September 05, 2007

downtown San Francisco


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

When I see a homeless person, I always realize that, in-the-blink-of-an-eye, that could be me...
And this might just be the last photo of a homeless person I will ever take without their permission...   Just after I shot this, I heard a voice calling out -- "hey, that guy is taking your picture" -- I immediately knew I was in trouble so I started walking away, but the fellow who was calling out came around the corner and told me that it was illegal to take someone's picture without their permission...   It could have gotten ugly, but I gave a brief apology and continued my escape...   I was enveloped in a feeling of shame -- god, I really felt bad...   And I'm still ashamed of myself, and I think I'm going to forget about shooting the homeless, without their permission, in the future...


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4 comments:

photowannabe said...

I understand your feelings Don, but they are a part of life especially in San Francisco.
At least the person is annonomous. All that shows is the feet.
Please be careful, people have been hurt for a lot less than a photo.
Incidently the troublesome picture is a great composition with the emphsis on the bare feet. Well done.

Anne said...

i get that same feeling. we never can be sure of tomorrow..

Kate said...

It is a conumdrum, isn't it? I usually ask before I take photos, but then there are times when it isn't practical. As long as you shielded the person's identity, I see nothing wrong with what you did. Sensitivity is important but so is sensibility, too.

Tomate Farcie said...

I agree with Kate. You shielded the person's identity, and all we see is one foot, quite artistically framed. I don't know if I'm saying this right but I think it's a great shot because it doesn't take away from the man's (?) dignity.

There was a big controversy on Eric's blog (Paris Daily Photo) about a year ago because he photographed a homeless guy drinking from a champagne glass.

Some people found links saying that anything you shoot in public is legally fair game (in the States, at least) while others felt that it was just plain wrong. I don't know.

There are many, many homeless people in the streets of Downton SF and it is pratically impossible to shoot the streets without them; on the other hand, everybody is entitled to their privacy, too.

Personally, I thought that was a great shot, maybe because I do agree with you: it would take so little for anyone of us to be thrown out there on the sidewalk, too.

 
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