The photographer's dilemma

What do you do when, as a photographer with a camera, you are a witness to something out of the ordinary?

Do you record it through your medium? You are, after all, a photographer and one aspect of the art is about capturing the moment ... human emotions ... confrontations ... strife ... achievement.

But if you raise your camera you could be accused of voyeurism. Or worse.

On the other hand, if you pass on by - what sort of a photographer are you? A wimp who only does luminous landscapes and babes on blankets?

Not so long ago I came across this little confrontation on the Mont Blanc Bridge in Geneva ...


Should I have walked on? Kept my camera down?

What do you think?

2 comments:

Livia said...

Well, I'm a bit confused here. If you took the picture for your own personal use, I see no harm in that. But if you release it to any public media, as this blog site qualifies, then don't you need to have releases from all the people? After all, the man under question is in a rather incriminating position. Wouldn't he be justifiably upset if he came across this photo by chance one day?

Alistair Scott said...

I'm not a lawyer ... so maybe I'm taking a bit of a risk here, making this photo public.

But I don't think so.

In most European countries you can take a photograph of anything or anyone provided you are in a public place.

Furthermore these photos can be used freely for artistic or editorial purposes without the need for model releases.

Think, for example, of all the photographs that appear in newspapers or magazines. It would be impossible to use them if model releases were needed for everyone.

Then I've just 'published' two other photos, one of Kirk Miller's daughter Madelaine and another of a retired farmer. I don't have model releases for either of those.

My interpretation of the law is that this blog would be regarded as either 'editorial' or 'artistic' use.

On the other hand, I would need model releases if I was going to use the image for commercial purposes (as part of and advertisement a soft drink, for example).

Whether the people would be upset or not is another issue. Should we only make public images that are not going to upset anyone?