“I consider humans to be noise.”

Zioluc1.jpg Heh. Me too, for the most part. Richard Akerman, talking about Flickr groups and other very, very special interest online groups (“narrowcasting”):

“There are of course huge Flickr groups devoted to topics of typical photographic interest, like Sunrises and Sunsets (12,453 members).  But there is also the “I didn’t think anyone else was interested in that” sort of groups.  For example, I like to take photos that are empty of people.  I consider humans to be noise that messes up the framing of my shots.  As luck would have it, I can submit my photos to the Flickr group The Last Person on Earth (1,036 members) (or see just my contributions). This isn’t even the only “no people in the photo” group, there’s also No people. Beyond that, in Lonely City, you can’t even have animals in the photos.”

Zioluc2.jpg I usually like to keep people out of my photos, for two good reasons: 1. they are really hard to photograph; seriously, people are some of the most difficult subjects there are; and 2. privacy concerns. I never publish photos with identifiable humans in them, unless I have explicit permission to do so (and since I almost never have the gumption to ask, that means I almost never post people shots). I know that one has a diminished expectation of privacy in a public space, but I am not making a living as a photographer or journalist. I can afford to go a bit further in my consideration of other people’s privacy than the law strictly requires.
I wanted to use Richard’s photos, but he reserves all rights and I’m lazy, so I hunted around the LPOE pool until I found Zioluc, who releases his shots under a Creative Commons licence (attribution/noncommercial/noderivs) that lets me use them. Grazie, signore! Top left: isoletta aspettami; bottom right: welcome.

5 thoughts on ““I consider humans to be noise.”

  1. “I never publish photos with identifiable humans in them, unless I have explicit permission to do so (and since I almost never have the gumption to ask, that means I almost never post people shots). I know that one has a diminished expectation of privacy in a public space, but I am not making a living as a photographer or journalist. I can afford to go a bit further in my consideration of other people’s privacy than the law strictly requires.”
    Sing it! I have almost this exact policy at my photoblog — which, as you point out, makes things tough. (I make an exception for politicians, public figures, and large crowd shots..) And I’m probably only about 90% compliant with my own policy… but I can’t stand when people who want to post photos willy-nilly start mocking others for being sensitive about privacy and say: “It’s legal” — as if legal is all that matters. As if there aren’t ethical considerations, too. Grump.

  2. Wait, you have a photoblog? Why did I not know this?
    *browses*
    I really like your “snapshot” category. I am trying to quit taking dorky “ooh look, a pattern!” shots, so I am all about the loose, rough, in-the-moment stuff right now.
    Regarding privacy: I try to treat people in my photos as I would like to be treated, and I don’t really like being photographed. So I sometimes take the shots, mostly if the person is unaware, but only for myself. (I have the same public figure/crowd exception, though.)

  3. Ralf, the categories are messed up — something I still haven’t fixed from the name change/upgrade. This is the working link for f/8 and be there.
    I see your new flute is part of the Cthulhu range…

  4. Thanks – I don’t publicize the photoblog much because I post so rarely. The short version of the reason for that is that my photo database is not organized and … through some perverse internal reasoning, that means I don’t take very many photos at the moment.
    Basically: the photo database isn’t organized because I’ve been waiting for a good software option. And I’ve decided that good software option is Aperture. But I don’t have a desktop Mac and I would never keep my photo library on a laptop. So now I need to buy a desktop Mac — and I’m a geek, so I want one of the Towers, not an iMac. And that’s expensive. And I can’t afford it right now. So I have to wait until I can afford it. And once I get it (and Aperture), I’ll have to catalog my entire database, and that will take forever. So why add more to that pile of work right now? So I’m not taking many pictures.
    Phew.
    I have Issues.
    Anyway… 😉

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