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Candid photos of young women
Old 07-15-2009   #1
panda81
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Candid photos of young women

I'm posting this question because I would like to hear everyone's opinions on the matter. Being RFF, I imagine candid photography is one of the genres most of you are very passionate about. I won't put in any specifics because my purpose isn't trying to reveal anything about this particular photographer, but rather asking if my photographic and artistic vision is too short-sighted.

Basically, on another forum, I found a photographer who particularly likes to take photos (or at least show on the internet) of young women. These aren't model shots, portraits, or anything like that, but just random young women he bumps into wherever he may go. Some of these places include on the street, some indoor social activity, but also at the beach. The photos aren't of all types of young women either...I'll describe them as young women who probably take care of their bodies. The street photos aren't invasive or anything (nothing like pointing down a blouse), but the beach photos obviously have young women in swimsuits, bikinis, etc. His photo website is pretty much (90-95%) comprised of these types of photos.

My gut reaction is that this is pretty darn creepy. I wouldn't appreciate my wife being photographed in that manner. If I see some guy trying to sneak shot of my wife from the back when she's wearing her swimsuit at the beach, I'd go up to him and have a word or two. I imagine a lot of people with daughters in college would not want their kids being photographed and put up on the internet like that either.

Now, I'm not asking about the legality of the situation, but rather the morality and ethics of it. Seeing as how a certain demographic of young women is his target, I feel uncomfortable with this type of guy walking around.

The point of my post is, what do you guys think of this? Is my reaction normal or too conservative? Am I possibly missing some purpose where this is part of a bigger project that makes it artistic? By the way, the photos look pretty much like snapshots to me. I can't see any artistic touch to these the candids.

I'm very interested in everyone's responses - thanks in advance for the discussion.
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Old 07-15-2009   #2
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i'd say you are on the conservative side.

the guy may be creepy and if photography and/or art were his aim, he likely needs to change his style somewhat.

i hate to judge this sort of thing because i like street shooting and would hate for someone to try to censure me.
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Old 07-15-2009   #3
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Hey Jerry, I read the thread back on the other forum too. I can see where the people attacking him are coming from -- there is an "uncomfortable" nature to the photographs. It may seem snapshot-ish, but I find a lot of stuff called contemporary art is like that, e.g. Martin Parr, Terry Richardson.

There are people who travel and take photos of poor, destitute children, or naked tribal women, or beggars and handicapped people. Where would you draw the line? It's a slippery slope once you start making judgement calls about what is appropriate and inappropriate.

I've taken photos of young girls before, and also stolen very private moments that have happened in public areas. I admit it made me feel uneasy to do it, but I've liked the moments that I've captured. One time I asked the girl to take her photo, and she asked me to ask her mom! It was okay in the end, and I love the awkwardness that I captured in her. I think as long as your intentions aren't bad, you can have a clear conscience about taking the photo. If you start worrying about what every subject would think, then it'll disable you from taking a photo of a stranger without their consent.

Here are some of my candids of young women:
She told me to ask her mom


She gave me a dirty look after I took the photos:


Completely random and candid moment


Another random moment that I captured while walking behind the group, with the camera held to my face and I was focusing as I was walking
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Old 07-15-2009   #4
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edit - decided to stay out of this thread altogether.

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Old 07-15-2009   #5
antiquark
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He sounds like a wierdo to me. Maybe he's unaware that people might be offended by his technique.

I'm sure he'll reconsider his hobby when an irate husband threatens to smash his camera.
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Old 07-15-2009   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far, everyone. Something Joe said triggered another reason perhaps why I felt uneasy about it.

The photographer received mixed responses, and of course, he defended himself from the negative comments. However, what I started noticing was that he never defended himself by revealing any artistic intentions through these photos. His response was mostly along the lines of , "I'm within my legal right to do so." Maelswarm , please correct me if I'm wrong - I always could have accidentally missed something. (By the way, nice to see you here, T )

What some of you guys have said is true and does make sense to me, which is why this is a bit of a struggle for me, and I'm asking these questions on this forum.
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Last edited by panda81 : 07-15-2009 at 20:13.
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Old 07-15-2009   #7
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lock 'im up an' 'trow away de key
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Old 07-15-2009   #8
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edit - decided to stay out of this thread altogether.

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Old 07-15-2009   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiquark View Post
I'm sure he'll reconsider his hobby when an irate husband threatens to smash his camera.
Because violence, theft and property destruction is a rational response to someone taking a photo of a person in a public place

...Mike
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Old 07-15-2009   #10
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Ok. Being a straight male, I admit I like looking at women- especially "young women who probably take care of their bodies". However; yes, it's creepy, sad, and generally pretty lame when men snap surreptitious and altogether artless pictures of women merely because they find them attractive. But is this a surprise? This sort of pathetic behavior is unbearably common, and just not worth complaining about. These guys don't deserve even the negative attention we're giving them here. Please don't encourage them.
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Old 07-15-2009   #11
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I'm surprised to see you here too! When'd you get a RF?

I think he was overly sensitive and he just used a blanket defensive statement. What's legal and what's ethical are different things, and perhaps he didn't have the sensitivity towards his subjects. However, an internet forum isn't the best place to have a witch hunt, and some of the replies were just not constructive. I felt some people overreacted as well, and there must've been a better way to address it.
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Old 07-15-2009   #12
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Maelswarm, another thought..

I can clearly see and appreciate the art behind the examples you posted and all the other ones in your Flickr stream. There is a certain thoughtfulness I can see in your photos. Sure, the girls are attractive, but the purpose is not the girls themselves, but capturing what the moment they are experiencing at that moment in their lives. Perhaps it is the contemporary art, but I couldn't see that in any of other person's photos, and thus why I feel what I feel.

I think the main purpose of this post is to at least say I can appreciate good photography
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Old 07-15-2009   #13
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well let's see a link to this guy's site so that we can give him a fair trial before hanging him
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Old 07-15-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maelswarm View Post
I'm surprised to see you here too! When'd you get a RF?

I think he was overly sensitive and he just used a blanket defensive statement. What's legal and what's ethical are different things, and perhaps he didn't have the sensitivity towards his subjects. However, an internet forum isn't the best place to have a witch hunt, and some of the replies were just not constructive. I felt some people overreacted as well, and there must've been a better way to address it.
Received my first RF last week! Although I was lusting after one for several months. By the way, I was the person (if you didn't know) who added you as a contact on Flickr within the last week or so...figure it was easier to keep up with your stuff that way

Yes, I do agree with you on the many overreactions people had. It would have been very easy for people to voice their opinions with much more civility.
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Old 07-15-2009   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfunnell View Post
Because violence, theft and property destruction is a rational response to someone taking a photo of a person in a public place

...Mike
Personally, if he took a picture of my wife/daughter/grandmother, I would probably just give him a funny look.

I'm just saying that there are people out there who would take great exception to someone photographing their wife.

I watched an online speech by Steve McCurry where he talked about taking a surreptitious picture of a man's wife, and the husband threatened him with a gun afterwards.

So it's not just a hypothetical scenario, it could really happen.
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Old 07-15-2009   #16
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Since Panda81 links to both Fliker and his blog are invalid, I suggest that this be recognized as a troll and treated accordingly. If you want to start violent actions against photographers taking photos in public, I suggest you have an attorney on retainer. The law in most countries is very clear on this. You may not like it, but it is not up to you to initiate vigilante action based on your own legal system.

I also am surprised that Australians would support this crap. Australian law on this is very clear.
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Old 07-15-2009   #17
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Quote:
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I also am surprised that Australians would support this crap. Australian law on this is very clear.
As the only self-identified Aussie here, and as one who questioned the rationality of violent etc. reactions, I've now become even more confused.

Why bother writing if people won't bother reading?

...Mike
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Old 07-15-2009   #18
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Quote:
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...

I also am surprised that Australians would support this crap. Australian law on this is very clear.
Are referring to Mike's post? You need to be aware that Australians are very fond of exaggeration and sarcasm. Immediately recognisable to another Australian, but often missed by folks from other parts of the world. Gets us into trouble some times!
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Old 07-15-2009   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpj View Post
Since Panda81 links to both Fliker and his blog are invalid, I suggest that this be recognized as a troll and treated accordingly.
They are valid but coded wrongly by the forum.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda81

http://panda81.wordpress.com/

Cheers,
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Old 07-15-2009   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpj View Post
Since Panda81 links to both Fliker and his blog are invalid, I suggest that this be recognized as a troll and treated accordingly. If you want to start violent actions against photographers taking photos in public, I suggest you have an attorney on retainer. The law in most countries is very clear on this. You may not like it, but it is not up to you to initiate vigilante action based on your own legal system.

I also am surprised that Australians would support this crap. Australian law on this is very clear.
If I wanted to start violent actions against photographers, I wouldn't be so foolish to ask a group of passionate street photographers about their opinions and to help enlighten me. In addition, I would have freely given out the photo gallery links in my first post instead of keeping it a secret.

I'm certainly guilty of not being able to code links to my sites properly, but it also wasn't terribly difficult to infer the links I was trying to get to, as BennyNg had done.

Moderators, if you think this thread is causing too much agitation, then I apologize and understand any course of action you want to do with the thread.
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Old 07-15-2009   #21
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Having thought a little on my own "vaguely creeped out" reaction to the original post on this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by panda81 View Post
My gut reaction is that this is pretty darn creepy. I wouldn't appreciate my wife being photographed in that manner. If I see some guy trying to sneak shot of my wife from the back when she's wearing her swimsuit at the beach, I'd go up to him and have a word or two. I imagine a lot of people with daughters in college would not want their kids being photographed and put up on the internet like that either.
...I'm trying to think how to phrase this so it doesn't come over as accusatory in itself, but...

Would you think similarly about:

"...some guy [or girl] trying to sneak shot of my brother from the back when he's wearing his swimsuit at the beach..."

"I imagine a lot of people with sons in college would not want their kids being photographed and put up on the internet like that either."

While I acknowledge, to an extent, differences in reaction when males and females are involved in similar circumstances, I also detect a certain, um, proprietary interest being asserted over images of women. "My" wife. "My" daughters. That gives off a certain creepiness of its own or, at least, hints at a somewhat antedeluvian attidude towards women.

Just a thought.

...Mike
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Old 07-15-2009   #22
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Hmm, probably creepy but i see some that pull off good work in this "beautiful people" category.

Without looking at the images involved - If this guy is using normal focal lengths, has shots of faces and eye contact, then more power to him.

I think that images of random women on the street shot from behind say more about the photographer than the photographed.
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Old 07-15-2009   #23
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how can we discuss this without seeing the pics? let's have a link to the site, please
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Old 07-15-2009   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfunnell View Post
Snip
My perspective was just coming from a straight male, as is also the original photographer I was referring to. I didn't really bother about writing out all the different permutations which could occur, but in the end, I really meant to just refer to the right combination of the person taking the picture, their sexual orientation, and their subjects, and what their intentions look like when picture after picture has a certain theme to it.

I am more on the traditional, conservative, and protective side than some others, so I admit that's where I'm coming from too. But, at the same time, I am trying to keep an open mind and hear what others have to say. I'm trying not to point out "why I'm right" to other people who disagree with me, although I do want to explain my feelings.
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Old 07-15-2009   #25
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I photograph no young women who haven't called me "Uncle": and for a fellow my age, "young" goes up to around 45.
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