If You Put That Picture on the Internet I’ll Call My Lawyer

If You Put That Picture On The Internet I'll Call My Lawyer
Photo by Jeremy Brooks.

My friend Jeremy Brooks blogged an altercation he had with some bozo (see photo above) on the street in San Francisco. He blogs about his experience here.

From Jeremy:

“This guy was on the corner of Stockton and Columbus in San Francisco yelling at a homeless man. Anger, conflict, drama — sounds like a great shot to me. I crossed the street but was unable to get anything interesting, since I only had my 50mm lens on the camera and I was just too far away.

However, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man decided that he now had a problem with me. He confronted me, demanding my camera. Of course, I refused. He got in my face and started threatening me, telling me that I cannot take his photo without his permission. I told him that yes, in fact, I can. He then walked up and bumped into me, trying to act tough. I told him that one more touch and I would call the police.

Of course, he didn’t like that very much, and at that point told me that if I put his picture on the internet, he would call his laywer. I assured him that his photo would be on the internet, and he then walked up and grabbed my camera lens. Well, that’s just not something that I will put up with, so I pulled the camera away from him and reached for my phone and started dialing. Once he saw that he turned away, still yelling threats, and continued on his way.

I felt bad for his daughter, who was with him, because she was obviously embarrassed by his antics and kept pleading with him to stop. I have a great shot showing her looking up as if saying “Oh boy, here he goes again”. But I’m not going to post that one, as she was not acting like an idiot and I don’t want to embarrass her. Mr. Angry Overreaction Man seems to do enough of that.

So, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man, your photo is now on the internet. Call your lawyer. Tell him somebody on a public sidewalk took your photo while you were on a public sidewalk. Then tell him you physically assaulted the photographer. See what he says.”

First off, Jeremy is absolutely within his rights to photograph anyone he wants to in public. There is no law that protects people from having their image taken or from you posting it on the internet. When someone goes out on a public street anyone can legally shoot them and publish their image within standard editorial context (i.e. news, fine art, etc.).

Now I’ve had my fair share of run ins with people who object to my taking their photograph in public. And my basic rule is this. If I shoot someone and they object and act civilly like a human being I’m more than happy to oblige their request not to publish their photograph. On the other hand if they are an asshole and are confrontational, chances are not only will I publish there photo on the internet, I very well may blog about my experience with them as well. And I might also use whatever social network I can (digg, reddit, flickr, etc.) to further share with the rest of the world what a prick they are.

It’s easy. Someone’s polite with me, I’ll probably be polite back with them. Someone threatens me or tries to touch my camera or person or is unpolite, then I figure they have it coming.

I’ve had lots of people email me and ask me to remove photos of them that I have on the internet. And I’ve removed dozens of photos I’ve published on the internet. Be respectful and you’ll get my respect. Be disrespectful and it won’t get you anywhere.

If you have the inclination digg Jeremy’s original blog post here. It would be nice to share with the rest of the world that being a jerk when someone takes your photo in public doesn’t pay.

On reddit here.

Be Sociable, Share!
Loading Facebook Comments ...

64 Comments

  1. Jose-Miguel says:

    Fully agree.
    I can’t express better:
    “It’s easy. Someone’s polite with me, I’ll probably be polite back with them. Someone threatens me or tries to touch my camera or person or is unpolite, then I figure they have it coming.”

  2. bugs says:

    Hwy!
    I respect you and I am also a fan of your photos. But (there is always a but), I know by reading your blog for some time you have a strong stance against people who do not want to have their photo taken…
    Please note I am using my words carefully, I understand you do not want to respect people who do not show you respect. I am the same.
    However, I believe this is not as simple as saying:
    – I take a photo of you
    – you don’t like it
    – you show me respect
    – I remove the photo.

    I love taking photos. I really do.
    But I can understand someone feeling his privacy being invaded, you don;t know one person story… for what you know he may not supposed to be in that town on that day, you taking a photo and puting on the internet may break his 20 years old marriage.
    My point is: You don’t know the history and context around the person you are taking a photo of. Sure someone might just be a right arseh*le but maybe not, maybe he just has a genuine reason not wanting to be in a photography (someone died, bad day, etc).

    So here I am… posting a commentary which is against what you seem to stand for (liberty). All I am saying you may not know the full story. Respect goes both ways. It is not because you are allowed to do something that you should do it.

    I respect you enough to understand where you are coming from, but maybe I just want to play the devils advocate tonight…

  3. bugs,

    I hear what you’re saying, but if somebody was trying to maintain a low profile, then they wouldn’t go around yelling at homeless people.

    And they wouldn’t go around threatening and assaulting photographers.

    When people maintain a low-profile, they become almost invisible and uninteresting to photograph.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What if this man is living in a witness protection program? A huge, international, multi-year investigation hinges upon him living to testify in federal court about numerous crimes committed by numerous people, including government officials and now …

    You’ve shown the world he’s alive and well in San Francisco.

    Next stop, a header off the Golden Gate. Another random “suicide,” and dozens of criminals go free.

    Maybe he had a really good reason to not want his picture taken.

    Of course, if my fictional scenario were true, you’d think he’d be more discrete in public.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am usually all for posting great photos of the people, places, and things we are and are not supposed to photograph.

    Photography is not a crime!

    However, this situation seems slightly different because the photographer only walked into the situation after the subject’s temperature was raised by some unknown altercation with a homeless person. We do not know what the homeless person said or did that caused this reaction. You may not know it, but not every homeless person in San Francisco is a saint. Some can be downright aggressive and rude sometimes. Even those we sometimes help with small change and a smile react with belligerence.

    If you were walking with your young daughter and felt someone crossed the line, you may have reacted the same way – and now you want me to calmly and politely ask you to stop taking our photo? Why not exercise some discretion and help to build the trust?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mr. Hawk, I have to kind of agree with Bugs. I understand the part about ‘be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you and I won’t post your photo’. This is pretty much ‘Hey ur being an ass, so too bad I’m gonna publicly shame u on the internet’. Tinge of revenge under the guise of ‘yeah it’s legal’.

    Instead of taking pics, how about intervening and trying to straighten things out with the dude and homeless man? No? Then at least avoid the confrontation. Put yourself in his shoes (or a celeb’s) and ask yourself — hey, I don’t like my picture taken.

  7. Anonymous says:

    4 to 2 Mr Hawk.

  8. Wow, I generally like to get a better picture before taking sides. I don’t think we should go about demonizing the guy before we find out why exactly he was harassing the homeless guy – perhaps he was acting in self-defense or whatever.

    Nonetheless, it’s always good to have a full view of the situation and not get taken in too easily by what our friend saw as a 3rd party. If this guy was harassing an innocent homeless guy – then he deserves it, but you never know this guy could have just had a really really bad day – which I suppose is about to get a lot worse.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So why can’t I access Jeremy’s blog? I get a 404 error – don’t tell me this actually got taken down somehow…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so the clown calls his lawyer and the lawyer tells him that he doesn’t have a case. Hopefully, the lawyer bills him for an hour to tell him that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just an anonymous comment, so take it for what is worth. I have to agree with what bugs posts above, plus I would like to
    add some more insight.

    Quite frankly, I am all for photographers being in the right places and shining light on events that would otherwise go unnoticed. We are living in interesting times and that task may eventually turn out to be more important now than ever.

    However, when you actively approach and interact with people minding their own business (by taking pictures of them, even in a public spot) you should not be surprised if they might act confrontational.

    Please note that, once again, it is you who is initiating an interaction, which may come as unwanted. Not everybody will react the same way; as bugs mentioned above, everybody has a story.

    You can bet if I saw you taking pics of my kids I would be confrontational, and the least of my worries would be disputing your right to post a pic on a blog. How would I be able to discern what your intentions are?

    You may be right on your assertment; you may be legally in the clear by taking pictures of people in public spots, but it wouldn’t hurt if you showed some empathy, and wondered whether you are morally right to use that right come hell or high water. You know what they say, freedom cannot be separated from responsibility.

    Best regards.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The notion that anyone deserves privacy in public spaces is ridicuous. Get over yourselves. Taking a photo of someone in a public space is legal, and nobody should feel guilty about doing so.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You might want to check the local laws. When taking a picture in a public venue, it is perfectly legal to photograph passers-by. But when you specifically target on individual on a public street, the law becomes a little more fuzzy.

    Before you get carried away, realize that according to law, this man may have every right to contact his lawyer.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just another anonymous post expressing that you never know the circumstances of the situation — it’s quite possible the homeless man made rude, vulgar comments towards his daughter in which case he was standing up for his daughter (though things obviously got out of hand after that).

    However, a point that a (perhaps low-down scumball) lawyer may make is that since you have advertisements on your blog and are actively posting links to this story to digg, et al, you are using the picture and story for commercial purposes and not for editorial or journalistic purposes. At this point he can argue that you did not have a proper release from his client for commercial use (regardless of actual need of one).

    May not make it to court, but could be a larger thorn in ones side than at first imagined.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A bit of an ego thing going on here, isn’t it?

    “If you are hostile about me taking your picture, then I’ll post it on the internet and tell everyone in the world how big of a prick you are.”

    In my opinion, taking a stance like that turns you from photographer to paparazzi.

    People complain about unnecessary surveillance in public areas, and I really don’t see how this is any different.

    You don’t know the context of the situation, yet you’re bragging about your ability to (essentially) make them look like shit by spreading it all over the web.

    I can’t agree with this.

  16. However, a point that a (perhaps low-down scumball) lawyer may make is that since you have advertisements on your blog and are actively posting links to this story to digg, et al, you are using the picture and story for commercial purposes and not for editorial or journalistic purposes.

    Have you noticed that newspapers and magazines also run ads?

    The photo itself is not being used to sell an ad.

    The photo is being used for editorial purposes; to describe an incident that happened to the photographer.

    Perhaps we don’t know the context of what happened between the guy in the photo and the homeless guy, but what most people are missing is that the guy in the photo assaulted the photographer.

    When you grab a photographer’s lens, that is assault. That is a crime.

    When you take someone’s photo in public, it may be disrespectful, it may be annoying and it may even be an ego-trip.

    But it’s not illegal.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great, thanks for being a smug jerk and making photography harder for the rest of us.

    Walk down the street and try to take a pic of each person you see with the same kind of framing and focus that you have on that guy and see how they respond. It’s not just rage addicts who don’t like their picture being taken…

  18. alek says:

    Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask permission (or worry about a lawyer) when I recently saw a Dog and Coyote battle it out … and my guess is the farmer would be quite proud of his dog and glad that the pictures are on the Internet! 😉

  19. Anonymous says:

    You know nothing abou this man’s life, or what kind of day he was having nor explain what the homeless person was doing (in my neigborhood they aren’t so romantic or as PC as you imply), yet you post his picture for the world to see with the label: JERK. Who made you god arsehole?

  20. Anonymous says:

    glad you posted this picture. and i hate to be “that guy” but its impolite, not unpolite :p

  21. Anonymous says:

    Poor Mr. Angry Overreaction man. Probably he should move to Germany, where he could really sue you and win 🙂

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dude, somebody tells you not to take their photograph, don’t. It’s just the polite thing to do.

  23. fswerk says:

    I think it is quite rude to photograph people who don´t like their picture to be taken.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Things like this make me long for the days when every fucking tool with 200 bucks couldn’t go buy a camera and snap digital shops everywhere and of everyone while blathering on about how it’s their right to do so.
    Just to help you out, (asshat that runs this site) laws are fluid, and are not necessarily “right”. They are not ahistorical, nor are they the properly or fairly enforced. I’d stop with the hiding behind the law shit; it might change one day, and you’d better grow up and realize that it doesn’t apply in the same aspect to all people.
    Today (especially today, with the internet and clowns like you with digital cameras) some photos, some photoshop, and some time can ruin anyone’s life. This is a power that you, nor anyone else deserves to have. I’d say he was well within his rights (notice, not a law, but base human right/wrong, subjective, fluid, etc) to take your lens, shove it up your ass, and let you take shots of real shit, rather than fake shit.

    As a side note, if I were in an altercation, and some fucktard came along and took the time to film it, rather than help me or work to solve the problem, when I dealt with whatever the issue was, I’d then deal with the person who thought snapping pictures was the appropriate way to act. You can whine about law right now if you like, but it’s not like the certification of a law being broken is going to magically restore your sight and the use of your arms.
    Take your camera, put it in a little box at the back of your closet, and find another way to do things, because you’re getting a giant fail here.

    Joe

  25. The problem I have with this is that while you ask for “respect” from people who should “respectfully” come to you and ask “respectfully” that you don’t take their photo…. why don’t *you* show some respect and ask people if they don’t mind having their photo taken. It goes both ways.

    Whether someone chooses to get angry is neither her nor there. They feel that their privacy was invaded and if their natural reaction is anger then that’s just tough on the photographer.

    I would have reacted in the same way as the gentleman whose photo is being shown here. We don’t know the full story. We only have a microcosm in that photo. We have the biased opinion of a photographer who believes that because he has a right to take a photo that he doesn’t have to observe ordinary courtesy to others.

  26. Tom says:

    This is the greyest of grey areas.

    No, we don’t know the context, no, the photographer probably shouldn’t be posting photos purely based on whether or not someone showed him “respect” when objecting.

    But equally, expressing your objection Anonymously online via profanity and a lofty sense of self-righteousness isn’t particularly polite either.

    The whole point of being in a public space is to share it with other people, at least two people failed at that. What gives any of you the right to make it worse? Note this is an opinion, not an order.

    I’m off to pick up my bargepole but not until I’ve washed my hands.

  27. Anonymous says:

    You are a prick, why couldn’t you be cool and stopped taking pictures of angry people? You are the douche bag.

  28. Anonymous says:

    If you walk into a “hot” situation & exacerbate existing emotional turmoil in an individual that may be unstable, you might very well find yourself on the receiving end of a bit of GBH. You would also richly deserve same.

    You may be “mummy’s precious little snowflake” at home, but in the real world, you are just another member of the masses. One should bear in mind that there is no great benefit accrued from being “dead right”.

    If this feculent photo-fetishist had tried this with one of the members of the 5% NOI group here in SF, he would have likely barely lived to regret his stupidity. There are many groups that, for diverse reasons, find it culturally, or religiously unacceptable to be photographed. There are many more whom, if they notice a stranger “dissing” them by such an action will simply give you the full benefit of their maladaptive personality disorder.

    In the end you have to ask yourself, is being a self-righteous little prick worth your life? In many urban areas the behaviour exhibited by the photographer will certainly get one beaten, if not killed. If you think that sensationalism, review any of the city, municipality,state, or federal crime databases. Urban violence is notable not just for its ubiquity, the level of violence and the absolutely inexplicable justifications for said attacks “he looked hard at me”, “he didn’t speak”, all present a compelling case for not being an intrusive idiot.

    Man struts, Darwin winnows.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Bizarre that you say you can take and publish a photo on the Internet. Because here in France the law is dramatically different. Indeed, anybody can sue you for that even if they are in public place.

  30. Jeremy, well within his right!

    TH, good job for increasing his exposure.

    (BTW, it seams that Jeremy’s blog has crashed. Digg effect.)

    Oh, I hope some nutjob “bumps” into me some day. Anyone want to watch what happens to that guy?

  31. Anonymous says:

    “why don’t *you* show some respect and ask people if they don’t mind having their photo taken. It goes both ways. “

    In most cases, by the time you ask to take a photo, the photo is no longer there. The decisive moment is lost forever at that point.

    If someone asks me to not use the photo of them, I have no problem with that. If they grab my lens and push me around you better believe I am posting that shit on the internet. They might even get cracked in the face with a 1ds MK3.

    If you don’t want people to see something, you probably shouldn’t do it in public.

  32. Anonymous says:

    So you went in close to someone who already has there anger built up, take a picture of him blowing a gasket, and you being a stranger to this guy expect him to take it kindly and treat you with respect? How studied are you in human interaction? You know there’s an old saying about sticking your hand in the hornet’s nest, and it speaks to situations such as this. I can’t see this as anything more than you trying to make two wrongs equal a right.

  33. For the record, I think Jeremy was right.

    And FYI, don’t bump into Trevor. He’s packing.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Heres the simple rundown.

    If your in public space, and don’t want to be photographed doing something stupid, don’t do stupid things in public.

    Saying you don’t want to be photographed in public is like saying you don’t want to be seen in public.

    But I would have done more than just put his pic online. I would have continued my call to the police and followed him and had him arrested for assault. I don’t take that stuff lightly…

  35. Anonymous says:

    This is a fairly tough one. Yes the photographer was well in his right. And yes he could be considered an ass for taking pictures of people who don’t want to be taken. Yes we dont’ know the situation before hand or perhaps he could have helped stop the confrontation between the man and the homeless individual.

    Then look at other pictures and video shot an unfortunate times elsewhere around the world. Pictures of people starving, in pain, at war, etc (etc etc). You could argue these same points.

    In general I think we want documenters of dramatic events throughout life. It could be that one of the snaps taken provides critical evidence in a criminal case between the homeless man and the angry man. Never know.

  36. Charles says:

    Actually, legally, this is something that should be clarified. Some posters have talked about or hinted to the “likeness protection” laws of France and Germany. I know best the law in Québec and, indeed, photographing someone in public is a grey area.

    As a broad rule, if someone is in a public space at or during a public event where there is no expectation of privacy, then you’re allowed to take their picture. The expectation of privacy is an important (and fuzzy) part of the test/law. So if you go to a mall with a telephoto and start taking pictures of people and what they’re buying, it would most probably be construed as a invasion of privacy (even if we imagine this is taking place in a public place mall). Now if you go to a promotional Humane Society event where they sell puppies that have been rescued, you probably have no expectation of privacy, although it might be a grey one.

    I don’t know US legislation enough to say that there’s no such equivalent, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Note that this has nothing to do with a code of conduct or circumstances of a situation. So it would be interesting to have this important discussion, as photographers, on important laws (and/or judicial precedent in common law systems) to clarify this issue in different venues. Even though the law is pretty clear in Québec, not many photographers I know are aware of it.

    So, Thomas Hawk, can you point us to some online resources that explain that area of US law?

    [Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so this is my understanding of the law and not legal advice.]

  37. Matt says:

    I think it’s obvious that this photo probably would have been taken at a distance if Jeremy had his 85mm or 105mm prime with him – and the incident would have been confined to the interaction between the “angry man” and the homeless person.

    In that context, there is nothing even close to questionable. But Jeremy walked up closer to get some good shots with a 50mm, and risked altercation. The “angry man” had no right to verbally assault him for it, but it was the risk assumed by coming closer in the hope of a good shot.

    That being said, no one is responsible for another person’s temper. Period. It is a risk you take as a photographer, if you chose to enter a situation and become part of the perceived “problem” that someone is going through. The basic math is simple; if you aren’t part of the solution, you are easily assumed to be part of the problem. Good luck at that point!

  38. Anonymous says:

    His name is “Patrick Huard”.
    He’s an actor/director from Quebec, Canada.

  39. Thomas Hawk says:

    Bizarre that you say you can take and publish a photo on the Internet. Because here in France the law is dramatically different. Indeed, anybody can sue you for that even if they are in public place.

    Whew! Good thing I don’t live in France.

  40. Charles,

    U.S. law is pretty clear cut on photography in public. Basically, if you can be seen in public, you can be photographed.

    Here are the full details.

    http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

  41. Anonymous says:

    The guy may be a major A-hole, but he does have the right to sue if you posted the image without his consent. Yes, you have the legal right to photograph him; however, you cannot use his image without his consent.

  42. So many clueless anonymous people on this thread. So many big-talking anonymous people who claim they will resort to violence if they are photographed against their will.

    Why do so many people fear cameras?

    If you were photographed in public by a complete stranger, why not ask in a nice way about the photographer’s motive?

    Why must people so hostile?

    As a photographer who many times has been on the receiving end of hostile threats by people who claim I have no right to photograph them, I also get defensive.

    I can’t stand it when people try to tell me that I am breaking the law when I am well aware of what I can and can’t do with a camera.

    I had a recent situation with a female business owner who also grabbed my lens and threatened to call the cops because I photographed her store from a parking lot.

    And this after I had given her my business card and explained that I was working on a news article.

    But she still maintained an accusatory tone, demanding to see my driver’s license.

    I refused to give her my license and I ended up posting her photo on my blog, something I would not have done had she been a little more courteous.

    http://carlosmiller.com/2008/03/23/store-owner-overreacts-to-my-photography/

  43. I understand the idea that the photographer shouldn’t be surprised when an out-of-control-asshole in fact continues to be an out-of-control-asshole. But it doesn’t make said asshole right.

    I’ve had enough of these, read about enough of these, they hardly comes as a surprise anymore. You shoot street, shit happens.

    What never ceases to amaze me, however, is the number of people lining up against the right to take photos in public. I guess we need to enjoy it while we can, if it ever comes to a vote I have no illusions about the outcome. Thank goodness our Constitution provides at least some bulwark for principle vs. the raging mobs of democracy.

    I’m also amazed how many people flinging invective don’t bother to get the most basic facts right. Is it too tough to understand what you’re talking about before you spout?

    It’s not like I’ve heard of Glidden, Meyerowitz, Winogrand, Freidlander, etc. deleting shots for anybody–on film it’s not even an option. Why have we suddenly developed such a compulsion to follow random stranger’s orders?

  44. Anonymous says:

    You and Jeremy are so fucking clueless. If you want to hide behind some loose interpretation of “newsworthy photography” thats fine, you will get fucked up by someones loose interpretation of “whatever I have to say to beat the shit out of this guy”.

    When it’s you and him on the street, he can dominate you and deal with the consequences later you pathetic faggots. It’s just so ridiculous that you think you’re in ANY WAY protected if a guy comes at you aggressively.

    I hope you get murdered.

  45. Thomas Hawk says:

    What if this man is living in a witness protection program? A huge, international, multi-year investigation hinges upon him living to testify in federal court about numerous crimes committed by numerous people, including government officials and now …

    Anonymous. Then he probably shouldn’t be out picking fights with photographers.

    You can bet if I saw you taking pics of my kids I would be confrontational, and the least of my worries would be disputing your right to post a pic on a blog. How would I be able to discern what your intentions are?

    anonymous. I don’t take photos of people’s kids very often. And I don’t publish them all that often either. Sometimes if they are in a very public place (like a photo I took of a little girl riding on her dad’s shoulders at an immigration day protest march) I might snap and publish a photo.

    Still, if I did take a photo of someone’s child or someone with their child. I’d likely check with them before publishing.

    But in any case. The reaction by Mr. Aggressive is what caused the problem here. Regardless of how he may have felt he should not threaten or assault people.

    You might want to check the local laws. When taking a picture in a public venue, it is perfectly legal to photograph passers-by. But when you specifically target on individual on a public street, the law becomes a little more fuzzy.

    In San Francisco you can shoot anyone you’d like on a public street. Nothing fuzzy at all about this.

    Whether someone chooses to get angry is neither her nor there. They feel that their privacy was invaded and if their natural reaction is anger then that’s just tough on the photographer.

    Actually it’s not tough on the photograher at all. It’s tough on the guy who threatened and assaulted the photographer. It’s his picture that he didn’t want online all over the internet now.

    “why don’t *you* show some respect and ask people if they don’t mind having their photo taken. It goes both ways. “

    Anonymous. I take 200-300 photographs a day. I’ve shot literally thousands of people out on the street. I’m trying to publish 1 million photographs before I die.

    Jeremy is as prolific as I am. He too shots every single day.

    It is not feasible to try to interact with everyone whose photograph I shoot. There simply is not enough time to do this. Nor do I feel that this is important. Nobody owns the light waves around us. Nobody has a God given right to their image. Contrary to superstition cameras do not steal your soul. If someone doesn’t like their picture taken then they can be more careful about how they go about their business in public. They can even wear a disguise.

    Cameras are a fact of life. Photography is a fact of life.

    Do I ask people if I can take their photos? Lots. But I’m certainly not going to do it in every situation. Many times it is the spontaneity of an unposed moment more than anything that you are trying to capture.

    So, Thomas Hawk, can you point us to some online resources that explain that area of US law?

    http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

    The guy may be a major A-hole, but he does have the right to sue if you posted the image without his consent. Yes, you have the legal right to photograph him; however, you cannot use his image without his consent.

    Sure, anyone can sue anyone. But he would lose. He has no right to not have his image posted on the internet without his consent. Free speech trumps that right.


    It’s not like I’ve heard of Glidden, Meyerowitz, Winogrand, Freidlander, etc. deleting shots for anybody–on film it’s not even an option. Why have we suddenly developed such a compulsion to follow random stranger’s orders?

    Roger, well said.

  46. risamay says:

    It may be legal, and I get that the guy was beyond disrespectful, but I don’t think I would have posted his photo. I might have done it out of anger though. Which might make it legal, but doesn’t make it right. Personally, I have a hard time photographing people on the street without their consent. I just feel so … disrespectful doing it. Legal or not, it feels like I’m violating their privacy. And for what? A pretty picture? It’s ironic though, because I love these pictures when other people take them. Who doesn’t love Cartier-Bresson’s spontaneous street classics, par example? Je ne sais pas. It’s a fine line. I guess the main reason I don’t snap spontaneous street shots is because I wouldn’t want someone shooting me as their unsuspecting subject. And so I give others the same respect, automatically, that I’d like them to give me.

  47. Anonymous says:

    The grasping pathetic supporters of hawks stance all share the whiny “I can do it” foot stomp mentality.

    Let’s see if I can help out.

    Trevor, who apparently “packs”. So do a lot of people. You’ve got 4 kids. “Oh, my dad was taking pictures of some guy who was upset, so of course the guy was upset with my dad. My dad tried to play tough/I know the law guy. Now we live in a van, down by the river”. Smarten up.

    The famous name dropping guy. You, and nonr of you posting here, are famous name photogs. In fact, clowns like you have reduced the value of real photos, or artistic work, to nothing. Well done.

    At carlos the law knowing guy.
    I like how you decide, hmm, that person was rude to me, so now I’m going to post it online. Do you lack the insight to realize that you are being a bully as well? Just in an online way. Give some thought to if she was having a bad day? death in a family? etc? Nope, you couldn’t think of others, just you and your law, no matter how you trample on other’s rights. The age of consent is 14 in some places, ages of majority 18-21. How would you feel about some guy dating your 18 year old daughter; if the guy is say, 37?
    It’s legal!

    And finally, the ringmaster, the hawkman himself. So hypocritical my computer might melt; I took a moment to go thru this crap site to notice….hey, no pics of tom hawk? What, tom hawk is not your real name? Oh, you’d like to keep your real name and pic seperate since you work in something non-camera related?
    So, let’s see if we get this straight; you’re willing to put pics on the net of people who ask you not to; but not to put up your own pics or info. Because you worry about the reprecussions.

    To me, that sounds like the kid in grade school that pushes and bullies everyone for their lunch money, but screams “it’s not fair” when bigger kids do it to him.

    There were so many things wrong with your post it seems impossible to correct.

    I’ll gloss it, since it’s not going to sink in anyhow. You claim no one owns the light waves around us; perhaps, but people do own their image. You can spit crap about how a person has no rights about their image being posted online, but I disagree. And because the law, today, at this exact moment, in your specific local, may be slightly in your favour, does not make it right. Please take a hammer and force that last point into your head.
    A lot of your comments are such as “I don’t OFTEN take pics of kids” “I usually don’t post if people ask nicely” etc. The key words, usually, often, etc. As if you have some right to make judgements. You don’t.

    Basically, you’d better learn some respect. People on here saying “wtf, everyone is talking violence” are a bit clueless. We aren’t threatening; this is the fucking internet. We are trying to make a point; your camera does not somehow make you invincible.

    As I said before, until you grow some respect for your fellow human beings, OR, if so addicted to the possiblility of your photos righting wrongs, in which case I suggest a trip to Iraq, I hope you will put your camera away, up in your closet. You are still failing.

    Joe

  48. Joe,

    Call me a bully if you want, I’m just sick of being treated like a criminal because I carry a camera.

    In the case of the woman, I was just taking a photo of the outside of her business.

    Then she got in my face and refused to be reasonable. She kept treating me as if I were some type of prowler.

    I was doing my fucking job, Joe.

    What would you do if someone harassed you while you’re doing your job?

    If she was having a bad day, then she shouldn’t have taken it out on me.

    I posted her photo on the Internet in the hopes that I would teach people like you that you have no reasonable expectation when you are in public.

    I don’t know where people get this notion that it is illegal to photograph them in public because everywhere you go, security cameras are filming you anyway.

    Walk into a bank, you’re on camera.

    Run a red light, you’re on camera.

    Walk into a convenience store or gas station, you’re on camera.

    Walk through downtown in most major cities, you’re on camera.

    Walk into any office building, you’re on camera.

    Step into an office elevator, you’re on camera.

    Get pulled over by a cop, you’re on camera.

    Walk into any hospital, you’re on camera.

    Park in many parking lots, you’re on camera.

    Ride a city bus, you’re on camera.

    Walk into any department store, you’re on camera.

    So it’s pretty ridiculous to get all bent out of shape when somebody happens to be photographing you in the street – especially when you are acting like an asshole.

    And I don’t know how you come across comparing photography with age of consent.

    Photography is protected under the First Amendment. That is the backbone of the United States.

    It doesn’t appear you are American by the way you spell favor, so you obviously do not understand the significance of this Amendment.

  49. JeffH says:

    Anonymous Joe,

    Thomas posts many photos of himself on Flickr & Zooomr, and there are many more of him taken by other photographers posted on those sites as well as elsewhere on the web. Try searching either photo site for “Thomas Hawk” or try Google, you will find hundreds of photos of him. He is also not trying to hid that he blogs under a pen name. In fact if you scroll to the top of this page and read his Bio, it says that in plain English and explains why.
    By the way, you do not own the rights to your image.

  50. Charles says:

    To Carlos and Thomas:
    Thanks for the link. I had seen this site before, but forgotten about it. I may well make a few copies and have them in my bag just in case. I don’t shoot street very often (and New Mexico doesn’t have that many streets to start with) but it could be useful in the US.

    Sorry for bashing my point further even, but it would be good for those who basically say “As a photographer, you have the right to take a picture in public. Period.” to remind themselves that that right, while certain in the USA, is not assured in other countries. I’m also not talking about far away lands you might never go to. Canada is pretty close to the US. Just so people keep in mind that laws, when it comes to civil matters, can change quite drastically from one country to the next.

  51. An anonymous poster, giving you shit about using a pen name…too funny.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I find it disheartening that you clowns (I’m looking hard at you, carlos) were unable to consider any aspects of the points I explained.

    But that’s my fault. I need to find a way to speak s l o w e r
    f o r y o u so things don’t get mixed up.

    I’ve got 5 minutes before the time runs out, so I’ll give it one more go.

    Let’s take the easy one first; good ole nightmare on elm street who posted last. Of course I am anon; I don’t have any of the things (google blogger, etc) listed to choose from. I put my name on the end of my posts. Also, like to point out that I am not the person putting other people’s photos online when they have specifically asked me not to. If I were to do something so asshatish as that, I’d list my photo and name on the the blog; as to not be a hypocritical piece of shit. I am not that person however, I am the one saying “wrong, don’t do this”. Too funny you are too retarded to make that connection.

    Jeff- thanks for the tip. I did read the blog post; it talks about wanting to keep things seperate. I think if he’s willing to do such things to that fellow, he should be out in the open himself, on this blog. But, since you let me know about this, I’ll take a peek. Maybe look for pics of his family and friends; kids, etc. Wonder where I cross the line? Is it when I make a site featuring him and his family? Or pictures of him out and about in his neighborhood? You claim you don’t own your image. I claim you do.

    I can see you now, running towards me, waving a piece of paper. “right here!” you yell. “It says so!”. The point I was trying to make was that just because some paper says so does not make it right. Use your fucking head.

    And finally, my dear friend carlos.

    You know, I actually went over to your site; I had figured you were a young man, filled with piss and stupidity, and I’d just have to wait til you grew up a little to reason with you; lo and behold, here is some 50ish guy staring out at me.

    Oh, what’s this I see? The police have arrested you; for taking a picture? Wow, someone’s getting a firsthand lesson in the points I’ve been trying to make.
    Oh, and before we go too much further; this country is filled with people who come from somewhere else; some of us throw the occasional “u” into things; doesn’t mean we are not american. Also, judging by you (and others) misunderstanding of the constitution (I’ll give you a massive fucking hint; before you bring up amendment rights again, take 5 minutes and google the patriot act, and what it has done to us; also wrap your head around us having the largest percentage of people in jail on the planet, while you’re there)you’re not much of an american yourself.

    To be more clear; yes, of course I’ve been hassled while working. Oddly enough, I managed to resolve it. Everytime. Of course, being a functional adult, I understand people have bad days; I’m not 5, and don’t freak out when people yell at me. I certainly don’t pretend to be some sort of jury/judge, and “put people’s photos online to teach them a lesson”. The only lesson learned here is that you are a fucking asshat. You are not a teacher or a judge; I urge you to not to act in that manner, or someone might “teach” you a lesson.

    I used the age of consent analogy to try to make the point about something being legal not always being right. I thought that was clear; but I’ll elaborate:
    Allison Stokke

    Look her up; her story, and her dad’s war. Yes, her dad is a clown as well, but it shows what I am talking about.

    Oh, and “I am on camera everywhere”. Yep, aware of that. And see, this is the difference. A camera system set in place, with rules, regulations, etc. designed to help protect me (us) ok, I’ll deal with that. It at least holds water. Those pics aren’t released and bandied about. You, on the other hand, are a fuckwit with a camera, who clearly thinks he has the rights to judge and teach others lessons based on what he thinks. That is not ok. See the difference? Probably not, but I tried.

    If you can’t do your “job” without things coming to this, get a new job. The irony, (you being in trouble with the law for taking a picture, and your story being so different from the police, and you, based on NOTHING but the hearsay of some other clown with a camera {honestly, who the fuck really knows the background to the shot? The photographer might have been lying; much like the police might be in your case}going ahead and heaping shit on this unknown guy) is so mega awesome that surely some parts of your skull must be imploding.

    We all share this planet; you’d better learn to share it better; not run around clutching scraps of paper, but working things out with your fellow humans. I’ve got a camera, and I’ve two friends who have high lvl photo skills and publish prints, and none of us have ever run into any problems.
    Learn, think, grow. And don’t be such an asshat.

    Joe

    Oh, and I realize I come off as insulting and threatening. I’d not hurt any of you; but I do think it’s important, especially those of you with families, to really understand what’s going on, and to lose this “I have camera, I am god, nothing can hurt me” schtick.

  53. yodahome says:

    Sounds like you’re pretty lucky with your legislation. I’m from Germany and our constitution guarantees people the ‘right on their own picture’ which means you have to ask anybody you like to photograph if you want to publish the picture unless the person is not the main subject on the photo (landscape shots with people in it) or there is a group of people or the person is of public interest (famous people, politicians aso). Same goes for buildings afaik, you better ask the owner.
    I really do believe that this is a pretty wise law, done so many years before the internet made it so easy to publish, assuring you can control where your face shows up. But it’s probably bad for photographers no doubt about it.

  54. Anonymous says:

    A LOT Of assumptions have been made about the angry guy.

    Maybe the homeless man said something derogatory to the little girl as they walked by?

    What would those of you who have daughters have done or said if the homeless guy said something innapropriate to your little girl?

    The photographer was across the street and therefore not in any position to hear what was said. He also made no mention of seeing the incident begin, just that he saw someone yelling at a homeless man, so he started taking pictures.

    This IMO this where libel can take place. The photographer made assumptions without knowing all the facts and posted as such. Calling him Mr. Angry Over Reaction Man. His blog has a lot of comments too, some with very derogatory comments and name calling.

    Is it over reacting to yell if a dirty, homeless man says or does something that endangers, either physically or emotionally, a young child?

  55. Joe,

    The fact that you put your name at the end of the post still makes you as anonymous as any Joe Blow.

    First of all, I am 39, not in my 50s. I am, however, old enough to know that people who go around claiming a higher moral ground usually turn out to be closet hypocrites themselves.

    Take you for example, who spouts that just because something is legal doesn’t necessarily make it “right”.

    So who the fuck are you, the judge, jury and the teacher? The same things you accuse me of trying to be?

    Just because you, Joe fucking Blowhard, says it is not “right”, then it must not be right – despite what the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled?

    And I know all about the Patriot Act. I know all about our dwindling rights.

    And I also know that if you don’t fight for those rights, you will lose them, which is why I got arrested.

    You may think the cops taught me a lesson, but I guarantee you that they will be the ones who ultimately learn the lesson because I am going to beat them in court.

    And you don’t have to give me a civics lesson on immigration; I am the son of an immigrant.

    But please tell me how I am “misinterpreting” the Constitution?

    As I said, the U.S. Supreme court has long ago ruled that documentary photography is protected under the First Amendment.

    You see, Joe, I’m not the judge or jury. I am just a citizen who understands my rights as set by the courts, not my rights as how I perceive them to be despite what the law states.

    And I don’t go around “clutching pieces of paper” to prove my rights. I use the power of the Internet to inform people of my rights and their rights.

    I use my First Amendment rights to try and educate the masses about our legal rights, just as you use your First Amendment rights to try and convince people that the law has no bearing.

    That’s the difference between you and I.

  56. Joe,

    The fact that you put your name at the end of the post still makes you as anonymous as any Joe Blow.

    First of all, I am 39, not in my 50s. I am, however, old enough to know that people who go around claiming a higher moral ground usually turn out to be closet hypocrites themselves.

    Take you for example, who spouts that just because something is legal doesn’t necessarily make it “right”.

    So who the fuck are you, the judge, jury and the teacher? The same things you accuse me of trying to be?

    Just because you, Joe fucking Blowhard, says it is not “right”, then it must not be right – despite what the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled?

    And I know all about the Patriot Act. I know all about our dwindling rights.

    And I also know that if you don’t fight for those rights, you will lose them, which is why I got arrested.

    You may think the cops taught me a lesson, but I guarantee you that they will be the ones who ultimately learn the lesson because I am going to beat them in court.

    And you don’t have to give me a civics lesson on immigration; I am the son of an immigrant.

    But please tell me how I am “misinterpreting” the Constitution?

    As I said, the U.S. Supreme court has long ago ruled that documentary photography is protected under the First Amendment.

    You see, Joe, I’m not the judge or jury. I am just a citizen who understands my rights as set by the courts, not my rights as how I perceive them to be despite what the law states.

    And I don’t go around “clutching pieces of paper” to prove my rights. I use the power of the Internet to inform people of my rights and their rights.

    I use my First Amendment rights to try and educate the masses about our legal rights, just as you use your First Amendment rights to try and convince people that the law has no bearing.

    That’s the difference between you and I.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Wow, carlos. I can see you’ve clearly got some comprehension problems. Moral high ground comments, etc, and most of your post was pointless and garbled; in fact, I’m pretty sure at this point, you’re basically trolling, but what the hell, it’s my 50 cents, and I’ve finished watching videos.

    I guess I could point out that I was trying to show how retarded it is to hide behind a piece of paper. Or how you clearly don’t understand the patriot act if you think you can do as you are doing.

    And of course, you claiming “not to be judge and jury” while putting people’s photos online to “teach them a lesson” is a special form of ironic. Special as in I think you ride a shortbus wherever you go.

    The real difference between you and I, my little friend, is that you are a clueless asshat, arrested by the police for, basically, being an asshat. I, on the other hand, make attempts to live and work with people, instead of screaming about things and getting my ass handed to me.

    Now, now, don’t get your panties in a bunch. I’m pretty sure you will get off; hell, in some forms of things, you might even be “right”. Woohoo! But, oddly enough, I’ve been able to have a camera for years, and never had a problem with anyone. You might want to look into that; you are not doing, helping, teaching, or educating anyone; you are simply a sad sad clown at this point.

    You don’t understand the patriot act, or you wouldn’t be saying what you do. Ok, fine, you’re ignorant, no big deal. Most of us are, in some form or another.

    At the end of the day, if you want to be a big man, a hero, a rights defender, etc., you might want to put more thought into it, rather than blindly following (or in your case, misunderstanding) pieces of paper. Think about the world, not just here; think about people, not just pieces of paper.

    Best of luck carlos; and remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

    I hope things take a turn for the better for you; and if, somehow, you end up arrested or in confrontations with people again; stop, take a look in the mirror, and ask yourself if you are handling this the best way you can.

    I doubt any of this will sink in; and at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.

    Joe

    Oh, and glad to hear you are only 39; you’ve got time left to learn!

  58. Anonymous says:

    Gone to moderating, hawky? Well, I suppose I could point out crap about the irony between you wanting to take pics all over, and yet limit what people say here.

    Yes, yes, this is your “private space”. I’m sure that doesn’t make you less of a hypocrite.

    Best of luck, no point in playing on a slanted, and mostly retarded field.

    Joe

  59. Thomas Hawk says:

    Gone to moderating, hawky? Well, I suppose I could point out crap about the irony between you wanting to take pics all over, and yet limit what people say here.

    Joe, I don’t limit what people say at all. If you know anything about me it’s that I abhor censorship. The only comment I’ve ever censored was one where someone printed the physical address of a woman in a highly charged and physical debate and I thought it best to remove it to protect the safety of this woman and her kids.

    The fact of the matter is that I’m now getting several hundred spam comments a day and I got tired of deleting them one by one. I still have several thousands of them that I need to clean up.

    Until Blogger can come up with a better way to deal with spam moderating comments is my only choice. I do approve all non-spam comments.

  60. Anonymous says:

    You think you have this right to go take photos of anyone you please because the law doesn’t explicitly say you can’t, but the fact of the matter is, it is INCREDIBLY RUDE! Not so much if there’s a bunch of people wandering round, but when there’s just one or two people whom you take a unwanted picture of, that is rude. I’m talking like Jeremy Brooks picture. He went up there, knowing he would provoke an angry reaction, took the photo, AND THEN ACTED INDIGNANT that someone should be angry at him! Pathetic. Their angry reaction is completely justified. Your high horse arrogant self-centred “well if you’re rude to me I’ll be rude to you” is hypocritical because you have already been rude to them anyway, so basically, the only way the person can then not have their photo taken is if they let you win. Either way your pathetic ego is stroked. Hoorah for you.

  61. Anonymous says:

    I was walking into the National Council of La Raza convention here in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with some flyers in my hand calling for the expulsion of Blackwater in our community, when a reactionary, right-wing, nut case in the Minutemen came up to me and within 12″ of my face started videotaping me. I told him to take his camera out of my face and he persisted following me around as I tried to get away form him. When I tried to move his camera out of my face he yelled for the police and attempted to force a “citizen’s arrest. I won’t go into more detail of this horrific situation, but suffice it to say that this law apparently gives crazy people the “right” to abuse the rule by invading people’s “personal space.”
    Do you know if there is any rule that protects private citizens’ from having a camera shoved within inches of his or her face?
    I understand that for artistic expression it may be lovely to portray individuals in various street scapes, but what about when this law is used by people specifically for harassment? Have we no rights to some amount of “personal space?”?

  62. Anonymous says:

    the this is that it is illegal to take someone’s photo if they explicitly said that they don’t want that. so you should respect others and ask for permission next time, it doesn’t hurt to be polite, in fact you you will be getting unexpected reactions(good that is) and that respect that you are looking for mr. photographer.

  63. […] If you’re unlucky, you will get someone like this guy who is quite unhappy and is not hesitati… […]

  64. Anonymous says:

    You mentioned his daughter was with him? If I was a father, in public with my daughter, and saw someone taking pictures of me and my daughter (no matter her age), I would be rightfully protective and defensive, despite any legal arguments. And you sound just as defensive when called to be responsible for your own actions. You don’t strike me as any better than the guy you describe. I guess it never occurred to you to ask people for their permission before you take thier picture, much less before you use it for your own personal gain (in this case the attention that you so obviously crave). This is almost like entrapment, you have opportunistically placed someone else in a position where you can publicly bash them, when you don’t know anything about the situation that led to it, preaching that you are right ahd he is wrong. Weird that people like you can see things so clearly for everyone else around them (not). And for all of you who say someone has to be polite to you for you to be polite to them, you may not see it but you are perhaps the biggest problem with people in the world as a whole. Personal responsibility is just that, and not dependent on what anyone else does, so stop passing the buck.