Taking pictures of those subjects who don't want their pictures taken

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I respect the wishes of those who don't want to be photographed. Since that wish is reflected in their expression any image I took of them would not be a "keeper".
 
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I have lately been in a Muslim country where many potential subjects definitely don't want their photos taken because of a disputed passage in their scriptures.

Is Picture Taking Forbidden in Islam? | Synonym

What do you think about this?
I love street photography as a way to hone your craft. Also the gist I get from that article is that if you shoot in a way that's halal, then it should be okay. Also from that article it's better to shoot digital, since it's "non-permanent." ;)
 
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Just to explore what people think.

What if:

1) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject was all right but close onlookers would almost certainly think it was wrong?

2) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject would never know that a photo had been taken?
 
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Just to explore what people think.

What if:

1) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject was all right but close onlookers would almost certainly think it was wrong?

2) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject would never know that a photo had been taken?
Depends. If options 1 or 2 violates any laws in that particular country that might get you in trouble, then it's probably not worth it. Though from a street photographer context, option 2 is always the best option.
 
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Just to explore what people think.

What if:

1) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject was all right but close onlookers would almost certainly think it was wrong?

2) if you had the opportunity to take an image where the subject would never know that a photo had been taken?
1. Caution and common sense need be applied, as some onlookers could take as insulting and take action against the perceived offender

2. A more difficult question to answer. Street photography relies on this and in many countries it is accepted and legal to photograph subjects in public places. But is it morally/ ethically correct where belief systems may be very different. TBH I am not sure
 
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It also depends what country you're shooting in. For example Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, but they have a very vibrant street photography scene there. Best to just brush up on local laws and use discretion. Basically just be respectful, use sound judgement and be a courteous guest. This is also why I have various cameras of different sizes as well for different street shooting scenarios.
 
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This seems similar to taking photos in Amish areas of this country. It is known that they do not like their pictures taken but it is considered ok if they are on public property, ie, roads. That doesn't make it acceptable, in my mind, as I know they are opposed to it. I watched, with 2 cameras around my shoulders, as an Amish buggy came up the street toward me. As the occupants saw my cameras I could see concern in their faces even though I had not raised a camera from their resting positions. I decided that even though it was "OK" for me to do, that I would respect their wishes and not take their photo. As they approached closer and were passing, the frowns got softer, almost to slight smile as they seemed to realize I was not going to photograph them; as they passed we waved and they dipped their heads in what seemed to me a nod of appreciation. The faces are forever etched in my mind in a way that no photo could be.
 
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One of the things which I have enjoyed as a photographer was sitting at a pavement restaurant having a cup of coffee and just snapping away with my D700 and 70-300 (at the long end) whenever an interesting face passed by. It was all for my pleasure and I tried to make sure that the owners of the faces were not aware that they were being photographed. Right or wrong? Don't know but since they were never published or used in competition etc I did not feel too bad about it.

However, on one occasion, in 2012, I was rumbled and the person's partner approached me and asked me too not publish the pic in any way. I assured the lady that the images would not be used commercially and offered to delete them there and then. I also explained my amateur photographer status and my methods and she seemed to be happy - she went away with a smile on her face. The Person has a web site and it is here: http://thescaryguy.com/ It also explains his mission in life.

I only kept one pic and I present it here.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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I actually was looking for responder's personal attitudes, how they balanced the desire for a shot against what the factors of the subject's beliefs.

I do understand the issues of laws and dangers.
 
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Just one experience (in a marketplace in Swaziland) where I noticed a particularly pretty girl minding a stall. She didn't want me to photograph her so I didn't but turned my lens on other people around her instead.

Then I showed their portraits to those people.

Suddenly everyone in that marketplace wanted to get in the game and be photographed.

The next thing I knew, the reluctant girl wanted to see her portrait too.

I have had many similar experiences all over the world — even in Malaysian Borneo during Ramadan.
 
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Lew,

I think you have brought up some important ethical questions here that photogs should consider. To me, the questions are like the ones you get in a university ethics class so considerable thought has been spent pondering these questions.

To take you second question. Is it ok if the subject never knows. Lets change the situation where the person drops a dollar and you can pick it up and keep it and nobody knows. It that ok?, How about $10 dollars or how about $1000 dollars? If you find your answer sliding you are into the territory of moral relativism where the morality of the issue is not absolute but dependent on the conditions.

In photography, it could be a Amish buggy, or perhaps a poor beggar in India or a war victim in Vietnam (like the napalm girl) if all did not want their photo taken, would any of these situations be ok? In the case of the napalm girl it profoundly changed her life and profoundly changed the world. Does that make it ok?

Cheers,
alexis and Georgie Beagle

" only questions and no answers..." - Georgie Beagle
 
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I don't think that is a good comparison and is certainly not as simple.
Forget religious or cultural beliefs.
Let's say that the subject, whom you know to be a reasonably terrible and ignorant person because you are related, has a tightly held belief that, if his or her picture is taken, he (or she) will die within 5 days.
Let us also say that you want a photo because his spouse, whom you know to be a lovely, intelligent person wants a current picture.

The person doesn't want the picture taken and you do - for a good reason.

I don't generally respect people as a group for their religious or cultural beliefs, any more than I would respect them because they really loved Star Trek.
I respect individuals and I make my decision specifically on local reasons.
 
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I don't generally respect people as a group for their religious or cultural beliefs, any more than I would respect them because they really loved Star Trek.
I respect individuals and I make my decision specifically on local reasons.
In my mind and experience, religious and cultural beliefs are often/usually essential elements of local reasons.
 
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In my mind and experience, religious and cultural beliefs are often/usually essential elements of local reasons.
Yes, of course, but they are important only as far as I need to be mindful or careful about how the individuals might respond.
 
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How does a street photographer function in a situation where the transient ideas in a subject's mind can be known?
 
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Still, the person does not want his/her picture taken.

Ignorant or not has no influence on the outcome. (Who can pass judgement on another individual?)
That his wife wants for it to be taken has also no influence.
Does one give medicine, treatment or care to a patient who doesn't want it?
If the subject was fleeing from a crime, does that count?
If the subject was being given a 'perp walk' does that count?

Drawing a line in the sand that the subject's opinion must take precedence in all situations seems unworkable.
 

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