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Mike Johnston's recent column and HC-B

S. LIU , Mar 04, 2004; 10:35 a.m.

Mike Johnston's weekly column "The Sunday Morning Photographer" is usually some inspiring reading. However, in this week's column (link on the front page of photo.net), he gave some "tips" on creative photography. One of which suggests "Pay somebody to enliven a scene....".

I think that is a DANGEROUS advice to street photographers and would be an insult to HC-B and other honest street shooters. There is enough "reality TV" in our popular culture, why can't we leave photography alone?

I also double if he had Magnum's permission to use HC-B's famous photo in that article (with or without HC-B's credit).

What is your stand?


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S. LIU , Mar 04, 2004; 10:38 a.m.

"double" should be "doubt".

Here is the link: http://www.photo.net/mjohnston/column45/

Patrick (Washington, DC) , Mar 04, 2004; 11:00 a.m.

I'm not a street photographer, thus I don't need to adhere to any code of ethics. If a 'model' can improve a photo, I'm all for it. It's about telling a story with your photo after all...

Now, having said that, photo-journalists should not be allowed to alter reality in their photos...

Octavio Bustard , Mar 04, 2004; 11:02 a.m.

Robert Doisneau certainly didnt have a problem with it. Those two kissers in front of the Hotel De Ville were actually models he paid for the "candid" pose.

Heck, why not just pay somebody to take the picture for you if the only thing you want is a good picture?

S. LIU , Mar 04, 2004; 11:20 a.m.

I don't have problem with models and paid assignment shots. For example, one of my favorite Elliot Erwitt photographs (a boy sitting at the back of the bicyle) was a staged shot and originally in color chrome. But that is an advertise for Frech Tourist board, not a documentary photo. You can see it on Elliot Erwitt's Website under "Commissions"


Paul Stenquist , Mar 04, 2004; 11:36 a.m.

I don't understand how payment to a subject makes a photo any less valuable. And sometimes it saves the photographer the embarassment of a scolding and unwilling subject. I give this guy five bucks.

the paid help

S. LIU , Mar 04, 2004; 12:13 p.m.

Niced shot, Paul.

Obviously it is a posed shot. But it is not what I am talking about. I am talking about "staging" a shot that looks candid. It is not about the value of the photo but its integrity. Since Elliot Erwitt did that shot for a commerical, there is no "integrity" in it. It is beautiful (and my favorite) though.

What I am against is Mike's "tip" to "creative photography". Paying somebody to create a photography is a different creativity. Life is not Hollywood.

Can I get a better shot if I had paid them?

Roland Larson , Mar 04, 2004; 12:37 p.m.

Response To Mike Johnston's recent column and HC-B

There is a difference between street photograhy and journalism. Personally I can accept staged street photography, voluntary or paid, but cannot accept the same for journalism.

Roberto Watson-García , Mar 04, 2004; 12:40 p.m.

would be better if you had aproached some feet, although much better than having pay them to run closer, but is it a sin in paying models to do what we want or need, certanly not although legality is not morality, but let´s keep morality and legality on a side and foucus on our work as photographers. when out chassing pictures our minds blend with the surround atmospheres faces shadows and highligths and eventualy we start taking pictures, pictures of how we react to our environment or how it influence us and our pictures. if on the other side you hire someone or set some thing to get a picture after time of working this way things get repetitive for sure, an example are the pictures of Dosneau, there is not much diversity in the deepth of their content. On the other side there are good photographers that work fine hiring models and doing pictures designed by editors, but that´s another history, not journalistic not documentary, you name it.

Leslie Cheung , Mar 04, 2004; 12:41 p.m.

>>>I'm not a street photographer, thus I don't need to adhere to any code of ethics<<<

i completely disagree with this statement furthermore i think it is just the opposite. street photography is probably the only genre which rules/ethic (if there's any) is depended on each situation imo. i don't believe the idea of the final image is everything. the way inwhich the image was made/captured is rather important to me. having said that, no one REALLY know (except the photog) if a certain decisive moment was captured or **enliven** now do we?

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