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Taking photos of strangers or visa versa

Where do you draw the line when it comes to taking photos of strangers or of strangers taking photos of you, your family or friends? Do you have scruples about taking photos of strangers?
14 years ago, May 22nd 2009 No: 1 Msg: #73669  

14 years ago, May 22nd 2009 No: 2 Msg: #73674  
My girlfriend always complains that I don't mention her enough in my blog - but then almost never agrees when I want to take her picture for it. Women!

I enjoy taking photos of strangers, as it gives my pictures depth and interest that you wouldn't have if you just took a picture of a street or scene. They are usually taken from pretty far away, so they don't invade anyone's privacy, and - you're right Mell, it really is creepy - I don't pretend to know any of them of give them names!

J. Reply to this

14 years ago, May 22nd 2009 No: 3 Msg: #73681  
B Posts: 105
I have to say that I really struggle taking photos of strangers...I always want to, as I love good portrait shots but I feel really self-conscious about it. I never know whether or not to ask or to take subtle photos so I never end up doing it!

In terms of having my own photo taken by strangers I always think its quite funny. The only place it really happened a lot was in the Philippines and locals on holiday would pretend they were taking photos of something else and point it at me at the last minute!

Lara Reply to this

14 years ago, May 22nd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #73684  
Ok...we were in El Nido, Philippines, last October.

There was a professional scandinavian TV crew in the resort at the same time as us.

They could not stop taking..not pics...but filming us.

I had to go to the camera man asking him to stop filming us.

Now, I don't know if Ma'ri (my gorgeous girlfriend)...and me...are not on any scandinavian travel TV show....do I care...yes...is it important...no...would I like to know if they used it....yes, for sure...and at least I would like a copy of it...

Does it change the world...no... Reply to this

14 years ago, May 22nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #73724  
I agree with Lara about the self-consciousness aspect of taking photos of strangers. People make photos come alive, but I never want to offend anyone by making them feel like they're on display, even if I'm taking photos from a distance (because then it feels like I'm stalking them). And I love candids, so when you ask for permission it's usually granted but then you just get a photo of someone smiling (which is nice, you know, but usually I'm interested in a taking a photo of what they were doing at the time). I have yet to work around this self-inflicted censorship.

I've had quite a few people take photos of me, both when I'm traveling and also at home. I never care - I mean, I've always been clothed and never in any sort of compromising situation so it won't come back around to haunt me. 😊 I work in a touristy area so there are cameras everywhere, and I know I'm in a lot of shots, with my eyes half closed and my mouth half open mid-sentence, I'm sure.

Once was really odd though. I was in Hawaii and some man with his wife/girlfriend came up and gestured with their camera. I thought he wanted me to take a picture of the two them, but then found out that no, no, he wanted to take a picture of me and then have his girlfriend/wife take one of both of us on the beach together. Kinda odd, I thought, but now there are several photos of me in this nice Japanese gentleman's holiday photos. I'm guessing he mistook me for someone else, because it's not like I, specifically, stood out among all the other folks that were there, really. And just today I had a mom ask if her daughter could take her photo with me while I was standing at my local fish market. I'm not one to say no, but...I don't think I'm that interesting. Reply to this

14 years ago, May 24th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #73821  
I would love to take photo's of strangers, but as the others above here I have a hard time doing it, because of the self-consciousness thingy... So I bought this camera with a big zoom and I thought I would be able to take sneaky pictures, but now I still have the same problem, which is me... Even from a great distance I have the feeling they can see that I am taking a photo of them and I feel embarrased, even though it would be highly unlikely that they would be able to see whether I am taking a photo of them or the builing or whatever... The stupid thing is, I don't care at all if people take photo's of me and I suspect that most people wouldn't mind either... And I have had a lot of photo's taken of me while travelling, in India I don't go a day without somebody taking a photo of me, with or without them on it, or their friends or the whole school class, the family and so forth... I have only once told somebody not to take a photo and that was because he put his camera in my face (and I mean in my face, the bloody lense was 1 cm away from my eye) without even asking. I told him politely that I didn't mind him taking a photo of me as long as he asked and as long as he backed off a little. I also once told a guy to stop taking photo's of my girlfriend of the time, because she was annoyed by it and he was annoying, just hovering about taking photo's from all sides...
Reply to this

14 years ago, May 25th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #73864  
As a child, when on holiday in Sydney a bunch of Japanese tourists asked my parents to take a photo of me as they were fascinated by my (then) bright blonde hair. Now that I think about that day, I do feel very bothered by it, I don't know whether its because I was just a child or it felt silly or shallow but now that I think about it, when I go to Africa in July I assume I probably would take photos of children and for similar reasons so I don't know.

Wouldn't bother me if people took photos of me now, as long as they aren't stalkerish about it :D Reply to this

14 years ago, May 25th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #73868  
I went to the launch party of a photography book once where the photographer gave a speech, and said that he was surprised how many of the people he met on his travels didn't let him take their photo when he asked them.

J. Reply to this

14 years ago, May 25th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #73888  
I'm glad to read how many of you feel like you may be invading someone's privacy when it comes to snapping the candid photo. I have the same thought, and therefore think I have missed some great subjects! Now that our travels are over, those pictures that I did get with local people living their life, bring back the experience clearer than those of us.
Our friends tease us about the pictures I take with my husband in them, he's usually in the same pose, we call him "flat- keith"!...
While we were living in the most visited city in Poland, I know I was photographed by tourists while carrying my bags of groceries home, wearing my big coat and scarf, trudging down the Planty path! Little did they know that it was just an ole'southern girl living the expat life in Krakow! Reply to this

14 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #74175  
I hardly ever take photos of people. When I travel with my boyfriend, he takes photos of us and the people we meet.

I dont mind when people take 'I find you interesting' or 'I like how you look' type photos of me. I however dont like when someone takes photos of me with sleezy intentions. For example, one time there were a bunch of guys on a beach who were making videos and taking photos of me and the other women on the beach in our bikinis. Very annoying! Reply to this

14 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #74177  
I think there might be more photos of us in India, taken on our last Christmas trip. Everytime we took out our camera, an Indian person or several would take out their mobile phone cameras and ask if they can have a picture of us. Taking out our camera seemed to be a signal to everybody around that we are holding a photo session. :D I suppose we are exotic in India. Me and my daughter are very pale skinned and my boyfriend is blonde and blue eyed.

There were film people in Mumbai, India when I was there this month wanting me to be an extra in movies. I didnt do it, because I did it before and it can get boring. It can take them several hours to make a few seconds of film.
Reply to this

14 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #74178  
My little boy was grabbed for photos constantly while in China and Morocco, but he is very cute looking with bright blonde hair. It used to usset him (and me) when he was younger, he would literally be grabbed out of my arms sometimes, but now hes a lot bigger and heavier, so people tend to ask first 😊 My husband was with us in China recently, and often people wanted him in the picture as well, as hes fair haired but also quite a tall body builder. I on the otherhand am dark haired and olive skinned, so I guess I don't stand out enough to be asked for a photo!

I feel a little uncomfortable with taking pictures of strangers, unless I am blogging about a specific trade that people work in in an area, like in Morocco when I was writing about argan oil production and pottery tile making and I felt that taking pictures of people working would be a visual explination. I always ask permission first though, but still I feel awkward doing it. Reply to this

14 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #74212  
2 posts moved to this new topic: Money and gifts for photos? Reply to this

14 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 14 Msg: #74458  
i love and need to make photos so is there a difference between an orange and a person
i was making a photo in treviso in italy 2001 when finished a woman streamed up to me and requested a copy of the photo i made which was in fact of a multi layered event,the said photo was of a child in a piazza with a policeman in the background restraining a puppy delicate nothingness.... i said to her that i only print once every 4 years and no she does not yet have a copy although i still retain her email address
i did not ask to make the photo so i did not TAKE the photo so if because i did not take it but made it
i feel as though, like an artist it is mine to do with as i so shall please and because i am a totally ethical person
it shall never be used for profit and is not comprising in any way to any of the said subjects in the made image
ahhhhhhh this is really a phil-oh-so-physical subject
i do believe that if you act in a proper manner and cross no real boundaries than you are safe to make a photo any where and of anyone
majella rampart Reply to this

14 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 15 Msg: #74459  
oops i forgot people TAKE images of me all the time however comprising hell i only have one life lets leave an impact Reply to this

14 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 16 Msg: #74653  

...people TAKE images of me all the time however comprising hell ...

There is a night club I have been to a couple of times in Hamburg, Germany. Last time I was there the night club people took a photo of me sitting at the bar and put it on their website. I did not mind that at all. It was a nice photo and I even used it as my TravelBlog profile photo for a while.

Another time I was a the same night club. There was a stripper there and just as she was standing beside me wearing almost nothing, the night club people aimed their camera in my and her direction. I moved quickly to avoid a photo of me and the stripper. They put that photo on their website too and when I saw it I felt relieved to see that I had managed to move far enough into nearby dark corner before they took the picture that I could not be recognised. There was a press party for Udo from Accept that night at the night club. I really like that band, and wished the night club people had taken a photo I could brag about and put it on their website, instead of the one they tried to take of me beside the stripper. Reply to this

14 years ago, July 31st 2009 No: 17 Msg: #81649  

13 years ago, November 25th 2010 No: 18 Msg: #123704  
I loved photographing people on the Champs Elysee, because its so busy no one really knows if the camera is pointing at them, and so many people are carrying cameras. But in Cannes, it was not so busy, so whenever I raised the camera, people looked straight at me, so I was not only influencing the scene, but I was feeling a bit 'watched.'

You get so many great photos of people in the crowd <snip> that you just have to do it, regardless of a little flack copped from subjects. Its the use of the photo where the ethics come into it. Use it well, dont comprimise anyones integrity, and its all good. In a public area, its ok to photograph people, if they dont like it, they can put their hand up in front of their face. Its not like your invading their home or anything. If you go out in public you may be photographed - fact of life. Deal with it.
Reply to this

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