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Sunday, 23 December 2007

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May an abject amateur ask a question? When taking street photos like these and then offering prints for sale, is the photographer required to get a release signed by the subject(s)?

BTW - TheOnlinePhotographer is a "must read" for me every day. Marvelous stuff. Thanks!

Juan, great pics, I've been a fan for quite a few years now.

Mike, another photographer I really like who's somewhat in the same genre is Ian MacEachern: http://photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=362144&include=all&unlimit=1

I thought of picking some favourites, but there turned out to be too many.

Jim H.,
Not in the U.S., where you can exhibit and sell artwork of people photographed in public places, and most of the time you are free to use the pictures for editorial uses too. If you were to use the pictures for commercial uses (chiefly in advertisements) then you would be wise to get a model release.

The laws in other countries vary. I believe France has the strictest privacy laws in Europe right now, so maybe somebody from France could weigh in about what the situation might be there.

And thanks for your kind words!

Mike J.

Only in France and Quebec. And only of people, buildings, or homes. Dogs don't count. Cats, however, do.

In the rest of the free world, you need a release only if a picture is used for an advertisement. Editorial use or individual prints for sale are safe.

For one like Juan's photo above, I doubt the dog will sue you no matter what you do with the photo. But I wouldn't want to risk it if it were a cat in the back of that pickup truck.

Mike,

I've been staring at the larger version of the picture for 15 minutes but, frankly, fail to see its excellence. I'm not acquainted with the photographer or the context and thus simply look at the image. Do you mind explaining why you feel so?

Thanks,
Georg

Wow, thank you Mike for the post! I'm honored.

You're right about the law in the U.S. As for France, I know the laws are a lot more strict there, as you say, but I also know that you can get away with it. Witness Peter Turnley's 'Parisians', published in 2000 I believe. I am glad he went ahead with that project, France has a beautiful tradition of street photography and I'm all for some civil disobedience if that's the way to save that tradition.

One of my stomping grounds in San Francisco is the area around Union Square. I have been challenged a few times over taking pictures of people, and today I was thinking: I think it would be a good idea to make a show of photographs *in the street*. That is, paste poster-like prints (maybe just cheap Kinko's made prints) on the walls on the very sidewalks where I took the pictures, as a way to raise a little bit of awareness to street photography and maybe make people see that there's some value to it. I need to figure out a way to do it without alienating the city and/or the store front owners too much, but I think it could be an insteresting thing to do.

I'm with Georg. I don't 'get' it. There are lots of good, to my eye, images on that site. There are also some that I don't personally particularly like, wouldn't hang on my wall, but recognize as in some way 'good'.

But the dog and truck bed, nope. If I had taken that, it would never have seen the light of day. I'm no slave to rules of composition, but the centered bed, wheel and dog don't speak to me, static, dead. And then the dog is OOF and the background too in focus. Well, enough; I already said I don't get it.

Pick-up trucks? Sure, for their different 'content' http://moosemystic.net/Gallery/MPhotos/A710IS/slides/IMG_0071cr.html

Or for their age and beauty, sure.
http://moosemystic.net/Gallery/MPhotos/Calif/BoneYard/album/slides/3MG_1015crhs.html

Can somebody explain what I am missing? Or am I sitting here with one leg longer than the other?

Moose

Juan,

That sounds like an amazing idea.

Earlier today, I wrote "There are lots of good, to my eye, images on that site. There are also some that I don't personally particularly like, wouldn't hang on my wall, but recognize as in some way 'good'."

I've now had time to wander farther in Juan's photo blog. I would like to add that there are also a few stunning shots in the 100 or so I could get through before the eyes started complaining.

I recommend a look at nos. 847, 938, 941, 945, 948 and 961.

Moose

I can't say what it is, but there's really something with the composition of this photo. I always impresses me when people create something powerful out of essentially nothing. The symmetry, the horizontal lines, I wouldn't have seen it.

Juan, someone did that in London a year or two ago. He put his prints on the walls of a popular laneway in the morning and took them down before dark. I saw some photos on Flickr and later in B&W Magazine.

It's a good way to show what street photography is to people who might not go into a gallery. For street photography, it's almost a more appropriate place for the show than a proper gallery.

I'm not going to defend that image, but certainly I'd like to hear Mike's reasons for choosing that one specifically.

Moose, thanks for the second comment :) As for your photos (since you posted the links I assume you don't mind a comment), the first truck is really interesting. I would have tried to photograph the people inside, though. The way it is, I see it as a document of what that truck looked like--pretty much the same as anybody else on that sidewalk would have seen it. Instead, I'd like to be shown what you saw in the scene that others didn't notice...

Juan,
I like the idea of the street show. I think the way to avoid alienating people/businesses is to make it non-permanent either through printing in some way that it easy comes off or by "hanging" the prints on card with string so that they can be removed without causing any grief. I'd think the string idea is easy and you could hang them just above peoples reach so that everyone doesn't immediately "steal" them. It occurred to me as well it may be interesting if you also were there taking street photos of peoples reactions (which you then later hung in a gallery, he he). Also I'd sign the prints and maybe arrange some media event. People may be inclined to try to "collect" the pieces when you aren't looking and it could be the start of a whole new thing. Well, maybe wishful thinking.

I do a lot of street photography around Bangkok, Thailand but not much of what I take ever gets into my gallery. When I'm down in Penang, Malaysia (I'm on my way there again today) I find the old town walls fascinating and manage to get all sorts of "found" abstract street images out of that area. People-less. I wonder how they would respond to a gallery of abstract images hung on the street. People always watch me shooting and I expect they think I'm a bit wonky anyway.

I'm with some of you on this. I don't get it either (the random excellence appellation).....this is an ordinary snapshot to my eye, and not a particularly interesting one, either.

Juan said:

"Moose, thanks for the second comment :) As for your photos (since you posted the links I assume you don't mind a comment)"

Of course, Juan.

.."the first truck is really interesting. I would have tried to photograph the people inside, though. The way it is, I see it as a document of what that truck looked like--pretty much the same as anybody else on that sidewalk would have seen it."

The people didn't look pleased to have a camera pointed at them. Yeah, I know, then why the decoration? And they were just stopped for a stop sign, so quick action was necessary.

"Instead, I'd like to be shown what you saw in the scene that others didn't notice..."

I intellectually understand what you are saying. But there is some discontinuity in our - well call it languages, for want of a better term. Looking at some of your images, I see classic composition and visual language that I understand. In others, I see human connections and sometimes drama, an emotional language I understand - that moves me. In yet others, I see nothing but people in the streets at random. I assume there is something to see or 'get', there, but it's like I'm trying to read a language I don't know.

I've never been a street shooter until a recent effort, which I thought came out pretty well.
http://galleries.moosemystic.net/Brooklyn/People/All%20People/index.html

I discuss what I was attempting here.
http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=1

But clearly, I'm still missing something. If you have an idea where to point me for language lessons, I'd appreciate it. I do plan to enjoy wandering further through your blog.

If this isn't the appropriate forum, my email address is on the images above. By the way, I'm just across the Bay in Berkeley.

Moose


Steven Scharf said:

"I'm with some of you on this. I don't get it either (the random excellence appellation).....this is an ordinary snapshot to my eye, and not a particularly interesting one, either."

Hi Steven, you never know where you might run into an old friend. :}

I was going to say of course you wouldn't like the image, as it can't get up over 160 mph. But I see you are branching out from the motor sports work. Nice to see your new images.

Moose

Guys, Moose, Stephen Scharf....

I believe that Mike picked one image out of quite a few that are up on Juan's blog/portfolio site. I don't think Mike's intention was for you to stare at that one image waiting for excellence to whack you with a piece of would : ) He wanted folks to go to the site and look at more.

The dog image he picked rests in the context of an entire sub-body of doggy images of Juan's work. The image lives in a much bigger group of doggy pics.

There are many divisions to Juan's work and for the love of farm grown pine trees, in Juan's case, the idea of the series seems to be very important.

The guy has a knack for presenting sort of quiet vignettes (yep, i used that word) and juxtaposition that doesn't beat the viewer to death with overly grand intentions.

The sensational aspect of his work is that it's not screaming at us, there is a certain humility and respect and I see as much of Juan there as I do his subjects. I'm not very good at writing about stuff like this and I'm struggling to convey the simplicity of his style and how refreshing it is in a photo world that is very much caught up in button pushing and slider surfing. He makes what he does seem effortless.

"I'm not very good at writing about stuff like this and I'm struggling to convey the simplicity of his style and how refreshing it is...."

I think you did a good job.

Mike J.

David, I've been toying with the idea of writing something similar for a while, but desisted for want of words. You put it so much better than I could ever have done.

Juan, in case you're still reading this, I find your Pamplona '07 shots spectacular as well, but WHY the colour? The black-and-white versions are infinitely better (and no I'm not a BW bigot). Also, could you sync the two different gallery pages (/photos and /galleries.html)?

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