So I was thinking about my first post on the blog and gave some serious thought about it….. This is some serious sh**, I need to nail this (so much pressure).... =D
My purpose of the blog is to help fellow street photographers get the most of their time on the street. One of the most important advice that I can give you is not about composition, not about which focal length to use or how to zone focus…. I guess by now you know most of these things and if you don’t, you just need to study the works of the masters such as Henri Carrtier-Bresson or Andre Kertesz or Elliot Erwitt or Robert Capa and the list goes on…. You know the drill.
For me one of the most important things in street photography is getting your FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!! What do I mean by this? If someone that you photograph in the streets asks you, “Hey, did you just take a picture of me?”, what would your answer be? I will tell you what your answer should NEVER BE….. Your answer should never be “Errr ohhh errr….. No I did not take a picture of you”. That’s a stupid answer and will get you in trouble if the person wants to check your DSLR screen. So, first of all never lie in these situations because it will lead only for unnecessary trouble. You don’t need that sh*t, you need a peace of mind in the street and concentrate on your surrounding and not be stressed out, and trouble doesn’t help my friend.
How will I answer in these situations? In my case, I would always say the truth to my subject… At times it could be “Yes sir, I did. I saw you and you look really interesting and I loved the expression on your face. So I took a picture of you” or at times I could be “Yes sir, the light was hitting you perfectly and it was a very interesting moment”. It could be anything because I will tell them exactly why I took their picture, with no hesitations. In most cases, if you are polite and respectful with your subjects the chances are, they will do the same with you and let your carry on.
But wait, sometimes even after this they could still be unsatisfied and could ask you…. “What gives you the right to take a picture of me? You cannot do that?”…… Well, can you? Knowing the answer to this question is bloody important. In most European countries, USA, Australia, Canada and so on you have the right to take a picture of anyone or anything which is visible in a public place or in a public place. In fact, you lose your right to privacy while you are in a public place. So this is great right? You can do whatever the heck you want…. Yeeehaaa!!! Does this mean you can be a cowboy the next time in the streets? Well,you can do it, but don’t be an a** about it either. If someone asks me to delete their picture I would always do it out of respect to my subject. Unless they are really rude…. People have no right to touch your camera, nor does the police. Police have no right to confiscate or ask you to show them the pictures. Knowing these things helps you escape difficult situation and that is why I said earlier to GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!
To end this blog, my advice to anyone who plans on doing some street photography in the next trip to some location or holidays or even in your own city, study about local laws before you go. Knowing the facts will help you big time to come out of unpleasant situations. Hope this was of some help and have fun shooting!
Love and Peace
Stan De Zoysa
PS: IMPORTANT!! You are strictly prohibited to take photographs of children even in a public place in Spain unless you have authorisation from the parent or guardian.