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46 minutes ago, losdemas said:

I agree with most of what has been said. You are, of course perfectly within your rights to take the pictures, but the situation right now - especially in the States the past couple of days - is more like a war zone. Many people will be (rightly) afraid, even paranoid about who is doing what and why. Be polite, kind and calm, move on to another spot. Misunderstandings can lead to confrontation and violence pretty quickly.  Be safe, that's the priority.

 

Exactly. It is all very well exercising one's right to take pictures in a public place but it is important to reflect on why one is doing that. The chances of making any money worth talking about out of the photography are tiny as there are so many other people (pros, amateurs and members of the public) doing the same thing anyway. Aside from personal injury, if your gear gets damaged you will almost certainly not be covered by your insurance (professional news photogaphers aside). There is a huge difference between taking pictures of a riot which is what is happening now in the US and a peaceful extinction rebellion protest. Leave the riot photography to the pros. 

 

And to top it off people seem to have forgotten there is a pandemic afoot and Covid-19 is to be taken seriously. Watch this space for the next wave of Covid-19.

Edited by MDM
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2 hours ago, IanDavidson said:

Sadly Phil looks exactly like he is working for the police.   
 

Do you think I should stop wearing that plastic souvenir helmet then?

 

The one time recently that I've been approached by a protester was one who was worried about being traced with facial recognition programs. 

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28 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I know that analogies can be fairly corny but anyway....

 

I used to be teacher and sometimes you could have a really hard lesson and come out feeling beaten up, really annoyed, and angry about how ungrateful, rude etc the children were. It is easy to blame them for the bad lesson but they are the children and I was the teacher, the adult, the one that is supposed to be the professional. The one who had the responsibility and supposedly the training.

 

So the only solution, because I couldn't easily change the children before I saw them next, was to reflect and think about what I could do to improve the situation - could my approach be different, is my tone right, is the level of the lesson appropriate, the learning materials, the classroom layout, and so on? What could I do to make sure that the next lesson went better and more smoothly?

 

Or I could carry on venting about these awful children and work myself towards an early grave.

 

And before you say anything Morrison you are already down for a detention. 😉

 

Very well said.

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I had this one incident few years ago where I shot couple of images of neo-nazis handing flyers to passer-bys. I was going to elsewhere, but took few shots before moving on. One of those nazis followed me running, came to my side, took picture of me and ran back. They were obviously taking snap shots of everybody photographing them. I followed the young skinhead and told him to take a proper picture, which you can't do running, and also to make sure the sun wasn't behind the object - in this case me. He took couple of photos and I left. Just wanted to make understood that I wasn't intimidated by their actions.

 

I realize that was not a smart thing to do and as a photographer it's wiser to be invisible than part of the action. This young neo-nazi in case was later in news for killing someone who didn't share his political views. 

Edited by JaniMarkus Hasa
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1 hour ago, MDM said:

 

Exactly. It is all very well exercising one's right to take pictures in a public place but it is important to reflect on why one is doing that. The chances of making any money worth talking about out of the photography are tiny as there are so many other people (pros, amateurs and members of the public) doing the same thing anyway. Aside from personal injury, if your gear gets damaged you will almost certainly not be covered by your insurance (professional news photogaphers aside). There is a huge difference between taking pictures of a riot which is what is happening now in the US and a peaceful extinction rebellion protest. Leave the riot photography to the pros. 

 

And to top it off people seem to have forgotten there is a pandemic afoot and Covid-19 is to be taken seriously. Watch this space for the next wave of Covid-19.

 

 

thank you for the post.  After reading some of the comments i was starting to feel like i was a personal failure for staying away from the local protest yesterday in Montreal.

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They try to stop me too. I recently started working as a photojournalist for a paper and this question has come up often. You are well within your right to document what is happening at a newsworthy event. I always find it odd that fellow protesters are ENCOURAGED to film and take pics but anyone marked as media is bad. Just move on and keep doing what you're doing.

Edited by PuffinsPictures
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2 hours ago, PuffinsPictures said:

I always find it odd that fellow protesters are ENCOURAGED to film and take pics but anyone marked as media is bad. Just move on and keep doing what you're doing.

 

The reason for encouraging fellow protesters to photograph is because their images will likely be posted on social media. In most cases photojournalists have no control over how or where their images are used, so it's not their fault if they are used in a critical way. The exception are the few staff photographers left when they are working for a publisher with a known editorial policy. Personally, the only groups I have found critical of my presence at protests are the far right, you have to be very observant and tread carefully there.

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21 hours ago, losdemas said:

I agree with most of what has been said. You are, of course perfectly within your rights to take the pictures, but the situation right now - especially in the States the past couple of days - is more like a war zone.

 

some parts of nyc have been pretty chaotic the past few days, not talking about the largely peaceful daytime protests, but nighttime... when the criminal elements come out and use the peaceful protests as cover to loot and destroy.   and the looting, while confined to "high street" neighborhoods has been very well organized (communications using social media, use of getaway rental scooters, stolen cars to transport merchandise) .  however, tonight people got bolder, and the looting has spread out.  a few cops were intentionally attacked by looters, and citizen media video surfaced of one who was run over and sent flying into the air 1 hr ago.  the media (stuff like the guardian) has largely stayed the course and kept on message about george floyd (and others like breonna taylor) vs. the State, and not steered toward sensationalism, but tonight.... plus yesterday.... will be hard to ignore....  

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In the current environment in the USA it depends on the circumstances. I would NOT point a camera at a person of color. If their picture gets published protesting, they can much more easily be assumed a looter or rioter and arrested before a white person would be. If it's a peaceful march and people are holding up signs to make a public statement for the media, that's okay. There was a car protest near my home the other day. They hired a photographer who photographed each car and the results were spectacular. Clearly, they wanted the message to be spread far and wide. But the situation right now is volatile where the boundaries between protests and riots are quite confused and social media and regular media outlets are perpetuating that confusion. I went to a "protest" a couple of days ago, which was really an organized looting fest that began with a face off against about 30 policeman. I was the only white woman for miles. I had my expensive camera with me and the footage would have been gold. I did not dare take my camera out of my bag for my own and for the protesters' (and the police's) safety. It could have changed the course of events somehow. I assessed the situation, spoke to one of the participants, felt the energy was ominous and left. Moments after I left, police were shooting something at the crowd to scatter them, then the kids immediately looted a large sporting goods store. Getting a photo under those conditions was not worth it. I can't imagine who would have felt comfortable in that situation shooting with a big camera. Maybe you could use a cell phone camera if you were brave.

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On 31/05/2020 at 15:06, Colblimp said:

You have to have a very thick skin to shoot protests.  Keep doing it and you'll gain more confidence. 👍

 

In general, I find protests very easy to shoot. People are on display in costumes wanting to make a statement, hundreds of other people are taking photos at the same time. You can be totally invisible (protests where I live are huge) and it helps to boost their message in the media. That's the whole point. But right now is different. People are protesting out of raw anger, and pain. You have to assess carefully. If someone said that to me, I would stop and move to a position where she couldn't see me and be bothered by my presence.

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I was high up on the roof of my building two nights ago watching people park their cars on my street with my neighbors. I was taking pictures of people getting out of their cars. They were looters about to attack the mall a block from my home.  I got their faces and licenses plates and cars. My neighbor told me not to because it could endanger us. I didn't really like being told that, because I felt like I was able to do it without their noticing. I stopped for a bit and then took photos as they were walking away, told the neighbor they couldn't see me. Not that I did anything with the photos. Not going to turn them into anybody, but it was an interesting record of what was happening in my neighborhood.

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On 31/05/2020 at 16:07, Jill Morgan said:

Isn't one of the ideas of protesting getting attention and publicity for your cause?  

 

Jill

 

Right now it's about destroying property, unfortunately. Some say that's the only way to get attention for your cause.

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23 hours ago, MDM said:

 

Exactly. It is all very well exercising one's right to take pictures in a public place but it is important to reflect on why one is doing that. The chances of making any money worth talking about out of the photography are tiny as there are so many other people (pros, amateurs and members of the public) doing the same thing anyway. Aside from personal injury, if your gear gets damaged you will almost certainly not be covered by your insurance (professional news photogaphers aside). There is a huge difference between taking pictures of a riot which is what is happening now in the US and a peaceful extinction rebellion protest. Leave the riot photography to the pros. 

 

And to top it off people seem to have forgotten there is a pandemic afoot and Covid-19 is to be taken seriously. Watch this space for the next wave of Covid-19.

 

Exactly.

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2 hours ago, sooth said:

 

some parts of nyc have been pretty chaotic the past few days, not talking about the largely peaceful daytime protests, but nighttime... when the criminal elements come out and use the peaceful protests as cover to loot and destroy.   and the looting, while confined to "high street" neighborhoods has been very well organized (communications using social media, use of getaway rental scooters, stolen cars to transport merchandise) .  however, tonight people got bolder, and the looting has spread out.  a few cops were intentionally attacked by looters, and citizen media video surfaced of one who was run over and sent flying into the air 1 hr ago.  the media (stuff like the guardian) has largely stayed the course and kept on message about george floyd (and others like breonna taylor) vs. the State, and not steered toward sensationalism, but tonight.... plus yesterday.... will be hard to ignore....  

 

We have had four solid nights of looting on all sides of where I live. After the first night, I woke up early in the morning and thought I should be out there shooting all the damage. On second thought, I had a migraine, and decided it was completely uninteresting. I was not in the mood to participate in any way with that shitshow. Sometimes you make more of a statement by choosing NOT to shoot something.

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4 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

If it's a peaceful march and people are holding up signs to make a public statement for the media, that's okay.

 

Just to clarify: it was a peaceful protest during the day. Thanks for all of your insight and feedback. Even though the protest was only 3 days ago, I wouldn't dare go out and try it again, as things have become so much more volatile since then. 

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To some extent it is about the difference between a photojournalist and photographer. The former is there to record what happens,  and wants the shots that define a protest.   There is a lot of nonsense being perpetrated about the MSM,  and "fake news" (as if political propaganda is news and the non mainstream media is not riven with bias).  The good thing about a photo is that it can covey a simple truth. 

Edited by marc
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On 01/06/2020 at 02:30, MDM said:

 

Exactly. It is all very well exercising one's right to take pictures in a public place but it is important to reflect on why one is doing that. The chances of making any money worth talking about out of the photography are tiny as there are so many other people (pros, amateurs and members of the public) doing the same thing anyway. Aside from personal injury, if your gear gets damaged you will almost certainly not be covered by your insurance (professional news photogaphers aside). There is a huge difference between taking pictures of a riot which is what is happening now in the US and a peaceful extinction rebellion protest. Leave the riot photography to the pros. 

 

And to top it off people seem to have forgotten there is a pandemic afoot and Covid-19 is to be taken seriously. Watch this space for the next wave of Covid-19.

 

There are protests in Canadian cities in sympathy with those in the US. Even though the ones in Vancouver have been peaceful so far, I wouldn't go near them simply because of the risk of contracting COVID-19. I think you're correct -- and I know you speak from experience -- when you suggest that there are now going to be new waves of infection because of all the close contact, shouting, etc. Sadly, it's a perfect storm out there, so to speak. Hope you are continuing to feel better.

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2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

There are protests in Canadian cities in sympathy with those in the US. Even though the ones in Vancouver have been peaceful so far, I wouldn't go near them simply because of the risk of contracting COVID-19. I think you're correct -- and I know you speak from experience -- when you suggest that there are now going to be new waves of infection because of all the close contact, shouting, etc. Sadly, it's a perfect storm out there, so to speak. Hope you are continuing to feel better.


Thanks John 👍

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25 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Feels like we are in a prequel to the The Handmaid's Tale 

 

 

 

Yes, it's starting to look rather dystopian out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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