I’ve Got This Corner Covered

I've got this corner covered

I think this picture looks better a little larger.

Part of my Lunchwalk Series, which I’ve been trying to restart. Work has been exceptionally busy, and I often eat lunch at my desk now. But today I had to drop off some dry cleaning, so I took the opportunity to shoot some photos while I was out.

When I saw this man on the street corner, I just had to take his photo. I put some money in his tin can and asked permission to photograph. He was fine with it, but I also tried feebly to communicate to him that I would return the following day with his photo as a print. I don’t know if he understood what I said, but I printed out the pictures to take to him, anyway. I sure hope he’s at the corner again — I’d like to see what his reaction is like (and take a photo of that, too!).

Gail at Large
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Gail at Large

Canadian freelance photographer on 4th expat adventure. Previously: USA, Scotland, and Australia. Portugal became home in late 2013.

Blogging daily for nearly 14 years. With 5,600+ posts across 97 categories, there is something here for everyone, especially travel photography.

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Gail at Large
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5 thoughts on “I’ve Got This Corner Covered

  1. One of our assignments for the grad class on visual storytelling (media studies) was to photograph a series of ten shots, all of people we didn’t know in public places with only one person per photograph. Many in the class had problems with violating privacy boundaries.

    I was interested to see how you addressed this. Asking permission is one thing… but taking photos surreptuously in lessons on documentary photography is a very intersting thing. In the U.S. it is not a legal violation to be photographed in public.

    Many native americans feel expecially violated and if you go visit a pueblo, for example, the Taos Pueblo which claims to be one of the oldest inhabited villages in the U.S., you are instructed to ask permission before taking photographs.


  2. MotherPie, this is an interesting question. The discussion is always a hotly-debated one in the Flickr groups and other various photographic communities.

    I think we draw our own personal boundaries, and as we go along even with the best of intentions those lines move around a little according to our experiences.

    Personally, a part of me would like to be one of those uninhibited street photographers who shoot from the hip. Many photography careers were made by being bold with the lens. I see scenes in the street all the time that I’d like to capture on film, but what holds me back is that I would feel terrible if a picture I took of someone unbeknownst to them resulted in offending that person somehow. Say, for example, s/he stumbled upon it online and wrote to me to take it down. I would try and make the photo anonymous, i.e., without the face showing or at least obscured.

    As much as I dislike posed portraits versus candid ones, I still think a person has a right to know he or she is being photographed and I try to at least let them know what I’m doing. And legally, street scenes are fair play, but I don’t want to make anyone upset. I like to keep a very low profile but it’s hard to be low-key with a camera in front of my face.

    In the past 20 months or so I’ve found myself crying on occasion while in public, and if someone took a picture of me in a moment of utter despondency I wouldn’t be happy about it. That’s pretty much my benchmark for what I shoot: if I switched places with the subject, would I be OK with having my picture taken?

    If it’s a class, I don’t know… for official photo shoots there are model agreements to sign, but for education purposes I would imagine it depends on if the photographs were displayed to the general public or not?

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