude by the majority of people. Similarly, I say what he is doing would be considered rude by the majority of people - by getting in their face. If I was riding a train and instead of standing/sitting a decent space away from another passenger, I stood really closely to them and invaded the space close to them, that would be considered rude by society (although probably legal). You will always have some people who don't want their photo taken, and so any photo of them is rude to them, but I don't consider that my problem to have to ask them to make sure that isn't the case (although I expect I would delete the photo if they asked p.s. everyone should know that deleting the photo in front of them means nothing because you can get it back again using restore software). I don't feel I have the duty of care to them to have to ask that, rather I just ought to avoid crossing the boundaries of what general society says is rude. That's what it means to be a good citizen. These examples I have been talking about are for my country - Australia. In other countries or societies, it might be considered rude to take a photo of anyone at all without asking their permission, in which case I would do that.

    Risking being hurt for taking a photo is an entirely different issue, that's a risk you have to weigh up regardless of your legal rights or ethical responsibilities, it has more to do with the characteristics of the neighbourhood or country you are in, and the character of the subject who might be violent.

  • Les Boucher

    July 5, 2011 09:59 am

    While I admire many of the "Candid" shots which I see taken, and while they are a record of civilisation in its current form, I still feel that you are risking physical harm not to mention Legal problems when you approach your photography in the manner of the video.

    Allow me to play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. Let's take for instance a couple of scenarios put forward by Andrew (above) "a touching scene of a couple" How can we, as Photographer's, know prior to speaking to the couple that they are not in other relationships and going through divorces which could be put at risk when your photograph pops up on the web or somewhere?

    "If two people were having an argument over a piece of property they were both holding on to...." While this might be a quite legal transaction it MAY turn out to be something quite different and the people involved may take offence to having that shot taken of them. You may also, inadvertently, be taking a photo of someone with a shady past who doesn't want their ugly mug plastered all over the place or maybe an undercover cop who is going his duties and the last thing he would want, once again, is to pop up in a photograph.

    These might be extreme examples but I think we, as photographers, have a duty of care to the people that we photograph to at least allow them to have the opportunity to say whether they do or don’t want their photograph published. Which is why, as I have said before, I will approach the person /persons AFTER I have taken a shot and ask them if they mind. If they object I delete the offending shot from my camera in front of them. If they have no objection I ask if they would mind signing a release form. It is that simple.

    By carrying out these simple tasks we not only enhance our own reputation but that of our fellow photographers.

  • Daniel

    July 4, 2011 11:42 pm

    I commented on his website and shared the opinion that his approach is rude and invasive and that he even published the photo where the guy was clearly stating (through his raised hand) that he does not want to get photographed. I did not attack or abuse him verbally, just stating my opinion without harm:

    That comment WAS NOT published.

  • Tom Richards

    July 4, 2011 10:21 pm

    I agree with the majority of the posts. I also find this type of technique to be quite rude.

    I tend to think that the best street photos are generally candid in nature. A non invasive technique that i was taught was to first set you cameras exposure then approach the subject. Ask them for the shot. Take a 'portrait' then as you break contact with the person take the candid shot. People will generally let you keep the shot as you have already asked for permission. The shot is still candid, however you havent offended anyone:)

  • George

    July 4, 2011 09:17 pm

    I'm sorry if this is a silly question, but I would love some answers...

    ...What do you guys do with all your street photographs in the end?

  • Andrew

    July 4, 2011 07:57 pm

    Firstly, thanks for making the video and sharing it, it is interesting to see your style.

    Secondly, I hope you do take some notice of the many critical feedbacks on this page, and have a think about what you are doing. It may be perfectly legal, but there is absolutely no doubt that you are offending some people. I would ask you to consider if the gains are worth that. If you were taking some awesome capture of a street moment unfolding, whether it is a big momentous event or even something smaller but unique and really interesting, then I think you have some justification for risking annoying and offending people. e.g. If two people were having an argument over a piece of property they were both holding on to, or a touching scene of a couple, or a street vendor surrounded by cool wares, etc, etc. Something happening which shows emotion or makes a statement.

    But you are not even capturing a "photograph" here - you aren't giving any thought to composing, or waiting for the critical moment, or looking for uniqueness, or for special light, or changing your perspective. You must be building a photo collection of thousands of people, all doing mundane things, and for what? Sure you might get the odd great photo here and there. But you could get that without cluttering up your memory card with 95+% of what are essentially shapsnots of commoness, by watching for the special photo moments, and not bothering people during capturing moments that aren't special.

    So even if you don't like the suggestions that have been made to ask permission first (which if you wait until they go back about their business can still give you unposed photos), I would recommend you take about one twentieth of the images, offend only one twentieth as many people, and take real photographs that have had thought given to their capture. Both you and the people on the street could actually enjoy that more.

  • Shishir

    July 4, 2011 09:23 am

    So now, I am absolutely sure I can't (won't) do this. Not for me. This is scary and rude (If not asked first) indeed. Btw, @Scott: I feel you :D

  • gipukan

    July 4, 2011 04:36 am

    Saw the video after a dl from utube. One can not take people like this in uganda. People will aks for money or will take your camera with a crowd of people. In Amsterdam I can imagene doing it like that w/o people asking or doing antthing. This can probably not be done in the city we are going to live within 5 days. People will be offended to much.

  • Mary

    July 3, 2011 11:01 pm

    I was a bit horrified to see his approach--I agree with the people who said they thought it was rude to snap-n-go. I have taken a lot of street photos that I'm really happy with, but have almost always asked if the person minded first--I feel that gives me the permission to hover if need be, till the shot looks more candid. Also, there is the notion of the waiver, which I often want signed, and it's really only appropriate to ask if the person has had a bit of a heads-up that you've taken their pic. I have taken candid pics w/o asking first, but only when the moment was so perfect that asking would have interrupted. Those shots I don't feel I should have any expectation of using professionally, if a waiver is not going to be obtained. My $.02.

  • Archideos

    July 3, 2011 08:38 pm

    Nice post.. but its not applicable in all places as everyone commented..

    I do agree to get permission rather than what is shown in the video. Why not approach the subject have a nice chat and inform that you will take photos while his doing the work and not to pose with your camera.. and that's it..Candid shot.. Your subject knows that a camera is ready to take the shot while doing something but didn't know when the click will be executed..

  • Alex

    July 3, 2011 04:48 pm

    Are you kidding me?

    That's all I'm going to say.

  • Oy

    July 3, 2011 11:01 am

    Hi Zamil,

    I live in Melbourne but I'm from Thailand. We don't believe that taking photos is bad for our soul O.O

    but I totally agree with your opinion :)

  • Vat

    July 3, 2011 06:40 am

    I dont think people who're opposed to this approach seem to get the whole point of street photography. Of course, it might seem a little rude and obnoxious sometimes, but it's a part of the technique, and it isn't illegal. There's street portraiture, where you ask people's permission and take a photo, and then there's street photography. I'm assuming no one has heard of famous celebrated Bruce Gilden : http://youtu.be/IRBARi09je8

    His technique comes off as much more obnoxious and attacking than Eric's, and as @HermanVonPetri said, Maybe Eric did gesture politely sometimes, you wouldn't have known from that video.

    @Scott Of course, Gavin's method didn't yeaild "artificial expressions", his blog post is amazing. Except that, you can't play that into streep photography, where if one's primary aim is to capturing “a decisive or poignant moment", a split second that'll be lost for ever. So no, that method doesn't really work here. I hope you see the beauty of street photography without it seeming so rude and obnoxious.

  • Gavin

    July 3, 2011 01:52 am

    Zamil

    I agree with you. However, in my experience, Thai people are usually very happy to oblige when asked for a photograph.

  • Zamil

    July 3, 2011 01:47 am

    I love street photography and nothing more captivating than taking photos of people in public... but I still think asking for permission and avoiding pissing them off is the way to go. From what I understand, it is bad news to take photos of people from Thailand... they believe it softens their 'spirit' and is bad for the soul (I may be wrong about the actual reason, but it's just not polite and they take offence greatly). I think there are alternatives than to rock up to strangers and shoot off a camera in their face. Long lens maybe?

  • dale c

    July 2, 2011 10:45 pm

    I agree that eric is a little in your face... but he's attempting to do street photos in a difficult area, with not that many people, and it is difficult to tell from this vid how "in your face" he really is... I disagree with all the comments from australians.. apprently a more violent group, I don't think people will attack you for taking thier picture....I think it varies....true street photos are not portraits taken with permission, they are a slice of human nature captured in a moment. the reason rangefinders are popular with street photogs is that they are less threatening than a long lens dslr..... for another inspiring video .. with a good method he describes as "shooting pictures with his hands" see joe wigfal... and this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-IOEAlBpSo
    Joe is also blessed because he lives in New York city, a place that is mecca for street randomness...

  • HS-Fotografie

    July 2, 2011 06:15 pm

    What Herman Von Petri wrote: “there is candid street photography and there are portraits that happen to be taken in the street” is absolutely right. Still I fear I may end up in hospital and lose my gear if I did it the way as shown in the video. Here in Rotterdam this absolutely would not be tolerated.

    Whenever they can see me taking the picture I will have to ask BEFORE I take the shot. In fact I get my best shots when people are completely unaware there picture was taken, but when I show the picture afterward to them, I am seldom allowed to keep the shot, most of the time they want me to delete it. So the shot may be very nice but it was useless, as I had to delete it.

    I However do not completely agree with Herman that “If you ask permission first then you are taking portraits in the street that are not truly candid”. I think that the “In your face” method as seen in the video is not really candid either as in most cases people are aware of the fact their picture was taken.

    I prefer to work like I did before (asking permission before shooting). Actually, working in the same way as I recently saw a photographer work in a documentary on National Geographic. There I saw a photographer taking street pictures where he, like I’m used to, asked people beforehand if it was OK to take SOME pictures while they continued doing what they did. I saw he took some 10 pictures of each person (or group of persons) and selected later the best from it.

    I still think that though many may say no when asking beforehand, it in the end gives the best results (at least you don’t have to delete good photographs), and they do not have to look like ‘just’ portraits taken in the street. In the same time I admit I too still have to learn a lot on this terrain.

  • Scott

    July 2, 2011 12:54 pm

    @ian:
    1) read what I already wrote above: "you can ask permission before or, if that isn’t possible/applicable, check with the person after to see if it’s OK (and erase if they’re unhappy)"
    2) you CAN ask for permission without getting artificial expressions. If you didn't click on it, check Gavin's blog:
    http://www.gavingough.com/2011/06/thoughts-on-sharing-not-just-taking/

  • HermanVonPetri

    July 2, 2011 08:47 am

    Well, there is candid street photography and then there are portraits that happen to be taken in the street. If you ask permission first then you are taking portraits in the street that are not truly candid (there's nothing wrong with that of course.) Although, it would have been nice to see him interact more politely with his subjects afterward.

    The most common technique I've noticed from the pros for gaining acceptance before taking a person's photo is: raise eyebrows in a questioning expression and/or gesture with the camera, take photo, smile and wave or give a nod of approval. Maybe Eric did gesture politely sometimes, although we wouldn't have seen that from the video.

  • Ian

    July 2, 2011 03:59 am

    @Eric: Wish I had confidence like you to take to the streets, great job and a very eye-opening video.

    @Scott: Asking for permission will lead to artificial expressions; try his method THEN ask for permission and compare your results.

    To others mentioning 'shooting from a distance', I'd rather know someone took my picture with their camera close-up than have them stalk me across the street with a 70-200 / 100-400 or whatever.

  • Sweet Ronit

    July 2, 2011 03:40 am

    This post has generated a lot of discussion! I guess for me, photography is very relationship-based, regardless of where I am - in the streets or elsewhere. I prefer to ask permission to take a photo, because asking denotes respect. I often find myself in a predominantly Latino community and some members are undocumented - they can be scared of having their pictures taken and I honor that.

    I think of Street Photography as capturing "a decisive or poignant moment." That includes a thoughtfulness about composition, and towards the moment being captured. Here are a couple of street shots, one candid, the other more posed, but with both I spent some time with the people, asked their permission, and paid a lot of attention to what was going on during our time together:

    http://sweetronit.com/blog/2010/08/23/african/

    http://sweetronit.com/blog/2010/10/20/yung-mook/

    Oh, and It's kind of funny these days that some photographers still insist that using a rangefinder is less obtrusive than a DSLR. Because of their very high price tag, you don't see rangefinders that often - so when you do, they stick out more, to me at least.

  • TrentReznor

    July 2, 2011 03:25 am

    Seriously, with this POV and the way he approaches people, this looked like a real life first person shooter.
    I used to take pictures like that here in Germany but stopped when people noticed and got really angry. Made me think about how intrusive my behaviour had been.

  • JayJay

    July 2, 2011 02:20 am

    @Jim I think you are right Jay Maisel is one of the best out there......

    I think no matter what way you go about Street Photography, You should always remember what Street photography / Portraits is about....... AND that is The People in the street, normal people, everyday life, as we see it every day, every minute, every second, frozen in time, the faces, the expressions, the gestures, there and then, nothing more, but certainly nothing less either.

    and to Qote Jay Maisel Street Photoraphy isn't a work its an Adventure.......

  • Scott

    July 2, 2011 01:28 am

    Just wanted to add, apropos of the earlier question of why I'm reading about street photography if I don't like the surreptitious aspect, that I'd viewed the video with the hope that it would give advice on just how to approach people and get their permission. It's what I think is the right way, though it doesn't mean I'm very good at it (not that people refuse me: I'm just diffident about asking). I'd gone on a group photo tour a couple of months ago, and one of the group was great at this: we'd see something interesting and she'd walk right up to the person and ask if we could take a photo (and we got great shots as a result). It might have helped that she was much prettier than me, but I'd like to be able to do just that.

  • Greg

    July 2, 2011 12:16 am

    This is great - generated a lot of good posts! Still don't agree with the way Erik did it - seemed toooo "in your face" and done to get a reaction, maybe?

  • Bob

    July 1, 2011 05:20 pm

    Totally agree with @ Scott, just rocking up and taking peoples pictures without permission, probably lucky the little twerp didn't get punched out (or worse) for his trouble.

  • HS-Fotografie

    July 1, 2011 04:38 pm

    Wow.., different mentality overthere.
    If I did it like that I probably would end up in hospital.
    Even when I have the camera not in the bag some act angry as I might take there picture (even if it just hangs from my shoulder)

    Anyway here it generally is considered very rude to take pictures like that
    Here (for my own good health) I HAVE TO ASK before taking a picture and most will say NO

    So when I take pictures of people I could in no way do it like you did, and when I go out to take pictures of a neighborhoor I usually use a small point and shoot camera, so I more or less look like a tourist.

  • Les Boucher

    July 1, 2011 03:31 pm

    Apart from pushing a camera into a complete strangers face being just plain rudeness you have to think about the legalities that are involved. While photographing a person in a public place isn’t (yet) against the law generally speaking, if you wish to make commercial use of a person's likeness, then you need to obtain their consent via a signed Model Release. If you don't, then you have appropriated the person's likeness and they can, and most likely will, sue for damages.

    For those interested you might like to take a quick look at the following link: http://4020.net/words/photorights.php

    While it mainly applies to New South Wales it also gives you an oversight into what can be taken and what can’t without consent. I often wonder how many photographers would be happy to have someone walk into their home from off the street and start snapping away without first obtaining permission. I know how I would feel and what the outcome would be. To me it’s more a case of etiquette and common courtesy to ask before you take a photograph of someone which may, at sometime in the future, end up in a competition or displayed in a public area.

    I carry release forms with me when I'm out taking shots just in case I come across someone who I would like to take a few shots of. If they object to what I have taken I delete it from my camera infront of them and it saves a whole lot of drama.I don't get many who object but you will always come across someone who, for reasons of their own, don't want their photo taken. I also carry a copy of a Photographers Rights ( A copy of which can br obtained from the link above ) Just in case some little official, who has no idea of the law, stops me. I just hand them the copy and suggest that they read it so that they can understand that I am a photographer and not a terrorist, predator or criminal before they start throwing their weight around.

  • Sonny

    July 1, 2011 09:29 am

    The approach he used is interesting - I doubt I have that kind of confidence. I applaud his method however. I'm a newbie, just got my D5100 and learning all I can. Can anyone suggest another approach to street photography?

    As a person, I personally don't mind at all if someone takes my picture, just don't interrupt me or get so close.

  • Cream of Beats

    July 1, 2011 06:44 am

    This definitely would not work in Detroit. I went out yesterday and took some random shots of people on the street, and the first 4 stopped and asked why I took their picture. They were all cool about it, but the explanations each took about 10-15 minutes! You don't know what these people are going through. They could be wanted by the FBI, have issues or lost a job, going through a divorce, have outstanding bills, etc, and here you go trying to take snapshots on the sly. Dude is super lucky that Leica didn't lick him across his head! haha! In all seriousness, if you try this, make sure you wear your running shoes, and pack light! LOL!

  • Javier

    July 1, 2011 06:35 am

    I'm with a lot of the comments here. This is not a cool way to approach street photography and gives street photography a bad name.

  • Georg Pauwen

    July 1, 2011 06:16 am

    To me, most of the fun in taking a camera into the street, or just about anywhere else, is to talk to people, wether I photograph them or not. I find that most people are very interested in why you are carrying all that equipment. The video is nice, because it shows a photographer at work, from the point of view of the camera, quite unique ! Thanks for posting, Eric !

  • Mike T

    July 1, 2011 05:42 am

    After watching the video and then going to his blog and looking at the result, I was quite surprised as to how well they turned out. I will have to try this sometime.

  • Jim

    July 1, 2011 05:25 am

    Eric's approach is diametrically opposed to that of Jay Maisel. I guess I'm more influenced by the old master's work since he looks for color, light and gesture when he's on the street, as opposed to what looked like Eric's hunt for surprised faces. In my opinion, there is more to street photography than taking pictures of surprised people. Eric quickly strides through the streets with barely any time to think about composition or backgrounds. I'm more a fan of finding a good spot (like a fisherman), blending into the background and letting interesting things happen - and then capturing them with the camera.
    Yes, I'd have to agree with some of the comments above: photography is somewhat like hunting. Having been an avid hunter the first 20 years of my life, those instincts still surface in me when I spot something moving high up on the facade of a building. I aim my telephoto lens and fire away. I developed that instinct early on and now I'm trying to refine it by looking for "artistic birds" to shoot.
    For an approach somewhere between Jay's and Eric's, check out Jeff Mermelstein. He uses a Leica and a wide-angle lens but is much less conspicuous than Eric. Jay admitted to having taken pictures furtively on the street when he was younger, too, so maybe Eric just has to mellow a bit. Of course, the excitement of having a GoPro video camera on top of a Leica and walking through the streets of L.A. could have made Eric more furtive than usual.
    I've recently posted a review of Scott Kelby's "Another day with Jay Maisel" on my blog in case you'd like to compare styles in more detail.

  • Stephen

    July 1, 2011 05:20 am

    Is this guy serious? Really?

  • scottc

    July 1, 2011 05:14 am

    I'm not a "street photographer", so maybe the joke is on me.

    Looks like someone with 7K plus worth of kit wandering the streets (nice neigborhood BTW), taking snaps, doing some post processing, and calling it "Street".

    I've seen photos from less invasive street photographers, taken in not so nice locations, that represent street life with far more character than this (also without humiliating the subjects, taking photos of the homeless, etc).

    I'm not impressed.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/

  • JayJay

    July 1, 2011 01:55 am

    I think the walking up and getting in someone's face is a bit rude... But as for Asking people on the street if you can take there photo just means your NOT getting street Photography your just taking Pictures of people where as Street Photography is all about Creating Images From the Street people doing what people do all going about there own business who wants to see a load of pictures of people that have been asked to pose for them.....
    I tend to find a busy street in a busy city get there and set up camp walk around with the camera and just start snapping by the end of the first 30 mins people are used to you if you go to the same place now and then people soon think of you as just another part of the street and I get some very naturel Images not the boring Pictures most people get that I shoot everyday in a studio....

  • Greg

    July 1, 2011 01:20 am

    Having said that, I don't think most Aussies would cause wanton destruction of property (we're not barbarians) but you wouldn't be very popular ;) ! I think Phoxxie's (and others here) attitude is the right one, ask and thou shalt receive (and if you don't, thank them politely and move on)

  • Phoxxie

    July 1, 2011 01:05 am

    I CANNOT do that. I will never risk having my 7D smashed to bits because someone didnt want their picture taken and I took it anyway. I instead approach people nicely and tell them i find them a bit interesting and if they wouldnt mind I took their picture.

  • Alex

    July 1, 2011 01:03 am

    @ Gavin. Your blog post & images are both beautiful and inspiring. To me, the sheer joy on your subjects faces shows the merit of your approach. Kudos! To all who have no checked it out yet, take a few seconds to see his work: http://www.gavingough.com/2011/06/thoughts-on-sharing-not-just-taking/

  • Greg

    July 1, 2011 12:55 am

    I'm new at trying any sort of street photography but I had a go today in Perth - it was fun (and it gave me some exercise) - I shot only two portraits of strangers (the rest was general street scenes), and those I asked first - it did help that the subjects made first contact - ie they were handing out pamphlets, so in return for taking the pamphlet, I asked for a photo, they couldn't refuse ;) I don't think shoving a camera in someone's face in Australia would get you far - in fact, you'd be lucky to have a camera at the end of the day.

    Personally, I think a nice portrait of a stranger who is aware of the camera is great.

  • Jenny

    July 1, 2011 12:45 am

    That's pretty cool how he made that video and just walks up to people and shoots them xD You can't do that where I live or you'll get beat up and get your stuff stolen :( But that's seriously awesome. I'd love to see how his photos came out :D

  • Sheryl Salisbury

    June 30, 2011 11:28 pm

    For those of you that think it's rude, how about making a video and showing us how you do it.

  • Gipukan

    June 30, 2011 09:33 pm

    Hmm, now allowed to see the video here in Uganda.

  • Samraz

    June 30, 2011 08:12 pm

    I think Eric presents his camera as a video camera which way this technique might work. Still photos are considered by many people as intrusive than video photography. My view!

  • pierre

    June 30, 2011 07:00 pm

    The method is extremely rude, I steal sometime picture of people when there is no other way and that I know it won't hurt them (long focal, group picture with focus or light on a particular guy, ninja picture, etc...).
    But my best picture street picture are when I work with the people around, eyes contact, shooting around them to get them in use with the camera, speaking, smile and show the camera, funny business card, etc... there is plenty of way of asking permission whithout asking any question, and most of time you bring a nice picture AND a great story which is much better...

  • Josh

    June 30, 2011 06:21 pm

    I agree with James. I also live in Australia and people will attempt to break your camera here if you do it Eric's style... I wouldn't want to take a full-frontal picture of some random guy on the street if I don't get their permission first - or at least if I'm not being 'stealth'.

    Eric's either rude or very confident - either way it gets the job done...

  • mac

    June 30, 2011 06:03 pm

    I wouldn't like some stranger to stand 1.5m in front of me and point a camera at my face. Even if it is a Leica. This style of photography is essentially selfish and inconsiderate. You have to totally disregard other's feelings. I notice that some photographers who do this sort of thing need to plug an iPod into their ears to further isolate themselves from their victims. Telling, isn't it?

  • Gavin

    June 30, 2011 04:34 pm

    Whilst I understand that this is the approach favoured by some "street photographers", I would agree with others and suggest that it is invasive and disrespectful.

    I don't think -in fact, I know - that it's necessary to "pretend that you're looking elsewhere" when taking street portraits. I understand that it might create a more observational image but it seems to be an approach that's particularly lacking in humanity and grace.

    I certainly wouldn't want to endorse or encourage this sort of approach to street photography and what concerns me most is the sense of invasion that subjects will feel the moment after Eric has stepped away. Or perhaps we should call them "victims"?

    Anyway, I suspect that this sort of approach might leave the subject feeling that they've been taken advantage of, "captured" without their permission. How will they feel the next time they see a guy or girl with a camera on the street? Suspicious? Wary? That can't be good.

    For what it's worth, here's my own recent blog post about an approach to street photography, which I'll link to as a potentially different approach.

    http://www.gavingough.com/2011/06/thoughts-on-sharing-not-just-taking/

  • Sahil Mehta

    June 30, 2011 02:07 pm

    I can't and I will not be able to take pictures without permission.. but good on ya mate..

  • James

    June 30, 2011 12:11 pm

    Interesting. I wouldn't dare attempt that method in Australia, where I'd most likely get my head kicked in. Here in Japan street photography isn't really welcomed. Sure, you can take photos of anything (almost) without any repercussions, but people in the street shy away when they see someone with a camera coming towards them. As soon as most Japanese here see a camera pointed towards them they immediately look away or cover their faces.

    Interesting methods anyhow. A bit in your face and rude in many cultures though.

  • Sime

    June 30, 2011 11:42 am

    Hmm, I don't see what's different between Eric's style of street and a photojournalist shooting people in a crowd etc? Sure, it's his job, but what makes it different?... They're on the street, there's nothing wrong with photographing people, people are interesting... Nice bag Eric, Retrospectives are great for street shooting!! ;-)

    Thanks.

    Sime

  • ryan

    June 30, 2011 10:41 am

    I have to agree with the others here; very very rude of the photographer. I realize that it is perfectly legal to take photos of people in public without their consent, but you come out looking like an exploitative jerk.

  • Scott

    June 30, 2011 09:57 am

    ... I'll add that I stopped the videos when it became apparent that the technique used was so invasive, but even early on I saw at least one guy put his hand up (too late) to block having his picture taken, which underscores how rude this practice is.

  • Scott

    June 30, 2011 09:53 am

    kyoung-ok: because you can ask permission before or, if that isn't possible/applicable, check with the person after to see if it's OK (and erase if they're unhappy). A photographer can get great shots WITHOUT being a jerk about it.

  • sebastian

    June 30, 2011 09:35 am

    The video idea it's pretty good, but you must admit that he is really rude and invasive. You can aproach some one or take a pic of someone when they don't notice but you gotta show some respect for their space. Any way his confidence is really good. If some one try to follow his style make sure you don't pick the wrong subject or you would get in some trouble.

  • Matt

    June 30, 2011 09:30 am

    Tiffany,
    There is no auto-mode on a Leica M9. It's a manual camera. You don't need to set up a shoot because the camera already is in the right settings. That's why it's so adapted to street photography, capturing the moment on the go.

  • Kyoung-ok

    June 30, 2011 08:50 am

    @Scott: So what are you doing in the "Street photography" - section then?

  • Tom

    June 30, 2011 08:32 am

    I have to agree with Scott's comment...

  • Jen

    June 30, 2011 07:55 am

    Great way to show how he take street photos. However, I agree with Scott that it is better to ask for permission instead of put camera into their faces like in the video. Or take photos of people on streets from the distance, not directly in front of their face while walking pass them. Just my opinion :)

  • Pablo

    June 30, 2011 07:50 am

    Curious, the relationship between photographer and subject seem to be reduced to predator and prey.

  • Scott

    June 30, 2011 07:21 am

    I think it's extremely rude to take pictures of people without getting their permission.

  • Tiffany in Topeka

    June 30, 2011 06:59 am

    Thank you so much! I really did learn a lot. It's one thing to talk about street photography and read about it, but it is completely different than I had envisioned.... For me, seeing it live is the best way to completely understand what you are talking about! Though you said the images you took on your walk weren't "super spectacular", they were still pretty darn good. Did you shoot in an auto mode?? I'm curious about your settings since you just swoop by and shoot without any time to set up a shot.

    Again, thanks for the video!! I'm now following your blog. :)

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    June 30, 2011 06:47 am

    Hi

    Fascinating method for street photography. I tend to take a bit more time and actually get out onto the street.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/hey-yo-taxi/

  • Eric Kim

    June 30, 2011 06:42 am

    Thanks for the shout-out Darren! :)

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