It takes guts to take a photo of someone when they are pushing themselves on you and stepping all over your rights, but I’m glad Jeremy took the photo above. It helps to get the message out and make the guy above look like an ass. I’m not sure where this is but if I see the same store in my travels out walking I’ll be sure and stop by to shoot a bit there myself.
People like the guy above need to learn that they can’t hassle photographers for doing what is their right to do. And they don’t learn this lesson because 95% of the time people just acquiesce and give into authority that they assume but don’t actually hold.
Here’s a place where I disagree with Thomas Hawk, and I feel he’s doing photography a disservice.
it’s not that he doesn’t have a right to take a photograph; it’s that the subject he’s photographing also has rights here, too, and this is one of those classic cases where rights are in conflict and some judgement needs to be taken to balance those rights.
When Thomas goes up against some corporate dweeb telling him not to take a picture of a building? I’m fully behind him. I think that kind of corporate control is stupid and out of line. But taking a picture of someone who doesn’t want their picture taken? What about his rights to not be hassled, to some privacy, to having some choice here?
Where does this stop? The person in question isn’t part of a news story, so there’s no journalistic “inform the public”. There’s no way any legitimate publishing concern would accept the photo without a model release — and there won’t be one, obviously. It’s not a public figure, so you can’t even make the claims of the paparrazi that the person is in the public interest. This is just, well, because someone wanted to. Even though that person said no.
So, if you can take a picture of someone against their will, where do we draw the line? if Thomas leaves his blinds up, is it okay to take a picture of him through his window while he’s in the shower? Can I start taking pictures of children in the park, even if their parents don’t want me to? How about hidden cameras in store dressing rooms? If the person’s right to privacy doesn’t matter, and if their permission (or revocation of permission) is meaningless, just how far are you willing to go before you start thinking that maybe the subject SHOULD be able to say no?
Frankly, Thomas’ position here is why there are arguments for more restriction, because he’s so focussed on what he CAN do that he’s forgotten the rest of it: whether he should. And they’re very different things. He’s merely thinking of the legalities and what he wants — given there are multiple people involved, waht the OTHER person wants needs to come into play, too.
And since there’s no reason to take this picture (other than “because I can and you can’t stop me”) — no public figure aspect, no journalistic aspect to the picture — there’s no reason to take this picture without the subject’s permission other than ego. And that’s a lousy reason to take it.
Can he take this shot? Sure (and his subject can try to make him eat his camera, too). but should he?
If you ask me, no. A person has a right to NOT be turned into a public event, to not have his picture taken. And I have trouble when people get into a mode of “you can’t keep me from my rights, but I’m going to ignore yours”. Winning in life is doing what is right, not legal, and about finding the appropriate compromises between conflicting sets of rights, not simply demanding your own and denying others.
So in these cases, by demanding their rights, thomas and those like him are doing wrong, for the wrong reasons.