Thursday, October 15, 2015



This blog is going to be different from my usual ones as I try to put across a point about which there can be arguments.The subject of discussion  is :  A photographer need take permission of his/her subject before clicking.

The answer is : YES, Specially before capturing private moments. But, otherwise, if  a part of  a street scene ? Secondly, should a photographer ask target/s pose and show-case the same as the as candid photo/s ?

This is a law in many Western countries regarding the 1st point.  I have glanced through some of the discussions in the Internet - mostly questions & answers - regarding this topic. Also, some street photographs - old and new . I conclude : this is a norm which is highly 'respected'  when in , say, France or UK.Volume of candid photographs is , therefore,  shrinking.

When tourists and photographers from  Western world  visit India, how  they conduct themselves ? Do they obtain permission of the beggars, old people in the streets,so-called 'sadhus' in popular temples and other places of worship ?

My observation - based on several incidents in Hampi,Karnataka, Konark, Orissa and Udaipur , Rajasthan - is that  this is often done. Yet, there is a big 'BUT'!!

Young boys and girls, appearing to be from families of lower income group  are offered toffees or cheap pens, beggars and 'sadhus' are given tenner to pose for photos. This conscious behaviour of photographers from the Western hemisphere has changed the habit of  good no of Indians living in places of tourist attractions. I have been repeatedly pestered for pens and/or small gifts , even if I am not  interested in clicking his/her photo and I hardly look like a Westerner.In fact, I rarely took photos of passers-bys' faces , whether in Cities, Towns,temples or other places of  tourist attractions ! ( Only now I am changing my habit) .

I believe, this process of obtaining concurrence by INFLUENCING the subject/s is not at all commendable.I kept some photos and mental notes of incidents to write down my feelings , to which my friends may OR may not agree.

The above brings into light two sides of this 'concurrence before click' arrangement:
  • Overdone in streets of Western hemisphere ? Pl view the photographs below. Not only VM - who is much older than the current generation - but others have projected shadows in staircases, feet below knees, faces obscured by opaque glass-pane in their portfolio. Very often, the spontaneity is just not there.Instead, we find conscious posing   as seen the TL's photo here.
  • Photos taken in 3rd World that often portraits,poverty,misery,mal-nutrition and chaos.

 A photo from Vivian Maier Collection

A photo from Thomas Leuthard Collection

Photo taken during my Konrk ( Orissa) visit in 2012.

NOTE :This boy pestered me nos of times for money in exchange of  taking his photograph I was NOT interested in.He walked parallel to me just to annoy !!
I eventually clicked his photo & made a mental note  for  use in a Blog  on this subject.

A photo of a Somalian in distress , picked up from Internet.
Was concurrence taken ?

Photo taken during my Hampi visit in 2011.

NOTE :On the LH side of the road leading to Hampi, we stopped to click details of a parked chariot. This group kept on pestering me for taking their photos & rewards like pens or chocolates.. I clicked this photo without any 'rewards' and they went away happy  after seeing their faces on Camera's screen.

I shall end by requesting friends from Western World visiting  India - and other 3rd World countries - not to 'influence' people, at least the young boys and girls for posing for photographs which are posted boastfully in their Social Circle pages.

1 comment:


I keep the following link as a point of view of a foreigner on this subject :