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Observers... or intruders??


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Just seen this cartoon on the Guardian website. How do we feel about our fellow photographers? Do we identify with the ‘press pack’, or with the people they’re photographing?

 

Are we comfortable walking around with a ‘professional’ camera (rather than, say, a camera phone)? Or do we feel disliked, distrusted, while doing our job, like bailiffs and traffic wardens?

 

Are we fulfilling a valuable role, chronicling what life is like in 2020? Or are we just voyeurs?…

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I don't identify in any way with the 'press pack' or the market they supply. But that isn't the same a street photography.

 

I think the tabloid papers in UK are disgusting - mouthpieces for billionaire tax dodgers. 

 

I don't tend to take photos of people - I don't much like having a stranger shoving a camera in my face. The ones that I do take I think would come into the category of tourist snapshot rather than anything else. And I usually ask even if just by gesture and smile.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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John

there is no one answer to this question.  I will put my hand up as a member of “the press pack”.  It is a job like any other.  Walking round with a professional camera (a Nikon D5 with a 70-200mm lens attached in my case) does attract a range of responses from questions like “are you waiting for someone famous” to people deliberately banging into me while I am trying to take photos.  From people saying “take my picture” to “don’t take my picture I am calling the police”.

 

i suspect the underlying question is one about the ethics of press photography.  Every tog I have come across has a different view.  The vast majority of press photographers I know have a strong personal set of ethics as well closely following the editors code.  Three examples, I sometimes shoot backstage at fashion shows, I would not take a picture of a model getting changed, others would (although models have told me they have no problem with it and there are modesty changing robes available but few bother with them) Terrorist and crime scenes are a difficult area.  They should be reported, but most photographers show respect for the victims etc, but on occasion it is almost impossible to take a picture of a scene that is not upsetting.  I was asked to cover the Grenfell tower fire, I declined.  Finally, and again I guess where your question is coming from, celebs, including royalty.  I am quite cynical.  Most celeb shoots are “pre arranged”.  I live in TOWIE Brentwood (not so much these days) and celebs agents contact chosen togs to cover their activities, like going out to a restaurant or nightclub so I have little or no sympathy for celebs who complain.  “Those who live by the sword”. If you make your living by being famous then it goes with the territory 

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1 minute ago, Sally R said:

P.S. I think it is important to capture everyday life, because it is so fantastic to look back on past decades through photography, so I think it is important to document 2020!

 

Some of the people who complain about photographers, and privacy, seem unaware that this is basically how pictures are produced: the pix they see in newspapers and magazines and online.

 

4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I don't much like having a stranger shoving a camera in my face.

 

I include people in a lot of my shots, but that never requires "shoving a camera" in anyone's face!

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3 minutes ago, IanDavidson said:

John

there is no one answer to this question.  I will put my hand up as a member of “the press pack”.  It is a job like any other.  Walking round with a professional camera (a Nikon D5 with a 70-200mm lens attached in my case) does attract a range of responses from questions like “are you waiting for someone famous” to people deliberately banging into me while I am trying to take photos.  From people saying “take my picture” to “don’t take my picture I am calling the police”.

 

i suspect the underlying question is one about the ethics of press photography.  Every tog I have come across has a different view.  The vast majority of press photographers I know have a strong personal set of ethics as well closely following the editors code.  Three examples, I sometimes shoot backstage at fashion shows, I would not take a picture of a model getting changed, others would (although models have told me they have no problem with it and there are modesty changing robes available but few bother with them) Terrorist and crime scenes are a difficult area.  They should be reported, but most photographers show respect for the victims etc, but on occasion it is almost impossible to take a picture of a scene that is not upsetting.  I was asked to cover the Grenfell tower fire, I declined.  Finally, and again I guess where your question is coming from, celebs, including royalty.  I am quite cynical.  Most celeb shoots are “pre arranged”.  I live in TOWIE Brentwood (not so much these days) and celebs agents contact chosen togs to cover their activities, like going out to a restaurant or nightclub so I have little or no sympathy for celebs who complain.  “Those who live by the sword”. If you make your living by being famous then it goes with the territory 

 

I understand the symbiotic relationship between celebs and the media, and how everyone welcomes a positive representation... while complaining about anything more negative. I'm also aware of public hypocrisy: ie people who complain about 'press intrusion' even as they're devouring the pix in their celebrity magazines!

 

Female celebs get their 'day in the sun', while they're young and sexy. Then one day they they reveal some signs of ageing, and the pix concentrate on showing up 'flaws'. It's like we can't deal with the simple facts about the ageing process...

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13 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

Same here but that is what the press pack often do.

Ian, if the press pack is there it is because we have been issued with a press call or been told of an event.  Sometimes it is necessary to be aggressive in a press pack, to get a picture, it is a highly competitive trade.  I may be wrong, but if people don’t want there pictures taken there are lots of ways to avoid it.  Ranging from simply using a court house back door to just keeping their heads down so we can’t get a shot.  
 

I would agree that in a very small number of cases there can be an element of harassment, but the majority of pro news shooters would not do this.

 

it is also worth remembering the pro news shooters aim to take pictures that publishers want, publishers want pictures that their readers demand.  Without getting all sociological, taking news pictures does not happen in a vacuum 

Edited by IanDavidson
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I don't think 'the press pack' can seen as one body. I spend a lot of time in Westminster and the photographers there - though competitive - are generally a friendly and well-behaved bunch (with the exception of Ian, above, who is a nightmare).

The other week I found myself outside the BBC waiting for someone called Harry Styles to turn up and some of the camera-carriers there were appalling, pushing each other (me) and even upsetting young fans in wheelchairs while trying to get a better view. I felt really uncomfortable and thought I was going to get lynched when I told one of them to 'be nice'. 

 

I also do a lot of street photography, buy I never shove a camera in anyone's face, even celebs I pass who are off duty.

 

'Observers or intruders'? Both.

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10 minutes ago, IanDavidson said:

 

 

it is also worth remembering the pro news shooters aim to take pictures that publishers want, publishers want pictures that their readers demand.  Without getting all sociological, taking news pictures does not happen in a vacuum 

 

 

I think it is that manufactured 'demand' that I find worrying - because it is never satisfied and always wants more and more. 

 

I am just giving my opinion. I am quite happy to accept that others have different views.  To me this entire 'celeb' culture is trash.

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I'm not a press photographer but if I'm out and about with my largish Canon DSLR I think I'd probably rather be taken for one than to have to explain why I might want to be taking pictures of people in a public place in the first place. I'm not averse to taking pictures with people in but for Alamy I would carefully edit them. Of course, particularly with street scenes, I take quite a lot where people are too prominent, or looking towards the camera, or shown in a mildly unflattering way and they just get deleted. Difficult to explain that process, and stock photography in general, on the street but so far I haven't had to. That said, I'd rather be out with my small Fuji.

 

Regarding the cartoon of Harry & Meghan, the death of his mother casts a very long shadow and so I think everyone might understand that his attitude towards the tabloid press might be irrevocably skewed.

 

On a positive note, many photographers are recognised now - Sir Don McCullin, Terry O'Neill CBE etc. - and the late Keith Morris was much loved and much missed both in the wider photography community but also in his local community.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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Yes, there are several various reasons for doing news photography -- shooters who see themselves on a righteous mission, adventure seekers, trouble makers, and (in war and riots) adrenaline junkies. I saw myself as someone who accepted an assignment. I was not happy being a PJ.

 

 

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I love the work of Vivian Maier. She was not a professional, yet she had a habit of shoving her camera in people's face. Then again she never published a single image and was operating in times when people were more positive about having their picture taken. 

 

I take a lot of candid images, but unlike famous street photographers who use 50 mm lens or less, I shoot from distance with 70-300 mm. Even that makes me feel a bit awkward, especially when I'm noticed. It can make a great picture though, someone staring straight at camera. I've felt truly disliked only few times, oddly enough sometimes demonstrators and street reclaimers don't want to be photographed. 

 

 

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I work with a small local newsgroup focusing on the emergency services.  So yes it does happen at the worst point in a persons life I am the one there with a camera documenting it.

The press pack?  I am tiny small time yet I have rubbed shoulders with the big pros - BBC, Sky, ITV, and tabloids.  I cannot begin to say how much higher than me these guys are and yet every one I have met has be courteous, friendly, helpful, supportive.  Yes there is competition - but it is not nasty.  I have been given tips by big guys (where to get better shots) and I have passed tips on (places I could not go but a pro may get access).

Identify with whats being photographed - well it depends.  That pile of childs belongings in front of the crashed car.  Yes I identify.  The guy who has had too much to drink who is baiting and provoking the police because he is the big man - No - although I admire the polices professionalism in dealing with it.  I have hugged crying witnesses.  I have spoken to emergeny service personel to make them aware of individuals needing more support. 

Comfortable with the camera - yes.  Going to be abused and disliked - yes.  Its not personal and it comes with the territory and I have experienced similar in care work.  I find there is less dislike and less distrust than may be expected - and depending on the circumstances people can realize that we are the way to get their voice heard.

Is the role valuable - without question. 

Why do I do what I do?  Because the group I am with focuses on professionalism.  Images are pixelated to remove identifying features where necessary (car number plates and faces of victims) so there is no risk of someone finding out the worst through our work before they have been contacted by professionals who can provide support.  We do not share rumour and counter rumour - what we print is either official release or properly researched and confirmed.  Because when shit happens people are interested and want to know what is going on - and photos and rumours and lies will be shared on social media.  The demand is there - it can be met in an unorganised unregulated way that risks harm or it can met with consideration given to safety and protection of others.

For me it is not all day everyday - its maybe a couple of calls a month.  Would I feel differently if I was a full time pro - possibly.  In the meantime I will continue because I know when I (we) am doing it it is being done properly and professionally and if I (we) wasnt there it would still get done but not as well and with much more harm caused.

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7 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I work with a small local newsgroup focusing on the emergency services.  So yes it does happen at the worst point in a persons life I am the one there with a camera documenting it.

The press pack?  I am tiny small time yet I have rubbed shoulders with the big pros - BBC, Sky, ITV, and tabloids.  I cannot begin to say how much higher than me these guys are and yet every one I have met has be courteous, friendly, helpful, supportive.  Yes there is competition - but it is not nasty.  I have been given tips by big guys (where to get better shots) and I have passed tips on (places I could not go but a pro may get access).

Identify with whats being photographed - well it depends.  That pile of childs belongings in front of the crashed car.  Yes I identify.  The guy who has had too much to drink who is baiting and provoking the police because he is the big man - No - although I admire the polices professionalism in dealing with it.  I have hugged crying witnesses.  I have spoken to emergeny service personel to make them aware of individuals needing more support. 

Comfortable with the camera - yes.  Going to be abused and disliked - yes.  Its not personal and it comes with the territory and I have experienced similar in care work.  I find there is less dislike and less distrust than may be expected - and depending on the circumstances people can realize that we are the way to get their voice heard.

Is the role valuable - without question. 

Why do I do what I do?  Because the group I am with focuses on professionalism.  Images are pixelated to remove identifying features where necessary (car number plates and faces of victims) so there is no risk of someone finding out the worst through our work before they have been contacted by professionals who can provide support.  We do not share rumour and counter rumour - what we print is either official release or properly researched and confirmed.  Because when shit happens people are interested and want to know what is going on - and photos and rumours and lies will be shared on social media.  The demand is there - it can be met in an unorganised unregulated way that risks harm or it can met with consideration given to safety and protection of others.

For me it is not all day everyday - its maybe a couple of calls a month.  Would I feel differently if I was a full time pro - possibly.  In the meantime I will continue because I know when I (we) am doing it it is being done properly and professionally and if I (we) wasnt there it would still get done but not as well and with much more harm caused.

Took a look at your images, which I like, by the way. I was curious about the news aspect ones. 
I zoomed a couple of the aftermath of a fire.  These had no caption or descriptions. Pardon, in the caption was...flats. I have no experience with this, but don’t most news shooters add captions and descriptions after the pictures become stock? I see a lot of them with the news-type caption, who, what, where, when, etc. according to what’s required, which is very adequate.

Again, what do I know. Just seems as stock, they would be more easily found with a caption answering the questions.

Betty

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48 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

Took a look at your images, which I like, by the way. I was curious about the news aspect ones. 
I zoomed a couple of the aftermath of a fire.  These had no caption or descriptions. Pardon, in the caption was...flats. I have no experience with this, but don’t most news shooters add captions and descriptions after the pictures become stock? I see a lot of them with the news-type caption, who, what, where, when, etc. according to what’s required, which is very adequate.

Again, what do I know. Just seems as stock, they would be more easily found with a caption answering the questions.

Betty

 

 

news, converts as is to stock with the caption.  actually one of the issue is you get much more chance of false positive search from the extra info.  so it's probably better to adjust,  and have the full original in "other info" 

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2 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

Took a look at your images, which I like, by the way. I was curious about the news aspect ones. 
I zoomed a couple of the aftermath of a fire.  These had no caption or descriptions. Pardon, in the caption was...flats. I have no experience with this, but don’t most news shooters add captions and descriptions after the pictures become stock? I see a lot of them with the news-type caption, who, what, where, when, etc. according to what’s required, which is very adequate.

Again, what do I know. Just seems as stock, they would be more easily found with a caption answering the questions.

Betty

 

1 hour ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

news, converts as is to stock with the caption.  actually one of the issue is you get much more chance of false positive search from the extra info.  so it's probably better to adjust,  and have the full original in "other info" 

When they were put up they had full titling captioning etc in line with Alamy live news requirements and which has to be done before upload (I love photo mechanic lol).  They did sell (I do not know how much for as still not reported - I have my countdown on for 4 months lol)
I will go back and check the captioning and keywording for general stock.

And Betty thank you for the compliment 😀

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4 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

 

When they were put up they had full titling captioning etc in line with Alamy live news requirements and which has to be done before upload (I love photo mechanic lol).  They did sell (I do not know how much for as still not reported - I have my countdown on for 4 months lol)
I will go back and check the captioning and keywording for general stock.

And Betty thank you for the compliment 😀

I enjoyed looking at your butterflies. I have my share!

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2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

 

When they were put up they had full titling captioning etc in line with Alamy live news requirements and which has to be done before upload (I love photo mechanic lol).  They did sell (I do not know how much for as still not reported - I have my countdown on for 4 months lol)
I will go back and check the captioning and keywording for general stock.

And Betty thank you for the compliment 😀

Something I need to do with mine as lots of false hits lately.

 

As for the original Question, I have no problems walking around with the kit, currently a 7D2 with a 150-600 on the front, you do get stared at quite a bit but when they realise the lens is not pointing at them they carry on with what they were doing. Only once I've had hassles and that was to do with a coastguard incident, thankfully the coastguard knew who i was and calmed him down. saying i was documenting their work.

 

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1 hour ago, Pete Snelling said:

Something I need to do with mine as lots of false hits lately.

 

 

 

Most of them- searches that pick up a couple of your separate tags- you can't fix. Best to get them right- and tight- first time if you can. Phrase supertags, with  higher search significance, are supposed to help, but customers don't often co-operate by actually using the ones I choose.

You don't have too many images yet so the task isn't too huge. Mine, I rarely even bother about.

Edited by spacecadet
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1 hour ago, Pete Snelling said:

Something I need to do with mine as lots of false hits lately.

 

As for the original Question, I have no problems walking around with the kit, currently a 7D2 with a 150-600 on the front, you do get stared at quite a bit but when they realise the lens is not pointing at them they carry on with what they were doing. Only once I've had hassles and that was to do with a coastguard incident, thankfully the coastguard knew who i was and calmed him down. saying i was documenting their work.

 

I agree it makes a difference when you are known.  When I first started the services, especially the police, would be quite spikey - I was not known and while legally anyone can shoot what is visible in public areas the police do worry about what can happen when Joe Bloggs puts stuff on social media.  As the one with the "proper" camera I was more obvious than the mobile phones.  I am now better known, and the group as a whole is accepted as using professional standards.   An issue that is growing unfortunately is where the group is becoming better known it is attracting trolls who just want to attack and the main editor/organiser especially gets flack not so much for the incident he is covering but just for the whole photojournalism thing.

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12 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

An issue that is growing unfortunately is where the group is becoming better known it is attracting trolls who just want to attack and the main editor/organiser especially gets flack not so much for the incident he is covering but just for the whole photojournalism thing.

If this is the FB group that is local to me, i think they came in for a bit of grief when some working pro photographers inquired if the page paid for the images it used. 

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15 minutes ago, Lynchpics said:

If this is the FB group that is local to me, i think they came in for a bit of grief when some working pro photographers inquired if the page paid for the images it used. 

Its the county of Wiltshire.  Its a dedicated website - and it does not sound like an enquiry that would be made because it was established by a pro photographer using his own work.  There is now a group of photographers who go out when stuff is reported (generally by members of the public fed up of a local news service that is er crap and fails to cover significant amounts of local news).  We are free to pass the photos on to national news services if/when stuff is of national interest.  The problem of images used tends to be the other way as said local news service (owned by Newsquest) has a history of nicking other peoples work and has faced court action from our editor, the county council, and a firebrigade (among others) for doing so.

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28 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

Its the county of Wiltshire.  Its a dedicated website - and it does not sound like an enquiry that would be made because it was established by a pro photographer using his own work.  There is now a group of photographers who go out when stuff is reported (generally by members of the public fed up of a local news service that is er crap and fails to cover significant amounts of local news).  We are free to pass the photos on to national news services if/when stuff is of national interest.  The problem of images used tends to be the other way as said local news service (owned by Newsquest) has a history of nicking other peoples work and has faced court action from our editor, the county council, and a firebrigade (among others) for doing so.

Yeah it's the same site, i saw the comments regarding it on a 'stop working for free' FB page. I see that the site you mention can according to it's Contributor terms "use and distribute your content without credit or remuneration". 

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24 minutes ago, Lynchpics said:

Yeah it's the same site, i saw the comments regarding it on a 'stop working for free' FB page. I see that the site you mention can according to it's Contributor terms "use and distribute your content without credit or remuneration". 

That is not the terms I work under - and I am pretty sure its not the terms of anyone else either

 

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