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People exposing themselves in public

CE Nelson , Oct 06, 2004; 02:25 a.m.

I have searched and find nothing definitive.

Briefly - last weekend there was a motorcycle rally in town. I spent two days shooting whatever came before me, including two different instances of women exposing their breasts.

What are the ethical/legal issues here. Both shots taken on a public sidewalk. Not posting them, yet. Once woman clearly showing nipple, the other had hers out fully exposed, but I shot from below her (she was hanging over the fence of an elevated beer garden of sorts) and so while I did capture flesh, there is no clear indication of areola or nipple.

Not trying to start an argument here. I have no designs on profiting from these images, but I am concerned about adding them to my collections. For the record, both women invited the camera to capture them.

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Chris Leck , Oct 06, 2004; 02:40 a.m.

If god had wanted us to walk around naked, we would have been born that way. Beyond that, I'd invoke "fair use".

Some people may be pre-disposed to be offended and others pre-disposed towards civil remedies. At some point, we may hesitate to shoot the living room carpet for fear of copyright violations or national security issues.

CE Nelson , Oct 06, 2004; 02:57 a.m.

Thanks for your input.

Mike Dixon , Oct 06, 2004; 03:04 a.m.

Anyone can sue anyone for anything. But since these are images in public of people willingly presenting themselves to the public, you're standing on fairly strong legal ground if you show them. As always, though, consult a lawyer in your area speicializing in privacy issues.

"Fair use" is concerned with reproducing copyrighted materials for purposes of education, critique, or review--it's completely unrelated to people exposing themselve to the camera.

CE Nelson , Oct 06, 2004; 03:19 a.m.

Sheeesh, I can't afford an attorney.

I would like your personal opinion on the images - mind if I shoot you small copies via e-mail?

Mike Dixon , Oct 06, 2004; 03:33 a.m.

From a legal standpoint, my personal opinion doesn't matter. As described, you shouldn't have a problem. The producers of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos prevailed in court, and their stuff is more explicit than what you describe.

But if someone does decide to sue you, my opinion isn't going to carry any weight with the judge, and I won't share any financial responsibility if there's a judgement against you.

Chris Leck , Oct 06, 2004; 04:02 a.m.

Mike, maybe I need to look this up further. My understanding is that fair use covers images made in public. I'd appreciate references that clarify this if you have them.

CE Nelson , Oct 06, 2004; 04:12 a.m.

Ok, for the sake of argument, here are the two images. I've taken care to mask faces. Now, as a photographer, would you feel "ok" to keep these, use, display etc. Mind you, with the faces unobscured.

Leslie Cheung , Oct 06, 2004; 04:16 a.m.

CE,

People exposing themselves in public *may* be fun to look at but rarely make great street photography. Consider interesting gestures, facial espressions and good lighting. Mike Dixon is indeed one of the best street/environmental portrait photographer here and quite humble about it. A true rarity among SP forumers.

CE Nelson , Oct 06, 2004; 04:27 a.m.

"leslie cheung , oct 06, 2004; 04:16 a.m. CE, People exposing themselves in public *may* be fun to look at but rarely make great street photography. Consider interesting gestures, facial espressions and good lighting. Mike Dixon is indeed one of the best street/environmental portrait photographer here and quite humble about it. A true rarity among SP forumers."

Im not asking if the images are pleasing to any one of you. I shoot for my own eyes, that other's may enjoy what I see is second to my own tastes. I have no doubt that Mike is qualified - I see the "superhero" icon, and I am aware of his work. This is why I am asking for his opinion as to whether or not such images are taboo. As stated, no desire to start an argument. But please note that I am not interested in aesthetics here. The question is simple enough - people exposing themselves in public are to be afforded special consideration or to be treated like anything else we shoot in public? Is a purposely exposed breast a fire hydrant a cat a Buick a doorknob? Or is a breast so sacred that even if forced into our mouths we should spit it out?


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