In Your Face: When Street Photography Gets Too Close
Photography

In Your Face: When Street Photography Gets Too Close

A few weeks ago, an online mob doxed a street photographer for taking candid images at a county fair. The incident raises questions about where we draw the line when it comes to invading someone’s privacy in a public space. As the photographer involved, Joshua Rosenthal, tellingly notes in his response via social media, “What one sees as being ‘wrong’ is not illegal” and he’s absolutely right. In a public space — where arguably there is no private space — a photographer is entitled to use a camera however he or she wishes. I’m very much an advocate of freedom to photograph in public spaces and I’ll earnestly defend any photographer’s legal right to capture images. However, just because something is legally acceptable doesn’t mean it’s ethically acceptable. I respect the right of a photographer to shove a camera in someone’s face, but I don’t respect the practice. Looking at Rosenthal’s website , there is a large number of candid shots of people on the streets captured at close quarters, often isolated using a flash. The style is very much reminiscent of photographer and provocateur Bruce Gilden who pioneered this intrusive style in the 1980s. Listening to Gilden talk […]

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