Public Photography

The topic this week explored the ethics of taking photo’s in public spaces.

In class we explored defensive photography, as a way of documenting events in public spaces and whether we though these were ethical.

Here is an example, of defensive photography. A man had been shot in Minnesota for reaching over to grab his license and registration after informing the police office of the gun license he was holding, in a open gun license state. Lavish Reynolds, the victims girlfriend, recorded the whole event on Facebook live. Please be aware this video is very confronting.

At first I thought that for someone to think about getting their phone out to record their dying boyfriend, it was completely disgusting. Then I thought about the way in which she might be feeling, through the movement of #blacklivesmatter and what different races have to deal with that we may not. By recording an event like this we see the truth of what actually happened rather than hearing a recount that may of been tampered with by Police officers.

Here is an example of the Young Turks analysing the events surrounding the Kajieme shooting from a bystanders video and a police officer’s recount.


As we can see in both, defensive photography holds a certain power for the viewer and the ones experiencing the event first hand. Generally sharing what they think is unjust.

The Arts Law centre- photography rights (which for some reason I cant link from Moodle) explores the idea that anyone can be photographed without permission in a public place. If the person being photographed wants you to delete the image then the ethical thing to do is to delete that photo and not use it due to not having their consent. The publishing of the content can also be an issue. For instance the video of man shot in the car, was taken many times off of Facebook due to concerns from its viewers.

This week we had the challenge of trying to photograph people in public while not breaching ethics or privacy issues. In other words, photographing people without being able to identify them.

Have a look at my examples below:



As we can see in these photos, the shadows are very hard to actually distinguish who the person is that we are looking at. The other two you can kind of make out the person due to the clothes and very distinguished facial features such as their beard. Therefore the most successful photos when looking at privacy concerns are the shadow pictures, which is a way of getting around privacy concerns.


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