La Vida Leica!

Street Photography: Dealing with negative or hostile people
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Author:  M240 [ Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:38 am ]
Post subject:  Street Photography: Dealing with negative or hostile people

Here are a couple of videos that show two very different ways of dealing with negative or hostile people when doing street photography: ... rent-ways/


Author:  James Lehrer [ Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Street Photography: Dealing with negative or hostile peo

M240: Thanks for posting these videos.
Chuck Jines' approach works for him. Towards the end of his video, he explains how he tries to get into the flow, the rhythm of the street, looking for configurations of people and things that might make good pictures. He seems relaxed on the surface, but I sense an underlying intensity. I cannot tell from this short video how he feels about having that flow interrupted: does he like to stop and chat with passersby and subjects, or does he prefer to work without interruption?
Being stopped by an irate subject who doesn't want to be photographed interrupts the flow. I raise this obvious point because I wonder: does the tone of Mr Jines' response indicate annoyance at being interrupted? Or, is he intentionally reflecting the subject's annoyed tone back to the subject? I suppose one way to handle such challenges is to respond proportionally: if the subject exhibits annoyance, you exhibit annoyance back; if they exhibit anger, you respond with anger. Such an approach may be based on the notion that a friendly, low-key manner invites bullying or challenge. I get the sense that Mr Jines' tone escalated incrementally, closely following the escalation in his subject's tone until the end of the exchange when gestures replaced words. If he has had many such interactions, there are a corresponding number of people with unpleasant memories of their experience with street photography.
I understand and agree with the notion that as photographers, we must actively protect our rights. I also recognize that certain artistic approaches may unavoidably require an "in your face" attitude on the part of the photographer. And, I acknowledge that a number of factors have combined in recent years to make street photography more and more difficult and liable to challenge. Having said that, my approach to street photography is based on the notion that I can assert my rights with an unthreatening, personable approach. Given my style and temperament, a subject's objection would not be likely to annoy me. If I can resolve the interaction by leaving the subject a little better informed and appreciative of street photography, so much the better.
But that's just me.

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