Pictures of people

An interesting (to me, because it confirms my (minority) prejudice) account of one person’s reaction to a picture of them taken without their permission:

She first saw the picture a few weeks after it was taken, and then periodically over the years, but never wanted to contact me. She said she hates it because she was trying to be completely dignified. And the one moment she did what she was trying to avoid – crying – was captured in this frame.

4 Replies to “Pictures of people”

  1. I’m new to this ethical dilemma. As a blogger now, this past year, I’ve posted photos on my blog without the person’s permission a couple times.

    For instance, I unknowingly caught a man in an endearingly goofy costume in the background of one of my Star Trek convention shots. I posted the photo BECAUSE of him, but only said, “Look at the guy in the background.”

    I was so glad I hadn’t added, “Isn’t he goofy?” even in an admiring way, because a couple months later, the subject left a comment on my blog identifying himself.

    I’ve promised myself that in the future I’m always going to ask people if it’s OK if I post their photos.
    Um…at least usually.
    If it’s a crowd shot, I won’t worry about the background people.
    You’ve thought more about this than I have:
    What’s your [minority] opinion, Pen?

    I did think it was ironic that the photographer posted the photo again, knowing the woman hated it, though I suppose since his point was to talk about that, as was yours, it’s OK?

  2. Fresca, it’s a long-running debate. I wrote a post about it elsewhere with links to some examples of it – I’ll mail you the url (I think I’m over paranoid about the former stalker finding his way here but better safe than sorry). As for the motivation of the photographer who posted the photo again, I cannot say. I rather suspect that the irony was either lost or deliberately ignored. Like I say my view is a minority one and I didn’t, myself, post the image, just text and a link. And then there’s a whole other layer of discussion to be had about pictures as journalism and conflict situations.

    Meanwhile I’m interested to note that in Edinburgh it’s possible to legislate against picture-takers under certain circumstances at least.

  3. Yes, do send me the link–I’m very interested in the topic. While I’m new to the idea of exposing people in photos, I’ve long fretted about how and how much to do it in words…

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