This weekend just gone I spent a pleasant day in the company of a few members of the Secret Photography Group (shh it’s a secret) trying some street photography in London. It was an opportunity to try the Olympus 45mm on the E-PM1 body, which turned out to be a great pairing. The 45mm is really very good wide open, although a lot of the shots were taken with it stopped down to f4 because of the surprising amount of sun that day. If you know the weather lately in the UK you will be aware we have been experiencing quite a bit of snow and rain, more so than we have in recent years at this time of year.
Street photography is an interesting branch of photography requiring the photographer to put themselves in uncomfortable situations, but the rewards do out way the fear. I’ve only done a bit in the past, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is when you get into the zone. It can be quite un-nerving approaching strangers and just snapping away at them, but generally you will find that most people will do one of a number of things, smile or frown at the weird person taking their picture.
For me, the more interesting people are the people that either react in a way where they don’t want their picture taken, like the guy above, or just continue on oblivious to what has happened.
All towns seem to have their collection of characters that are worth capturing, but London being so large has a generally much more diverse collection of these characters. I’m sure there must be a character per square foot figure for every place on earth, and London must be right up there with the best of them.
There is something about street that lends itself to B&W images. They just seem to evoke a feeling which is diluted by colour. I think this tends to come from the surroundings being full of advertising rather than other subjects which normally have a much more diluted range of colours, not to say that the colours in other settings aren’t as bright, but they number of colours do tend to be more constrained.
Earlier this week I had an incident where one of my images was used without permission being sought. So what you might ask, this thing happens all the time, and yes you’re right it does. I’ve found one of my images being used as an avatar for someone I’ve never met let alone heard of on LinkedIn. The image in question in that instance even includes a water mark with my name! It seems an assumption is made over images and other digital media on the Internet, that once they are released they are public domain.
In this new instance, the image was credited to me, which was good, but that still didn’t get away from the fact that image was used without my permission and more importantly taken from my private Facebook page. Maybe I shouldn’t have got upset, but I did because of a number of reasons:
- The image was taken from Facebook – which for my feed is locked down to friends only, making the image as private as you can on Facebook without making it FYEO.
- It was a work in progress, posted to garner some feedback. It had been produced for a competition that was due in the next few weeks, but I’d abandoned it for the competition. Not to say the image had been abandoned for other uses.
- The image is a portrait of my daughter so there is an aspect of fatherly protection stepping in as well.
- The person who used the image is well known to me and I would have expected a level of courtesy from them.
- As the image was destined for a competition there was a level of control I wanted to keep over the image so that it didn’t act as an idea source for other competitors. This aspect may sound silly, but I redirect you to my earlier “Twenties” post.
Now I know that you might argue that once an image is on the Internet you lose control of it, and I fully understand that. I just expect my images to appear in unexpected places, aka the LinkedIn avatar, not so close to home.
However, the person has apologised, and I thank them for that. They had made assumptions about the image, which proved to be wrong and I can see where their logic was when they made the choices to use the image.
So as for the image, what to do with it. Not sure, I’ve been advised to submit it for other competitions, and maybe I will once I’ve worked on it a bit more. Will it be the same image by then? Probably not. Will I stumble upon it somewhere else unexpected? Probably in this age of the Internet and the assumption of everything being public domain.
Hopefully, this will continue long enough that it becomes an account of my continuing journey (no captain logs jokes) through photography. I’m planning on capturing things I’ve discovered about taking and processing photography and also my thoughts on things I’ve tripped over. Maybe I’ll drift off in to other topics like Apple or software development (I develop software for the iOS amongst other things!).
The picture you see attached to this entry was taken by a friend Jon Morris-Smith (flickr link) on a Photo Walk organised by Sharon Cooper. It’s one half of a photography stand off that took place in a spooky cemetery with a derelict church looming over us and the light fading fast, or was it us running fast towards the pub 🙂 This half was taken by Jon and is a picture of me, probably the closest thing to a portrait I have of myself at the moment. You can find the other half of the duo of pictures in my flickr stream here “Snapper”. I bet you can’t guess what camera I used.