Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/12/02

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Subject: Re: [Leica] What Makes a good Picture?
From: "Simon Greenwood" <>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 09:35:14 -0000
References: <017201c29797$735a0350$1f00a8c0@HECTOR2> <005701c297d6$f9c79f80$>

> I think possibly your hesitation was due in part to the fact that your
> subjects were 'famous songwriters'. Would you have felt the same
> if you were at a rescue mission serving meals to the homeless, or passing
> beggar on the street?

It is true that I might hesitate to take a picture of a beggar in the
street, but I would regard documentation of his plight as being valid along
similar lines to a war correspondant taking pictures of dead and dying
troops. I have not taken pictures of beggars, but I would speak to them
first, and give them something for the picture.

How about the survivors of a fire, or an accident or
> some sort?

This is different again. I would NOT take pictures of an accident as nothing
would benefit from its documentation, further I regard such pictures as
distasteful voyeurism.

Could it possibly have been the 'star' status of the people
> influenced your decision not to shoot, giving them more respect than you
> would other people in other situations?

Yes, but not out of respect for their achievements, but rather an
understanding that their privacy is highly restricted, and in the relaxed
atmosphere of a private house they could be sure that they did not have to
worry about pictures apearing in the newspapers (large sums are paid in the
UK for such photos). I would and do take pictures of famous people at large.

In short it would (I felt) be a breach of an implied trust.

In the final analysis my reasons were 60% breach of trust 40% lack of
confidence. I did however take a picture of the host.



> Of course, I understand that discretion has to be used in each situation,
> depending on why you were there to begin with, and what relationships you
> wish to preserve in the future. So Elton John might have objected to
> his photo taken.... so too might Jack the homeless guy on the bench in the
> park.  Essentially, every frame is a private moment, or private gathering
> some extent. Unless specifically asked NOT to, I probably would have taken
> the shot.
> Maybe that is why I am not invited to such stellar parties!  :-)
> Cheers
> Jim G
> ---------------------------------------------------
> J.A. Gatlin Photography
> My Work in Black & White
> ---------------------------------------------------
> > I could not bring myself to take any pictures because I felt that it was
> an
> > intrusion into a very private gathering.  I guess that there is more to
> > Photogaphy than I thought.
> --
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Replies: Reply from "Don Dory" <> (Re: [Leica] What Makes a good Picture?)
In reply to: Message from "Simon Greenwood" <> ([Leica] What Makes a good Picture?)
Message from "James A. Gatlin" <> (Re: [Leica] What Makes a good Picture?)