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Some thoughts regarding Street Photography


TalkEmount Top Veteran
Aug 25, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
Phoenix Gonzales

I have recently posted this photo for a photography challenge, and while some people liked the photo I have also got some comments regarding a post script story that happened when I was taking this photo. A guy with an M9 was tossed into the water with all his camera gear.

To make the long story short, one of the divers wasn’t happy with his photo (or his girlfriend’s photo) being taken and was making a point about his (or her) privacy, meanwhile Mr. M9 was arguing about the freedom of taking photos in public spaces and has refused to delete the photo he has taken. The diver has then held Mr.M9’s legs and his (I’m assuming) friend held Mr.M9’s arms and they tossed him from the Jetty into the ocean. While the drop wasn’t high enough to cause injury, or the tide high enough to warrant drowning, I would prefer a dip in the ocean without my camera gear, I knew the following scenes weren’t gonna be pretty so I decided to leave.

Now, what is the point of me sharing my little experience? Am I trying to scare you or put you off doing street photography? The answer is NO, I love street photography and do believe in the freedom of taking photos in public.

My point is that it is important to be mindful and respectful of other people, while there is nothing wrong with taking candid shots in public we cannot expect everyone to subscribe to our point of view and there will always be instances where it will be considered as inappropriate, e.g I wont be too impressed if you decided to do some candid shots at my loved one’s funeral, etc..

It’s also imperative that you use your own sound judgement when taking candid shots, e.g You will see PETA activists protest in places where they sell fur and sometimes even spray paint on fur coats worn by well to do ladies, however you will not find any of them at the headquarters of the Hell’s Angels where they’re usually covered from head to toe in black leather (I’m not having a go at PETA and it’s supporters, just my personal observation)

There are countless professional street photographers who state that in all the years they have taken street photography they have never been accosted, and while I admire their bravery I would rather use my own sound judgement in analysing the current crowd and maybe miss a great photo opportunity rather than spending time draining the sea water out of my camera or worse needing a proctologist to recover my camera.


TalkEmount Rookie
Dec 9, 2011
Good points. One of the things I like about the NEX series is they are pretty small with the pancake lens vs a DSLR. I try to not to be very conspicuous while shooting , setup the Aperture setting , speed etc. Excellent tip about bikers , don't shoot if they are wearing colors or appear to be in a club. In my hometown we have a annual bike show and every couple years or so I will hear about someone's gear getting airmailed into the river for doing just that

Amin Sabet

Aug 6, 2011
I love your photo and think the story is a good one to ponder.

I am especially careful to use judgment about photographing children. As Michael Reichmann put it, "Approach this aspect of street photography with caution. A picture of a little girl sitting on her daddy's shoulders at the Santa Claus parade is one thing. A child alone in a public place is quite another. As commented on recently to me by street photographer John Brownlow, imagine what you would think if your little girl came home one day and said, "Daddy, a man took my picture in the park today." Needless to say, use mature judgment."


TalkEmount Veteran
Sep 3, 2011
Thoughtful post, especially since I am going to try some street photography this year.

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