Shanghai, China, May 2007 [Click to enlarge]
I've written previously about my thoughts on privacy and photography (please see here and here.) With relatively few exceptions, I've avoided shooting people's faces as a means of bypassing privacy issues. I suppose I could carry pre-printed release forms in my camera bag, but I've long thought that simply not going there was the optimal strategy.
As you can tell from some of my already-published Shanghai pictures, I seem to have set this personal policy aside for a bit and shot images of identifiable people - strangers - in the street. With the long lens, they were, in most cases, completely unaware of my presence. I could optically reach across the street and pick off pretty much anyone I wished.
It's something I still wouldn't do closer to home. But there was something about being in this place so far from home that I guess emboldened me a bit when I got the camera in my hand. It felt like an appropriate storytelling tool, that if I didn't capture at least a few photos of the people here, my story would be incomplete.
With that in mind, this man's face captures so much of my feelings about this place. The wrinkles on his face and the bags under his eyes mirror the brutal pace of life in this place. His face tells his story, even though I wouldn't understand his spoken language.
Almost as soon as I've taken the shot, I'm tucking the camera back under my arm, feeling slightly guilty for pushing the bounds, but still happy that I captured a thoughtful moment in this stranger's life.
Your turn: What's your take on the photographic privacy issue? Did I push it this time?