Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bum Shot

It seems that just about every street photographer goes through a bum phase. After you've photographed a hundred shoppers zipping around with white plastic bags and smokers lined up against walls the bums start to look pretty interesting.
But is it right, is it conscionable? These people are down on their luck. But should you only photograph lucky people? Beautiful happy successful people? What about old people? Old people are easy to snap. They don't move fast. They can't chase you. They have "interesting" faces, and like bums they tend to be helpless and vunarable.

My point is that rather than ban an entire class of people, consider the individual and the particular given situation. And if it feels like exploitation then it is. It's a gut check, a "snap" decision -you may not always get it right - but then when do we?