I love to snap strangers, those candid shots of random people, with expressions you can only capture when they have no idea they are being photographed. But is that being too intrusive?
On a recent day trip with Jess to meet the good folk of Instagramers Brighton, as part of our Instagramers London and Instagramers UK roles, we took a little stroll around the town, as you do! In the distance I could see a street musician, or busker, and thought he might make a perfect subject. So, as we approached I took a couple of what I thought were sneaky snaps, until he piped up “You could have asked first!”. My immediate reaction was to apologise (after all I had been busted!) and offered to delete the photo from my camera roll. And the discussion could have been left there, chalked up to experience, and moved on. But he clearly had a bee in his bonnet about this and was determined to give us his thoughts on the matter. While our Brightonian host Dave (from Printagram) hovered above his guitar case with some change, our (un)friendly busker continued to tell us that we weren’t the first, how fed up he was with people not asking before taking his photo, and that it wasn’t about the money, just the principle. To which our response was that while he is performing in a public space (apparently Brighton has an open policy on street musicians), and clearly looking for an audience, he was bound to attract such attention. It is not illegal to photograph people in a public space, with the obvious exception of children, and so our discussion went on. You could argue that we might not like his style of street music but he didn’t ask us whether we minded him playing within our earshot! Anyway, we eventually moved on, considered him a miserable git, and here’s the photograph anyway!
And here’s some useful reference on photographers rights:
Simon Moran’s Photographers Rights Guide V2
12 February 2013
In my previous post I suggested that none of the alternative photo sharing apps could touch Instagram, and I still believe that. However……. I have been very intrigued and impressed by Backspaces, a fairly new app that takes the photo sharing concept to a different level, by allowing the user to group their images, text and geotags, and bring it all together before posting as a complete ‘story’. Out of all the photo sharing apps I have seen and joined, this one has fired my imagination more than most.
I first signed up about three weeks ago after seeing an Instagram friend’s shared post on Twitter. I found some familiar names to follow and posted a small series of photos as a test run. Nothing too spectacular there, but this weekend I had a good look around the app and found lots more familiar Instagram names as well as the three developers Dimitri, Adrian and Wylie to follow. These three guys are great. They follow, like and comment on many users’ stories, are responsive to feedback, reply to comments and seem genuinely blown away by the app’s success. What sets this app apart from Instagram and the other Instagram wannabes, is its ability to draw the reader into an image and the story behind it. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but combined, the pictures and the considerably less than a thousand words can convey a real sense of being part of that story. I’ve seen snow fall in New York, I’ve seen a drag artist’s transformation, and I’ve read a moving story of a woman whose mother is transgender. Some have few words and rely on visual impact, while others have a narrative enhanced by the images. And it works, really well. It’s not trying to compete with Instagram, I don’t think it can anyway. But instead it invites it’s fast growing user base to look deeper into the stories behind the images.
I’m now looking at my camera roll in a different way. Rather than looking at one or two single images to represent a photo taking trip, I’m now looking at the whole series, and the other perfectly good images that wouldn’t normally get posted to Instagram for fear of boring everyone with yet another angle of the same famous London landmark (I exaggerate!). It’s early days for the Backspaces team, and I sincerely hope the app’s steady development and its inevitable success will continue without too much attention from the ‘big boys’. Not yet anyway.
10 February 2013