• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • Hi, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in anticipation of the upcoming new Calfornia laws, the CCPA. If you are a resident of California, these rights pertain to you. Thanks - Styleforum Team.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Ethics of photographing the homeless

TheFoo

THE FOO
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
22,512
Reaction score
3,505
So, I was out taking portraits of people. I had been asking each and every subject if I could shoot them, and most were happy to let me. Then I came upon an elderly woman who seemed like an interesting subject. I asked for her permission and she said okay--as I was taking her picture, I engaged her in friendly discussion and soon found out she was homeless. I wound up buying her a couple of sandwiches and some bottled water. She seemed very appreciative.

From my understanding, there is some ethical rule in photography against taking pictures of the homeless as it constitutes a form of exploitation. How would you have dealt with the situation? Keep in mind, I am only taking pictures for personal use.
 

Moss

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
450
Reaction score
10
I would say that asking permission and explaining how you intend to use the photographs seem to keep you within ethical boundaries.
 
Last edited:

ter1413

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
20,087
Reaction score
2,855

I would say that asking permission and explaining how you intend to use the photographs seems to keep you within ethical boundaries.

+1.
DON'T just take the picture w/o asking......
 

Piobaire

Not left of center?
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Messages
60,627
Reaction score
23,392

acidboy

Stylish Dinosaur
Spamminator Moderator
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
21,168
Reaction score
1,750
if you are taking their pictures for exploitative use, then why bother asking their permission, right? but what you did was right, m... just ask the person's permission and treat them the same as every other person. and yeah maybe buy him/her something to eat and drink. unless you're piob whose gonna buy malt liquor. having gone through catholic school we've had programs were we'd spend time with people in the same situation and also people in prison and what I learned is most of them would appreciate it if you treat them like any other normal human being.
 

aizan

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
737
Reaction score
6
getting her food and drink was nice. i probably would have asked some rude questions like, "how do you get food?", "where do you sleep?", "what's dangerous about being homeless?", "is it really all that bad?", "what have you learned?", "do you have a routine?", "do you have any health problems that you didn't have before?", "what do you think about all the people that either pretend to ignore you or totally ignore you for reals?", etc.

anyhow, there are great photos of homeless people, and you don't have to ask permission to be ethical.
 

redcaimen

Bigtime
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
7,092
Reaction score
663

What are you, a first year at Wellesley? If you want to shoot tired, pretentious subject matter, just take pictures of your feet. Problem solved.

 

lasbar

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
26,132
Reaction score
1,645
Why do you want to take pictures of them in the first place?

If you do it to help to underline the homeless situation , just tell them and they wil give you their consents.

They can be quite defensive because some people tend to picture them for some kind of voyeurist kick..
 

TheFoo

THE FOO
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
22,512
Reaction score
3,505

Fap material?

Obviously.

Why do you want to take pictures of them in the first place?
If you do it to help to underline the homeless situation , just tell them and they wil give you their consents.
They can be quite defensive because some people tend to picture them for some kind of voyeurist kick..

I have no social cause and I wasn't seeking to photograph a homeless person--I discovered she was homeless after I started taking her picture. I found most people (maybe even nine out of ten) very receptive to being photographed when asked politely. In fact, one person said no because he was having a bad day, apologized profusely, then approached me later to say he felt bad about before and asked if I'd be willing to shoot him now.
 

Joffrey

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Jun 18, 2006
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
877

So, I was out taking portraits of people. I had been asking each and every subject if I could shoot them, and most were happy to let me. Then I came upon an elderly woman who seemed like an interesting subject. I asked for her permission and she said okay--as I was taking her picture, I engaged her in friendly discussion and soon found out she was homeless. I wound up buying her a couple of sandwiches and some bottled water. She seemed very appreciative.
From my understanding, there is some ethical rule in photography against taking pictures of the homeless as it constitutes a form of exploitation. How would you have dealt with the situation? Keep in mind, I am only taking pictures for personal use.

I think asking for permission is all that is necessary.
 

curzon

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
1,188
Reaction score
158
Tough one. Since you're doing portraits you're accepting poses. If you wanted "unposed" shots it's kinda tough once you ask for permission; people change when they know they're being watched/photographed/filmed. If I understand the law correctly, in the US a person in a public space may be photographed w/o giving permission (no expectation of privacy), but in some countries you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law by doing so.
 
Last edited:

romafan

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
10,100
Reaction score
1,193

Obviously.
I have no social cause and I wasn't seeking to photograph a homeless person--I discovered she was homeless after I started taking her picture. I found most people (maybe even nine out of ten) very receptive to being photographed when asked politely. In fact, one person said no because he was having a bad day, apologized profusely, then approached me later to say he felt bad about before and asked if I'd be willing to shoot him now.

Are you shooting people at the office? :confused:
 

lasbar

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
26,132
Reaction score
1,645

Obviously.
I have no social cause and I wasn't seeking to photograph a homeless person--I discovered she was homeless after I started taking her picture. I found most people (maybe even nine out of ten) very receptive to being photographed when asked politely. In fact, one person said no because he was having a bad day, apologized profusely, then approached me later to say he felt bad about before and asked if I'd be willing to shoot him now.

Most people are fine with their pictures being taken...

Living in Paris during my teens and being more attractive than now , I have had my picture taken a few times by amateur photographs..

It's always pleasant to be asked even if you might lose that special moment making the picture interesting.

You can also be asked after the shot being done especially if you use a digital camera.

It's just a question of courtesy..
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How wide do you like your leg opening on your trousers?

  • 7”

    Votes: 57 17.6%
  • 7.5”

    Votes: 109 33.7%
  • 8”

    Votes: 95 29.4%
  • 8.5”

    Votes: 36 11.1%
  • 9”

    Votes: 13 4.0%
  • 9.5”

    Votes: 7 2.2%
  • 10”

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • 10.5”

    Votes: 5 1.5%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
432,349
Messages
9,272,565
Members
194,624
Latest member
Patrick1053
Top