Your lens, my face.

One moment I could be drinking my cappuccino at my local café, and the next I’ll see a zoomed in video of my head sipping my coffee all over Snapchat. The humour that we find in taking photos of each other without someone’s consent has become a ritual that is a part of Snapchat. But when does having froth all over your top lip become humiliating? At what point does respecting someone’s privacy and dignity come to mind?

To put this idea in a females perspective, I wouldn’t let my friend upload a photo to Instagram if I looked like I had just had too many shots and looked like I had rolled down a grass hill…I probably would have, but I wouldn’t want everyone else to know that.

So when taking photographs in public, do you personally tell someone they’ve made the shot? Or will you let their image be posted without their permission?

Personally asking someone to photograph them felt oddly weird but yet somewhat satisfying knowing they were happy with the photo. It was something I had a feeling would be okay considering the loud background with more than 100 people behind her and the amount of selfies she was already taking.

“If you take a photograph of someone and that person confronts you about it, how do you react? The most common response from photographers appears to be that provided you’re in a public space you can take any picture you want. That’s true, at least in a legal sense.”

From YouTube to other media platforms, there has been a noticeable change over the years of what has been posted. And more often than not these videos and photos are of people who are unaware of the lens. An example would be video’s posted by public citizens in America who have captured police brutality and killings, which on its own can cause moral and social panic.

“Street Photographers” is a genre of photography that features people in candid situations in public spaces. For a broader term, it means photography that occurs in public. The term “public places” apply to areas outside the borders of an individual’s home or private property, for example, streets, parks, beaches etc.

So I guess everyone has become a street photographer in their own way.

Referring back to the above quote, when photographs come down to the “legal sense” of course we all have the right to capture what we want. Being in the background of photos has happened to all of us, even when we aren’t realizing that we are. But when it affects an individuals wellbeing – emotional, social, or physical – does the legal matter, matter?

This idea can also be used through the view of the press and their inhumane actions when photographing celebrities. Over one hundred years ago, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, called upon the courts to recognize a remedy in tort for invasions of privacy. In their article, they railed against the press’s pursuit of “idle gossip” and criticized the press for it “prurient taste.” The restriction of freedom of the photographers and their un-authorizing  photographs of people in public places, illustrated how the First Amendment doctrine leaves photography vulnerable to oppressive governmental regulation.

Although their movement created a movement, till this day the press have continued in disregarding societies security and privacy.


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