It’s an all-too familiar sight in Japan: smokers in clearly marked non-smoking areas.
Since coming to Asia, it has been interesting to see how well the tobacco industry is actually doing. After seeing a series of litigative defeats in my own country, I thought surely the industry was hurt. Perhaps so, but upon seeing vending machines along streets, and staggering reports that more than 50% of Japanese men smoke (or had smoked) made me realize that Asia is still in the 1950s.
Generally, local ordinances are in place around train stations and schools. Many visitors to Japan will notice increased signage for many things, so plenty of signs are printed, taped, mounted on poles, and even cemented into sidewalks and stairs. Fines can be 2,000 Japanese Yen on the spot, but I have never spotted anyone being stopped …except by my camera.
Apparently nothing stopped this old timer from enjoying a mid-afternoon puff.
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I believe in The Creative Commons.
I’m very interested in expanding my sense of what the ethics are for street photography.
Eric Kim posted the same issue a few days ago here. He made some great points, including the idea that taking pictures of kids should be fine. I want to agree with that, but there is a part of me that is wary. Having a child of your own will do that; it’s easy to see both sides. No matter, taking pictures of anyone requires sensitivity. Some people won’t protest, but we may never know whether they cared or not.
Nevertheless, the question of ethics in street photography remains elusive, and perhaps only the individual can arrive at their own private conclusion.
Eric Kim’s post begin’s with Bruce Gilden‘s quote, “I have no ethics.”
What about you? Would love to get comments on this one. I promise there’s no judgement from me; I’m no one to cast a verdict.
Joel Meyerowitz said, “I wandered the streets, not knowing what I was shooting…I just knew I had to be out there, watching life…”
He goes on to explain the beautiful exchange between the subject and the artist, the expansion of awareness, and how the subjects (people) help the artist (the photographer) to become more of themselves through the experience.
After hearing him say all of that, I feel he really touched what intrigues me about Street Photography. He really articulated the excitement of venturing out into unknown possibilities with possibly great results! It’s beautiful.
More on this prolific, and rather philosophical artist can be found here.
Here’s a pro at work, Bruce Gilden, profiled in The New Yorker.
I am impressed by his boldness, and for that matter, the risk he takes at possibly photographing the wrong person!
For more of Bruce’s work, click this. As he states in his own words, “I’m known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get.”
What is “Street Photography”? Click here. It’s a good example. I suppose “Street Photography” is about people, unposed people, actually. Some add that it’s also things, stuff, and other daily sights that for some reason get your attention enough to warrant a picture. One of the iN-Public photographers said that street photography is about expression, reaction, interaction, etc… I suppose that could apply to more than humans. Animals react: birds on a power line. In-animate objects “react”: a bag hovering on a windy day.
The website http://www.in-public.com/ has a manifesto that basically states that pictures help remind us of what’s going on around us. In other words, the over-familiar is too easily forgotten, so street photography is about staying in touch.
Why am I even writing this? I guess I just wanted to say it and see my own thoughts on it. I’m intrigued by good street photography. It’s an art-form to catch someone off-guard, in that perfect moment of light and circumstance. I guess I’m thinking about it so I can become better at it. I want to display better moments in my collection, and not just in-animate things. Japan is rather iconic. She’s easily seen in traditional light, but there are more current, deeper things happening. I’d like to tap into that more.
Thanks for reading