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lockecito:

mikepetersphoto:

On Saturday in Bryant Park in NYC I had photographed a man using a cell phone on a retractable arm to make a video of himself, his wife and their child. It was nothing special really, I had been photographing photographers shooting and looking at photographs throughout my travels that day, so it…

Ethicality is not never annoying someone. Accommodating peoples’ ignorance and narcissism is an unfair burden for photographers to shoulder.  

At what point does accommodation become oppression? Something to think about.

Sheesh…

My words get more attention than my photographs.

Note to self: there is a message here!

Q

Anonymous asked:

Taking photos of people without their permission is a form of theft. You're stealing a piece of their soul, preserving that precise moment of their existence for an eternity, ensuring that they will never fully pass into the afterlife; some small part of them will always be existing in this world. It's a disgrace to their humanity. An insult.

A

990000:

photographsonthebrain:

mikepetersphoto:

Wow. 

Absolutely! 

I’m not sure if “disgrace” is the right word, but it’s definitely a form of theft. Or vampirism.

Vampirism!

conscientious:

fabulousmrfrost:

conscientious:

mikepetersphoto:

conscientious:

mikepetersphoto:

On Saturday in Bryant Park in NYC I had photographed a man using a cell phone on a retractable arm to make a video of himself, his wife and their child. It was nothing special really, I had been photographing photographers shooting and looking at photographs throughout my travels that day, so it…

Once again, while it might be legal to photograph people in public against their will, the real question is whether it is ethical to do so, in particular in a case where someone asks to have the photograph deleted. See my piece on the ethics of street photography.

Ethics. A worthwhile discussion for sure. I tried to educate the man about the fact that there were museums filled with photographs made by photographers on the street. I did invite the man to look at my web site so he could get a better understanding of what I was doing. I did attempt to inform the man about case law. He was dismissive and persistent in my being wrong.

If he had a legitimate concern, then I would have listened. But, I would still have decided on my own that the choice to keep or discard the image was mine alone and would be based on the merits of the image, and if his story worth while, I would take that into consideration also. 

In my many years of photographing on the street, this is only the second time anyone has asked me to delete a photo. If people are willing to listen, I do tell them that I photograph on the street as a means of expressing how I feel about the times in which I live through what I see and what I’m drawn to photograph. In this case, the man was not interested in what I had to say as he was too invested in being right.

For reasons of completeness, here’s Mike’s response. As far as I am concerned, the man did have a legitimate concern, which, btw, has nothing to do with what’s in museums or the law.

I’m always fascinated by how these conversations disregard the fact that all day we’re each being recorded, cataloged, and analyzed by the massive number of video surveillance cameras perching from street poles and poking out from under shop awnings. If anything, these cameras are more ethically dubious, highly suspect, and worthy of questioning than someone “expressing how [they] feel about the times in which [they] live through what [they] see and what [they’re] drawn to photograph”

Well, do question those cameras. But the fact that those cameras are more dubious ethically does not magically take away from your own ethical problem.

I mean you can’t be bothered by all the surveillance, and then dismiss it when other people are bothered by you photographing them.

The solution seems rather obvious: pay close attention to other people, if they don’t want to be photographed don’t do it, and by setting an example you’re in a much better spot to complain about you being photographed by surveillance cameras.

Ethics. What a can of worms when it comes to photographing people in public spaces. I do very much understand and respect Jörg’s point of view on this. We all come to our own conclusions on what is ethical.
I suppose I had reacted to being called out as wrong by the man who confronted me. I don’t like being bullied, and I don’t like bullies. When confronted with aggression, I will respond in kind. 
If you read my response below, my preference is to be allowed to make my own decision based on the image, and by taking into account the request of the man in the park. But to call me out as wrong for doing something that I and many others do millions of times each day is not a good way start a conversation, but rather a great way to end one before it even starts.
I just notice people and situations, and I make photographs of those people and situations. Most of the time those photos are not good, and sometimes they are. My mission is to bear witness to what I notice within the frame work of the world in which I live, and the experiences throughout my life that have shaped me.
Certainly deleting the image on the spot would have been the polite thing to do. Telling me that I was wrong to even make the photo, and that I’m not allowed to do so in a public space was not exactly polite either.
Frankly, I don’t like it when people are mad at me. I’ve been confronted a few times about making photographs. Having an opportunity to explain myself has always resulted in a positive outcome. Twice I’ve been asked to delete images, once with film, so that was a no-go, and now this time. If someone wants to ask what I’m up to, or confront me, at least give me the opportunity to explain myself. I am not an unreasonable person.
The fact is, we live in a society where the creation of photographs is happening all around us, all the time. I believe these issues will be debated for a long time, and that is not a bad thing at all.
Hi Jörg,
All is well, thanks and I hope with you too. Thank you also for the kind words. I very much respect your thoughts and writing about photography, and also your photography itself. I believe your voice has been, and will continue to be, an important and interesting part of the discourse for years to come.
I welcome your views very much, and you are correct on saying that the onus is on me. However, I prefer to come to my own conclusions about what I do rather than being coerced. 
If he had chosen to enter into a discussion, or even take the step to look at my website on any one of his varied electronic devices, which I encouraged by handing him my card, he might have seen that I meant him no harm. I offered a civil discourse, but his insistence that what I did was wrong, and dismissing any attempt on my part to explain myself was not productive. So, rather than be bullied, I decided that I would allow the image to be the deciding factor. 
It was not a good photo, as is often the case with photos shot on the fly. If it was a good photo, I would have still considered his plea to not use it, but I prefer to do that, again by my own volition rather than at the end of a pointed finger of a bully who will not enter into a fruitful discussion.
In the end, it’s not a big deal. But it happens from time to time, and not just to me. I thought it would be a good point of discussion, and I’m glad we have been able to air this out a bit. In the end, we may disagree, and that’s ok.
Thanks for weighing in on this.
All the best,
Mike
On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Jörg Colberg <jmcolberg@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Mike,

   I hope you’re doing well!
   Just thought I’d get in touch. Don’t get me wrong, I love your
work, I love what you’re doing. But I do think that if someone asks
you to delete a picture, even after you’ve tried to convince them that
what you’re doing is OK, then I think the onus is very clearly on you.
As far as I’m concerned, deleting the picture is the ethically correct
thing to do even if you don’t agree with the person or if you can’t
see that person’s reasoning (it doesn’t really matter whether his wife
made him do it or not). Given this has only happened to you a couple
times this shouldn’t really a big deal.

All the best,

J

conscientious:

mikepetersphoto:

conscientious:

mikepetersphoto:

On Saturday in Bryant Park in NYC I had photographed a man using a cell phone on a retractable arm to make a video of himself, his wife and their child. It was nothing special really, I had been photographing photographers shooting and looking at photographs throughout my travels that day, so it…

Once again, while it might be legal to photograph people in public against their will, the real question is whether it is ethical to do so, in particular in a case where someone asks to have the photograph deleted. See my piece on the ethics of street photography.

Ethics. A worthwhile discussion for sure. I tried to educate the man about the fact that there were museums filled with photographs made by photographers on the street. I did invite the man to look at my web site so he could get a better understanding of what I was doing. I did attempt to inform the man about case law. He was dismissive and persistent in my being wrong.

If he had a legitimate concern, then I would have listened. But, I would still have decided on my own that the choice to keep or discard the image was mine alone and would be based on the merits of the image, and if his story worth while, I would take that into consideration also. 

In my many years of photographing on the street, this is only the second time anyone has asked me to delete a photo. If people are willing to listen, I do tell them that I photograph on the street as a means of expressing how I feel about the times in which I live through what I see and what I’m drawn to photograph. In this case, the man was not interested in what I had to say as he was too invested in being right.

For reasons of completeness, here’s Mike’s response. As far as I am concerned, the man did have a legitimate concern, which, btw, has nothing to do with what’s in museums or the law.

So, what was his concern? Did I miss something? His only concern was that his wife did not like that I had taken their photo.

Q

Anonymous asked:

Taking photos of people without their permission is a form of theft. You're stealing a piece of their soul, preserving that precise moment of their existence for an eternity, ensuring that they will never fully pass into the afterlife; some small part of them will always be existing in this world. It's a disgrace to their humanity. An insult.

A

Wow. 

conscientious:

mikepetersphoto:

On Saturday in Bryant Park in NYC I had photographed a man using a cell phone on a retractable arm to make a video of himself, his wife and their child. It was nothing special really, I had been photographing photographers shooting and looking at photographs throughout my travels that day, so it…

Once again, while it might be legal to photograph people in public against their will, the real question is whether it is ethical to do so, in particular in a case where someone asks to have the photograph deleted. See my piece on the ethics of street photography.

Ethics. A worthwhile discussion for sure. I tried to educate the man about the fact that there were museums filled with photographs made by photographers on the street. I did invite the man to look at my web site so he could get a better understanding of what I was doing. I did attempt to inform the man about case law. He was dismissive and persistent in my being wrong.

If he had a legitimate concern, then I would have listened. But, I would still have decided on my own that the choice to keep or discard the image was mine alone and would be based on the merits of the image, and if his story worth while, I would take that into consideration also. 

In my many years of photographing on the street, this is only the second time anyone has asked me to delete a photo. If people are willing to listen, I do tell them that I photograph on the street as a means of expressing how I feel about the times in which I live through what I see and what I’m drawn to photograph. In this case, the man was not interested in what I had to say as he was too invested in being right.

Yes, I can, actually…

On Saturday in Bryant Park in NYC I had photographed a man using a cell phone on a retractable arm to make a video of himself, his wife and their child. It was nothing special really, I had been photographing photographers shooting and looking at photographs throughout my travels that day, so it was just a reaction to something I had never seen happening before.

I made a few frames and then sat down to enjoy the breeze, a bit of coffee, and a rest for my aching back. 

After a minute or two, the man came up to me and told me that I could not photograph people I didn’t know without first asking their permission. He said his wife was upset. I’m sure he didn’t want to confront me on his own, but the things we do for our significant others is something I am quite familiar with.

I politely told him that, yes, I can actually photograph him, or anyone else whenever I like, so long as we are in a public space. I told him that there is legal precedent protecting my right to do so, and that there are museums filled with the work of photographers who have done just that for generations.

He said “can I ask you to erase the photo of us?” and I told him that he could ask but I would not, as it would be my choice as to whether or not the photo was worth keeping. His wife was very made up, and perhaps was a celebrity in another country. I told him that if they or she was famous, I had no idea who they were, nor did I care. I am not a paparazzi and the photo would not wind up in any tabloid. 

He asked where the photo might wind up, and my website was my answer. I handed him a card and invited him to take a look at all of the photographs of all of the people from whom I did not ask permission. He admonished me again, as did his wife, that photographing people without asking permission is not allowed.

I bid them farewell and went on to photograph more people that I did not know or ask permission from. I saw them a bit later, still in Bryant Park, while they had a camera on a tripod set up taking more photos of themselves. I wonder if they asked permission of the people in the background or those sitting next to them for permission?

As it turned out, the photo was not so good, so it will never see the stream of the internet or a printed page. But I will defend my right to take a photo in a public space of anyone I choose. Photography is not a crime.

And now for something completely different… on the roof of the met museum in nyc.

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