Today I am reduced to posting the kind of image that inspires within me self loathing; a hipsteresque image of coffee and my camera (the only thing I despise more is the horrible ice cream glass some chains insist on for lattes).
I lost my bottle. I tried to take an image of a guy on a BMX, lost confidence so asked, and was told to beat it (in more colourful language).
I should have carried on shooting elsewhere, but instead gave up for a while. The reality is there is very little conflict in street photography. Yet, when it happens, it makes me want to give up. I listen to John Free tell me that street photography is a noble endeavour. But sometimes it seems to be perceived as less than honourable.
It is a fairly mainstream activity. Today I listened to part of the fascinating story of Vanley Burke documenting the experience of the African-Caribbean community in England. This was a Radio 4 programme. Hardly an underground or especially edgy source. The story told the response of some of his subjects discovering his candid shots. In the main they sounded ok with it and some sounded pleased.
However, with some of the present anxiety over GDPR (which will hopefully turn out to be unwarranted) and the potential for conflict, I wonder if it’s time for a change of direction. Or at least until I get my bottle back.
In these circumstances I enjoy doing something different. For example, occassionally I get the opportunity to photograph events. It gives me the chance to plug in the flash and take some non-candid shots and portraits. I find that mft cameras can generally deal well enough with the light conditions and my little Nissin i40 flash does a brilliant job with the problem situations.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I’m compiling a list of useful information regarding street photography and GDPR. As yet things seem unclear. See the foot of this post.
Now that I’ve got your attention, perhaps this post would be better entitled ‘ The future of street photography’.
The image above is actually a portrait of a friend. I’ve blurred it to conceal his identity. But such images may be the future of street photography.
Recent changes in European data protection law (known as GDPR) appear to consider our faces a form of personal data. It’s not clear whether all images taken in public will require a model release, or whether current exemptions or allowances will persist.
However, apparently, the Maltese authorities are recommending that images without a release form have faces blurred to conceal personal information.
The web is full of comments from different perspectives and as yet it is unclear what GDPR may mean for street photography and documentary or travel photography for that matter.
Only time will tell whether the end is near for this most beautiful and significant genre of photography.
Here are some links I’ve found interesting for more discussion on this topic.
– pages 14-16 of this document discuss how identical pictures can be considered both personal data and not personal data depending on context. This comes from the ICO, I think concerning earlier data protection law.