Street Photography: No Ethics

Yeah, the title of this blog spoiles it all...

In my humble opinion, nowadays we all get infected with a disease called “Political Correctness” in many ways and on a daily basis. Art should distinguish itself from that as far as possible... Let me explain myself a bit further through some examples, the story behind those shots and how I see the difference between a choice I make all the time and my supposedly lack of ethics.

Unfortunate, disabled or society's rejected people (click to enlarge)
They are easy 'targets' and generally I'm not that interested in photographing them. If I would censor myself through ethics, I wouldn't have made this picture. That would be too bad since it shows both the harsh and gentle side of society.

Unfortunate, disabled or society's rejected people (click to enlarge)
A homeless man in Rotterdam. Ignored and rejected by society. Not noticed anymore... Notice the expression on the face from the guy on the left while looking at him.

Muslim women (click to enlarge)
Muslim women don't want to be photographed for religious reasons. If you ask, some will allow it, but I never ask any person which includes religious people. I saw her standing on the oppositie of a crossing and thought she was a real stand out on the street between the other people. The combination of traditional and modern clothing accessorized by that designer purse was an eyecatching sight for me.

Muslim women (click to enlarge)
For me these two express strength, vulnerability and a deep inner connection towards each other all at once. Later that day I walked into them again and showed them the picture. We had a nice talk for about 20 minutes and they turned out to be exceptional friendly and open minded people. This is still one of my favorite shots.

Large people (click to enlarge)
I'm too heavy myself and obesity is a big problem in society. Here I delibirately took the shot without his head. This one is to give society a mirror of this problem.
 

Large people (click to enlarge)
Make some statement with humor... Always works out pretty well. The use of the fisheye exaggerates the size of this man.

Teenage girls and little children (click to enlarge)
How would you as a father or mother feel if an adult man was taking pictures of your teenage daughter on the street? Society has become paranoid on the subject of pedophilia and as a male photographer I tend to be careful. One can get in trouble very easy. Again, I don't censor myself on this as well. If I see a good shot, I'll take it. I'm just a bit more aware of the controversy.

Teenage girls and little children (click to enlarge)

On the streets it is very simple: What you see is what you get. All layers of society are there to be photographed. Why would I need to consider someones religion (sepparation between church and state is something we must cherish deeply), someones believes, someones physical state, the way women dress in the summer, the paranoia in society on men being pedophiles until the opposite has been proven, or someones body size? Why would I censor myself as a photographer just because of the so called opinions in society on all of the above mentioned subjects?

I just choose not to censor myself as long as it is my own believe my intention shows respect to the subject's state of being or doesn't compromise the subject in a disrespectful way.

So on the most common subjects of discussion within street photography, I do not have any ethics, but I mostly choose not too photograph those unless there's some kind of artistical justification to take the shot...

What I do despise however, is making disrespectful comments on photographs like "nice rack", "fat loser" and so on. This can give street photography as a whole a very badreputation. The street photography community is small and therefor very vulnerable. We all have a responsibility towards each other's love for this kind of photography I think.

I want to emphasize this is just my own opinion. To all my readers who can not agree on my vision for religious, political or any other reasons, I want to say that I respect your believes, but art in general is just about exposing to all cultures what is happening in our urban societies.

Feel free to contact me through the contact form, in the below comment section or Facebook.

Have a good one,

Willem