Permission to shoot?

As some of you may have seen, I contribute to the photographic blog Copenhagen girls on bikes.

In recent weeks, some friends have questioned whether what I am doing is ethically sound and I would be interested to gain some more perspectives.

Have a look at the blog and let me know your thoughts.

In researching street photography techniques, I came across this thread on Flickr which raises some interesting points. It seems that the majority of photographers on there feel that asking for permission first makes it impossible to get truly candid shots.

Me? I just shoot, shoot, shoot. Deal with questions later. Or in my case, ride off fast. 😉

Incidentally, while roaming round the Flickr universe I came across the work of Gary Isaac. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

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28 Responses to “Permission to shoot?”


  1. 1 Russell Quinn July 24, 2007 at 8:22 am

    I know that you’ve already heard my thoughts, but I’ll post them here for the sake of the debate.

    Despite understanding your intentions of wanting to capture the spirit of a part of Copenhagen culture, they’ve made me feel increasingly uncomfortable, but for a while I couldn’t really pinpoint why in a coherent way.. It was just a reactionary feeling.

    After thinking about it for a while, I think the main reasons that I feel strange about viewing them are:

    1. They’re (usually) entirely focussed on one demographic (and a sensitive one because of the differing genders).
    2. The subjects are (usually) photographed from behind.
    3. The subjects are (usually) on their own, which I think implies a higher entitlement to privacy (I can’t fully explain the reasoning for that yet).
    4. The subjects are (usually) portrayed as having no knowledge that any of this has happened.

    It’s a really interesting area that needs to be discussed with the recent rise of content-driven websites and I realise myself that there is other material that I would initially deem as being acceptable, but when pushed to justify it, I would conclude that it probably wasn’t.

    To summarise, I think it ultimately appears creepy to me because as the series grows in size, it naturally seems very targeted and predatory.. oh and the name “Girls on Bikes” really doesn’t help people to place it on the right side of the ethical divide 😉

  2. 2 Brendan July 24, 2007 at 9:11 am

    I think that girls on bikes is a celebration if you will, of the wonderment of the cycle combined with the grace and beauty of the female form. This concept however only works in the scandenavian parts of the world and would be extremely impossible in other places such as Australia and the UK as those girls are normally mingers who could not fit their oversized behinds onto a bike let alone allow the transportation device to move.
    In these other counties I suggest girls on tractors as a fair alternative!

  3. 3 Russell Quinn July 24, 2007 at 9:44 am

    @Brendan – I think if you replace “girls on bikes” with “trees in parks” then your point is correct.

    The problem is that girls, unlike trees, aren’t by default passive objects to be displayed for public admiration and discussion. Sure, some might want to be treated in that way, but there will also be others against it. If you remove that choice and treat people as objects then it’s a whole different thing from say, producing an ‘art’ book of girls on their bikes who think it’s great being in an art book.

    To return to the point about candid photography – This is slightly different argument. There’s a difference between if you seek approval before or after, and if you seek it at all.

    For example – there may be many television programmes featuring members of the public set up for ridicule in some contrived ‘candid camera’ situation, and of course it wouldn’t work if they were made aware of it beforehand, but they’ve all been told afterwards and have signed release forms to agree that the footage can be publically broadcast.

    How would you feel if you discovered a photo of your friend, girlfriend, sister or mother (or boyfriend, brother, father) on the internet, that was taken by a stranger in what could be perceived as a sexual manner, without their knowledge, along with a string of comments?

  4. 4 aaron78 July 24, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Russell, leaving aside any perceived sexual connotations of the pictures, I can’t help but feel that to take your comments to their logical conclusion would involve the prohibition of any street photography involving human subjects. Should Cartier-Bresson have pointed his camera at a tree and not a person?

  5. 5 Russell Quinn July 24, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Yes, I totally agree. I don’t think total unquestionable logic can be applied to most moral cases as they are highly subjective until, I guess, they reach a point of ubiquity in a society and are eventually turned into simple law.

    I don’t mean my arguments to sound like there is obviously a single rule to use in all matters associated with this subject, but rather that I am trying to explain and reason (with myself as well as others) why I am feeling that it’s wrong.

    You can only reason about these kind of things by thinking about similar situations that you have a stronger conviction about, or canvas a popular opinion I guess?

  6. 6 lucy July 25, 2007 at 9:29 am

    I think the issue of consent has to encompass the context in which the image is published. The act of capturing the photograph cannot be entirely isolated from the photographer’s motivations, or the context in which the image is displayed to the public. I think this necessitates each “street” photograph to be assessed separately.

    Since you are aware that there are women who will not feel comfortable with the way they are portrayed on “cycle chic” (“People are going to accuse us of being sexist pigs”), and presuming that you don’t have some supernatural ability to distinguish which may feel this way, it appears that you are either:

    deciding that making strangers feel uncomfortable in this way is justified in your cause/for your art,
    OR
    judging that their reasoning for feeling that way is *so* unsound that their opinions are irrelevant.

    Of course there is no right and wrong here, but i find both these options pretty distasteful.

    If you are interested in a more articulate explanation of why women do find your fotolog offensive you could suggest the story to feministing.com

  7. 7 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Thanks Lucy.

    ‘If you are interested in a more articulate explanation of why women do find your fotolog offensive you could suggest the story to feministing.com’

    That’s just it, not many women do find it offensive – as far as I have been able to ascertain. I have asked every single woman I know if they find it offensive and you are the only one who does.

    As for my motivations as a photographer, it’s to capture moments of beauty. Pure and simple. I say that these are beautiful images with subjects that happen to be women.

  8. 8 belle80 July 25, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I have often thought that if girls took pictures of ‘girls on bikes’ it might not have the same viewing pleasure (…depending on your orientation or course)

    What I’m trying to say is that pictures of the opposite sex often express some degree of sexual connotation, whether it is harmless or not. Its the photograper’s intentions and suggestions that make things more intriguing. You can often tell if a portrait is done by a man….the complimenting angles, alluring look in her eye and tilt of her chin. This is what makes it exciting, ‘voyeristic’ and interesting.

    ‘girls on bikes’ is great, absolutely fantastic shots, but you can’t avoid turning women into objects for viewing pleasure….not that we unaccustomed to this, historically speaking its the status quo, and its almost like some of us rise to the occasion (eg. the disaffected stare).

    Is there some pictures of sexy, funky menfolk on bikes around town out there? Bring it on…
    I have tried to express my opinion in various shades of grey.

  9. 9 Emma July 25, 2007 at 10:26 am

    I have to say that I completely agree with Lucy on issues of non=consenting female parties. To me it seems like there would be a strong case for sexual harassment to be filed againse you if a woman was unhappy about the photographs you took.

    As it has been already been noted, your photographs have sexual undertones, and in a setting where people are unable to give consent to you portraying them in such a fashion I believe it is unethical. Particularly given the fact that these people are of a neutral position, going about daily business. It’d be different if you were actually taking sexual photos of them outwardly being expressedly sexual. It’s the fact that you MAKE the photographs sexual by for example emphasising a womans thighs in one instance, which is what Lucy, Russell and myself are balking at.

    Try asking a woman on the street next time about whether you can take a photo of her ass while she cycles along so that you and your friends can drool over it online, and I’m sure you’ll get a slap or a restraining order. By omitting to tell these women, you are trying to say it does no harm because you KNOW it it something which is not fair or right. Objectifying women without their prior consent is wrong, and it is sexual harassment.

  10. 10 lucy July 25, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Aaron, I think you have to be aware that your sample (“every single woman I know”) will be biased. From the sort of people you come into contact with to the way you pose a question, to peoples’ unwillingness to initiate conflict unless necessary.

    Of course my sample isn’t any cleaner, but the fact is that we’ve received totally different answers to the same question and i don’t think you can say either is right or wrong, but that public opinion is probably a mix of both.

  11. 11 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Belle, Emma, thanks for your comments. I think this issue of objectification should be explored further.

    Can someone give me a proper definition here?

    In what way are the women in these shots objects? It seems that some are taking the women in isolation, instead of seeing them as a crucial element within the picture as a whole. Many of the pics are just of a shoe, or leg, juxtaposed against the machinery of the bike. The surroundings – the buildings, other cyclists, clothing, the light, shadows – the pictures delve into so many aspects of what is to cycle in this city.

  12. 12 lucy July 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

    In terms of objectification in this context i think the dictionary definition suffices.

    “Sexual objectification is objectification of a person. That is, seeing them as a sexual object, and emphasizing their sexual attributes and physical attractiveness, while de-emphasizing their existence as a living person with emotions and feelings of their own.”

    “cycle chic” takes voyeuristic photographs (emphasizing sexual attributes), without considering consent of the subject (de-emphasizing their existence as a living person).

    In terms of particularly offensive shots i’d have to say this this probably tops my list: http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogspot.com/2007/07/dismount.html
    i know aesthetics are subjective, but come on? What is this picture telling me? Her head is almost cut off.

    However, I think it’s important to consider the blog as a whole because this is the way in which people are viewing your images and this is what is an issue for me.

    In the context of the background of contemporary society ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_objectification#Objectification_of_women ) “cycle chic” does not explore all that’s great about cycling in copenhagen (the flattness, the ubiquity of polite, rule obeying, citizens etc.) it examines the visual appeal of young women, mostly without even attempting to make links between the former and latter.

    For example I like the concept of sending the message to women that you don’t have to buy specialist clothing to cycle commute, but when it comes from a masculine perspective it definitely has tones of “you should be dressing to please us”. Also, if you bear in mind that the most cycle friendly cities in Europe, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, are far flatter than most, i think it’s a little unrealistic to expect this message to carry much weight.

  13. 13 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Lucy, you seem unable to accept that my motives are anything other than voyeuristic for sexual gratification.

    I fear that however I try to justify the pictures will do little to assuage your obvious disdain and distaste for them.

    Thanks for posting such well-constructed and intelligent comments, but it seems that never the twain shall meet!

  14. 14 Mikael July 25, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    A girlfriend of mine called the blog “social documentary in high heels”, which seems quite appropriate. In many ways the discussion is a cultural one. For many Danes and Copenhageners, this IS social documentary. This is what we see each and every day. This is what appeals to us. This is the way we see our town.

    Many of my photos on the blog have been published in design and lifestyle magazines. Two examples here:
    Cycle Chic World Premiere in KBH Magazine
    Modern Elegance *

    After publication, I was contacted by some of the subjects. They all asked for copies of the photos. I obliged.

    This disussion will always be firmly divided in two. “Sexism” should rarely be discussed between people from different countries/moral codes. The discussion rarely reaches any conclusion. What works for most people in Denmark doesn’t work for most people in, say, the States.

    At the end of the day it’s much like the hardcore porno on Danish televsion at night. Don’t like porno? Change the channel. Do like porno? Watch it.

    For me this example is the best one. The porno won’t be removed just because some people dont’ like it. Generally, in this country, those who don’t like something respect the fact that there are others who do. In my experience this tolerance for your fellow citizens is rare in countries outside of Scandinavia.

    I, for one, respect the fact that there are others out there who feel strongly about the objectification issue in the said photos on the blog. Just as much as I respect those who enjoy looking at them. What irritates me is when people start waggling their finger at other people, trying to force their own, personal (or regional) moral codes on them. Not very tolerant at all.

    Don’t like it? Don’t click on it. Like it? Click away. Or start your own blog about whatever it is that interests you.

    My wife – who often features in my photostream – http://www.flickr.com/photos/16nine/866756384/ – actually spotted THIS fellow citizen the other day while we were riding:
    Copenhagen Fashionista on Wheels
    and told me to get out the camera. I must be losing my touch… 🙂

    Whatever the case, this is my Copenhagen – as it is Aaron’s. Just as Bresson (a MUCH better photographer) had his Paris. This is what we see and we feel compelled to photograph it. Which is the very core of any artistic pursuit. I don’t know if Rubens painted trees, but I’m very glad he didn’t.

  15. 15 Russell Quinn July 25, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    > At the end of the day it’s much like the hardcore porno on
    > Danish televsion at night. Don’t like porno? Change the channel.
    > Do like porno? Watch it.

    No, no, no. This really is an entirely different subject. In the context of the example you gave, we’re discussing something akin to a pornographic channel made from footage of non-consenting adults filmed from behind a bush.

    Viewing photos or film of people who have agreed to be in them (either before or after) is just a simple matter of taste and not a moral debate.

    The subjects are being objectified because they do not have a voice.

    At least one of the non-Copenhagen dwelling commentators in this thread owns a bike in this city and has spent a considerable amount of time cycling around it over the years. She’s also experienced verbal harassment from leering men while doing so and would be utterly devastated to be subjected to obnoxious comments on the internet.

    The argument is so, so simple.. give your subjects a choice.

  16. 16 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Quick point . . . can you show me any obnoxious comments? Either on the blog or mine or Mikael’s Flickr streams? Genuine question, I’m not aware of any.

  17. 17 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Also Russell, I’ve had my fair share of leering comments too. From women.

  18. 18 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    And, no, the argument is not so simple. Why give our subjects a choice and not other subjects of street photography?

    This comes down to whether you see the pictures as art, or not. If you think street photography is an artform or not. It’s subjective. You say we objectify the women, I say we celebrate them.

  19. 19 sarika staflund July 25, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    …..i discussed the topic bout taking photos of people in the streets with three of my colleagues we were; a Swede, 2 Danes and one Colombian girl,

    all female between 27-35.

    No one of us would be offended in any way if we found ourselves on the internet cycling from behind cuz:

    # there is nothing revealing to see from that angle

    # you can’t be 100% sure of who it is

    # there is really no way to trace the photo longer than to you

    # there is no phone no or name combined with the pics.

    Though the name: girls on bikes gave all of us a feeling about a sexual touch, don’t know weather it is us or not but we did!?

  20. 20 Russell Quinn July 25, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    An example:
    Carefree

    Receiving leering comments and enjoying them = FINE

    Shouting out leering comments to someone who’s obviously wanting them (very tricky ground but if well, if you’re really sure) = FINE

    Shouting out leering comments to anyone in a short skirt / tight shorts = NOT FINE

    Taking photos of people without them knowing for your own personal collection = OK

    Taking photos that others might perceive as sexual for your own personal collection = A LITTLE CREEPY, BUT…

    Taking photos without them knowing for an art exhibition of limited exposure = PROBABLY OK, MAYBE.. (the more ‘extreme’ they are the more careful you have to be that they or anyone that knows them wont see them)

    Taking photos without them knowing and having them printed once in a magazine = A FINE LINE, BUT PROBABLY OK IF YOU REALLY THINK IT WON’T UPSET THEM

    Taking photos that could be perceived as sexual without them knowing and posting them up on a global website, **along with a comment form for anyone to judge them** = WRONG

    It’s certainly very murky water along the way, but I really believe that this case is clear. To cite an example.. remember the Star Wars Kid? There was nothing sexual here, he even left the tape lying around himself, but his life was ruined by it being posted to the Internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_kid).. and it would be the same if someone else had filmed him.

    It’s a massive mixture of intention, politics, morals, context, etc. but ultimately the medium and exposure has to come into play. The most important thing is that you consider the the possibility of upsetting people and it’s pretty high in this case.

    Say one photo of a girl particularly appealed to an audience of men who started commenting and emailing it around to the point where it became “internet famous” and she’s humiliated because the thought of everyone seeing her in a short skirt from behind on a bike amongst pages of similar shots is the worst thing she can imagine.

    If you took it then you’d be devastated I’m sure, and that’s why I don’t understand why a “hey, I just took this photo of you, I think you look great, would you mind if I posted it up on my cycling blog?” isn’t the minimum you owe to them.

    When the possible exposure (and chance for public opinion) is this great, then don’t you both have to agree on the subjective nature of the photograph?

  21. 21 lucy July 25, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Firstly, just to clear Aaron’s 12:15pm comment up – Of course i can hypothetically accept that your motives may by entirely innocent, but this doesn’t affect the way the blog is viewed online.

    Also, Aaron, i hardly see how your sexually harassment is relevant here. I think all Russell was trying to say is that “cycle chic” has to be viewed in the context of the culture of (sometimes very intimidating) sexual harassment of women on the streets of Copenhagen. I could be wrong about this, but i don’t think the same culture applies to male cyclists. Please feel free to correct me if i’m wrong with stories of unprovoked cycle stalking and physical assault.

    Now, I’m not trying to force my “moral code” on anyone, only asking Aaron how he justifies what he does because “other people think it’s ok,” and “i don’t mean any harm,” don’t address the issues i originally raised ( https://somethingrotten.wordpress.com/2007/07/23/permission-to-shoot/#comment-1373 ).

    Basically I think Mikael’s response, and Aaron’s follow up fall into:
    “judging that their reasoning for feeling that way is *so* unsound that their opinions are irrelevant.”
    so my query has been answered.

  22. 22 belle80 July 25, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    I say there is both celebration and objectification going on here…

    Even if it isn’t intentional, you can’t help objectification because its about how an audience views people, how men look at women, how women look at themselves and other women, historical and cultural contexts and the effects surrounding this. (Hence the postmodern theory of ‘the gaze’)

    Objectification is also a celebration because it is tied up with conceptualization and aesthetics….Camille Paglia holds that ‘turning people into sex objects is one of the specialties of our species’, its a natural thing to do.

    I just don’t think you can seperate the two that easily and its important for the photographer to be aware of his or her ‘gaze’ and its postive and negative repercussions.

  23. 23 Rosie July 25, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I think I’m repeating a lot of what has already been said, but here are some of my views anyway.

    I understand completely that asking permission first wouldn’t be suitable for this kind of photography, as it would ruin a lot of the shots. However, not asking permission at all to me seems unethical. The fact that you take the photo and then “ride off fast” suggests that it doesn’t quite seem right to you either. As many of these photos are also being put online without the person’s knowledge or permission also seems wrong to me given that so many people then have access to that photo, whether it’s likely they’ll see it or not.

    Many of the women are indeed unrecognisable and this makes these photos more acceptable, although I still feel a little uncomfortable about lack of permission. Other photos, such as ones taken from behind, I don’t find anywhere near as acceptable. If I knew someone well I think I could fairly easily recognise them from such a photo where they are posing so naturally – I’m a bit short-sighted and if I don’t have my glasses on, I often use the way someone walks/stands/etc. to identify them. Indeed, the fact that some of the subjects recognised themselves in magazines and asked for copies shows that failing to ask permission cannot be excused by this assumed anonymity.

    I really don’t like the mindset of “what they don’t know can’t hurt them” which is kinda how this strikes me. I’m sure it is true that a lot of the women wouldn’t be at all bothered by it, but I’d find it a bit creepy if I turned round suddenly to find a camera pointed at my ass, and even more so if I knew the photo was going to be put online. Perhaps very few women would find this kind of thing offensive, but the number of people shouldn’t make a difference. 1 woman finds it offensive compared to thousands who don’t, fair enough, you can’t always please everyone, and maybe she’s an exception. The fact is though that this about choice, and not about taste. I agree if you don’t like it you don’t have to click, but you’re not giving the subjects this option. Given that you know that at least 3 women find these photos offensive, it seems to me you should in future seek permission rather than just assuming they’re ok with it.

    I think many of the shots are very well done and that I definitely consider artistic. Others as Lucy says are a lot more voyeuristic; they don’t seem to me to be a social commentary at all, but rather a photograph of a woman who just happens to have a bike with her. I can’t help but notice that the majority of the girls are slim and nicely-dressed – not that there’s anything wrong with taking photos of such people (I think mingers and their oversized behinds would indeed not be quite so appealing) – but when they are all gathered in one blog, of course it is going to be viewed as voyeuristic, and as such each woman is objectified. I think it makes it worse that the photos are of isolated women – street photography without asking permission, to me, is a lot more acceptable when the people in the photo are a lot more anonymous, where the moment is being captured rather than a particular person. Regardless of intentions, this is what comes across to me.

    Photographs of the bicycle ‘combined with the grace and beauty of the female form’ tells me little about what it’s like to cycle in Copenhagen, other than it’s frequently aesthetically pleasing.

    I think I’ve probably rambled on enough.

  24. 24 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Sarika, thanks for your contribution. It tallies with what I have found personally from showing the blog to female friends.

    Rosie, good to hear from you. I’ve missed your blog 🙂 I think you make a good point about the artistic worth of some of the shots. For instance, you have Mikael’s shot here . . .
    http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogspot.com/2007/07/sunlight.html which to me is nothing short of genius, and then you have my shot here . . .
    http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogspot.com/2007/06/standing-room-only.html where the girl stood up as I took the shot. In hindsight, this is probably the only picture I regret posting.

    Lucy, as for justifying it ‘because other people think it’s OK’, well, I can only go on what friends and acquaintances tell me. Like I said, all my girlfriends and colleagues have given it their approval. Some more than others, but none share your concerns regarding objectification or exploitation. What conclusions can I draw from that?

    Also, I am a little baffled as to how you can draw the conclusion that I view your opinions as irrelevant? I wouldn’t have solicited them in the first place if I didn’t want to open up a genuine debate, to which you have so intelligently contributed.

    Just because I vehemently disagree with them doesn’t mean I think your views are irrelevant.

    My sexual harassment? Russell said you had been sexually harassed here in CPH… so have I. Why is it more relevant to you than me? Does it affect you more than me?

    Russell, no I didn’t enjoy it! I didn’t say I did either so not sure how you surmise that. Your other points regarding the chances of someone’s life being ruined because a picture of them on a bike went viral – well, I guess I’ll take that chance. My feeling is that it would have to be a pretty unflattering shot or pornographic shot for that to happen. I’m fairly confident I’d never take such a shot.

  25. 25 Russell Quinn July 25, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    Sorry, I was using “leering comments” as an example that pretty much anything is OK between consenting people. I didn’t mean to sound like I was directly referring to the context of your comment.

    I was also using the “Star Wars Kid” citation as a generic example of how people can get hurt when there’s no permission (compared to, for example the Numa-Numa viral video, which was self-inflicted (*)). I certainly didn’t mean to imply your photos are going to destroy someone’s life. I was just amplifying everything in the search for more comparisons. I’m sorry for the confusion.

    (*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numa_Numa

  26. 26 aaron78 July 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    No problemo Russell! It’s an exhausting debate this. I’m glad I managed to get so many thought-provoking reactions.

    Ultimately it comes down to what my gut tells me . . . and reading Mikael’s earlier comment cements that for me. This is how I see Copenhagen, and these shots are what I’m compelled to take.

  27. 27 Mikael July 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    I wasn’t comparing the pornography channel with the photos, for heaven’s sake. I just think that if anyone finds something uncomnfortable, then they have the choice to look away.

    And persistantly looking at things that makes one feel uncomfortable, and writing it on comment sections on blogs to hammer the point in that one feels uncomfortable – well, it’s a strange way to live a life. I prefer to spend the days I have on this planet looking at things that make me feel comfortable. I’d recommend doing the same to anyone.

    At the end of the day it’s street photography. Basta.
    One person’s ‘objectification’ is another person’s ‘art’.
    One person’s ‘aesthetic social documentary of life in Copenhagen’ is another person’s ‘lewd sexual photos’.
    6.3 billion people on the planet… no one expects them all to agree. Certainly not I.

    This difference is that some people tolerate and accept these very human differences in opinion and some people don’t.

    The blog started from a set of mine on Flickr with the same name. A few hundred photos and scores and scores of comments in favour, from both sexes. Sure, some guys post lewd comments but that’s what THEY see.

    That’s all for me. I’m off to look at things I deem comfortable to look at.

  28. 28 Russell Quinn July 26, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    I’m a little weary of stringing this out further but Mikael, your comments seem to be so far away from what my point is, that I feel awkward about what you think I’m trying to say.

    You’re entirely right that a difference in taste is certainly not a reason for a discussion of this length. I have no qualms about other people enjoying something that I don’t like. For what it’s worth I might love the aesthetics of the photos in question, it really is irrelevant.

    What makes me uncomfortable is that the subjects have no idea what the images of their bodies are being used for (the reasons why I feel this way about this particular series compared to some other street photography are listed in my initial comment).

    From what you’re saying, you believe that anyone can do anything without regard for people’s feelings and if bystanders don’t agree then they should just look away?

    If I was this(*) girl then I would personally be upset and that gives me the right to defend her, because it’s available in a public space with a request for comments.

    People only protest against wars because they feel that not everyone involved wants to be involved. On the other hand, people might think boxing is slightly uncivalised, but it’s a very different topic.

    Anyway, I really don’t mind if you don’t agree with me on any of this, I don’t want to force you into my way of thinking at all, but I do want to make sure that you understand my point, otherwise it’s all been a bit of a waste of time.

    This thread is turning slightly unwieldy now, but I’ll happily meet you for a coffee if you’d like to chat about it further. Otherwise I’m happy to let the matter end here.

    (*) http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronbateman/864225200/


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