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Re: filmscanners: OT: photographing on the street

        I have a problem with giving out money for photographing people on the
        streets. (a) your relationship is contractual rather than a voluntary
        arrangement but much more importantly (b) I'd rather people wanted to be
        photographed without payment entering into it. 

I appreciate the reasoning here, but.. I was a street musician
for a few years, so can offer a different perspective. I think 
it's entirely appropriate to give such people some money for 
photographing them (a dollar was fine). If there is anything
about a person that is photogenic, and they reside in public
in some way, they will find cameras pointing at them a lot,
mostly by people who have no idea how to relate to them. It
gets to feel like one is being ripped off in this case.

And having been close to the other street people, when
I photograph them now face-to-face now, I ask and offer a dollar -
and so far my instinct has not failed me in that the very fact
that they are seen as having something of value to sell, and
that I am having a transaction with them as equals, seems to
visibly increase their self-esteem and incidently makes for
some wonderful pictures as they display themselves as participants
in life vs. begging flotsam and jetsam.

        Also (c) it is kind of unfair
        to all the people you DON'T give money to, 

I simply don't buy this - it's a specious argument philosophically,
one step from "we've got to screw everyone because we can't avoid
screwing someone."

        If you do want to photograph street people and you feel that 
        you should give them something in return I think the most 
        gracious thing to do is to give them money FIRST and then ask 
        if you can have a picture.

This isn't bad, but the transactional aspect can be better, I find.

Here's an experiment - dress up as something photogenic, clown or
bum, and spend some time every day for a week in a public place
asking for money (be careful not to steal some needier person's
spot). It may be very useful for negotiating this situation from 
the other side. And bring a P/S to pull out just in case :-)

Bill Ross


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