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Photographers: reasons to be thankful

Emiel is a horse breeder. He also helps out in his community doing things like driving the school bus. Here he listens to an amusing anecdote his wife is relating during a chat with friends and family at his kitchen table.

Emiel amused.

Emiel day dreaming.
As a photographer I consider it a great priviledge to be allowed into people's lives. When someone chooses to share a few moments of their life with you in front of your camera it is a gift.

I have the impression that some photographers think that owning a camera gives them the right to take photographs of anyone they come across. I do not share that view. To me every smile or glance that says, "Yes, it's fine; you can take a picture of me," is a precious gift, to be treated with respect and care,and to honoured with the best photograph that I can make.

It's sad that when someone says "no" to a photographer they go away in a huff, feeling angry and rejected, as if their camera has given them some sort of blank cheque on people's time and presence in front of their lens. The world and the people in it owe us nothing as photographers.

My feelings extend to professional models too. Sure they're earning money and paid to pose for the photographer but what they choose to give us is up to them. If you treat a model with respect and enjoy the art they create in front of your lens you will achieve far more than you would shouting orders like a mini-dictator. Now some of you may be thinking of a really difficult model and session...but if a model really does not want to work with you then move on and find one that does want to create art together. Your best work is unlikely to happen in an environment filled with anger and ill will.

But I digress. Certainly for photojournalists and documentary photographers being able to share people's lives, often during difficult times is a privilege.

Till soon,



Wade said…
You don't allow the whole wide world of street photography? You simply can't get certain wonderful sorts of photos asking permission. A lot of the great photos ever taken are shots of people who weren't telegraphed about the presence of a sneaky deadeye cameraman. I'm not interested in offending anybody. I'm interested in getting good photos from the stream of candid life unaffected by set-ups. And surely it's taken for granted that a model & a photographer work together amicably & cooperatively & understandingly. What's the point otherwise?
barry said…
Chuck all street photography? All that candid life. You just can't always ask permission & then pose the person & expect to see that person
unselfconsciously in the semi-raw as you do on the street. Gentlemanliness is essential in life. But there are exceptions to this. The true-hearted photographer after true faces in the wild is exempt....And what's the point if photographers & their models aren't cooperative with & understanding of one another? This happens? Walk away.
Paul Indigo said…
I'm also a street photographer and I take pictures of people without them knowing that they're being photographed.

The point I was trying to make is simply that we should acknowledge that our subjects are giving something of themselves when we photograph them. Sometimes they participate and other times they don't.

The thing I am against is treating people as objects and photographing them without recognising their humanity and without paying them due respect.

It's a bit abstract but it is the attitude of the photographer that this blog is about.

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