Tokyo’s trains carry all kinds of people, for all kinds of purposes, but many of those journeys are spent alone, along with lots of other solo passengers. And yet these two travelling companions, at least for a moment, looked the most lonely of all.
Photographs from a small group of islands
Well seen, Lee. The “blue mood” and the young woman’s “2 minutes to 12” bag perfectly add to this scene.
Thanks Norbert. It was the clock bag that initially got my attention actually, and then I noticed the expression. Or the lack of one…
Hans ter Horst says
The unfocussed facial expression of the daughter is classic; almost feels like the face of a robot.
I know, that’s just what I thought. A really unusual, empty look. Like you said, just like a robot.
Did you take the picture on your phone? Or did they sign a release form? Were they happy to have their picture taken?
Not this again…
No, I didn’t. And no, of course they didn’t. In fact, even if this was published in a newspaper or magazine, they wouldn’t have had to either.
Whether they’d be happy or not that I took their photo, I honestly don’t know. If it was an especially unflattering or embarrassing photograph, I wouldn’t have used it. But it’s not. At least not in my mind. It was a moment like we all have. And if people (admittedly way more talented than me) hadn’t taken photos like this since since technology allowed, the world would be a far less interesting place.
Disagree. I worked as a newspaper journalist and the photographers had to go to great lengths to attain the names and permission of people they photographed. They often had to chase people down after they snapped a shot to get their permission to print. Almost everyone did. It was rare when someone did not give their permission. The photogs could get around that rule occasionally when they took a shot of someone in the distance or took a large group of people, at a concert for instance. But by and large the great legal powers that be made them get name, age and residence if necessary, and most of all, permission. If not, the photo did not run, or the editor, writer or photographer had to scramble to get the name and permission.
The Internet has changed that somewhat. Because the Internet is governed by different laws – or lack of laws – it has made websites like yours possible without the hassle of all the legalities. You are very considerate and tasteful. And I don’t think anyone would have a problem with you publishing their picture. I say enjoy it while you can. It may change some day.
Have you ever tried asking? I bet most people would agree to it.
Thanks for the info, Linette. Interesting stuff. To be honest I’ve never been able to get a completely clear answer on what’s deemed usable or not, but I’ve had photographs published in newspapers and magazines. Also as part of stock photography too. And each and every time there has be no need for permission. The only caveat bing that if it was used for commercial usage, then such papers would be needed.
But like you say, the internet has changed things enormously. That said, there have been clampdowns in some countries, including my own, with people harassed by the police for taking photos in public. A worrying trend for sure.
I do occasionally ask people if it’s ok to take their photo, and almost always they agree. The trouble is then I don’t get a natural shot. But I’ve never actually asked for permission to use an image.
It’s a tricky area I agree. I used to take photos of people all around the world and publish them in my blog. But, when it came time to do a story about the kids I taught in a school, I felt very uncomfortable showing their faces and covered them all up. I guess it was some vague feeling about having legal responsibility for the kids.
I have to say though, as once having my image appear in another website without permission (something the author of this website incessantly teased me about), it really didn’t bother me too much. I guess that’s down to personal character, but I don’t think Lee is taking these pictures to embarrass or make fun of these people. In many ways, he’s just documenting life as he sees it in Japan.
El-Branden Brazil says
There is a massive difference between editorial and commercial photography. The requirement for Model Release forms is only relevant in cases where photographs of people are used for advertising, promotion and other such commercial activities. I must say that I am surprised by Linette’s comment, as I was under the impression that for editorial work, no such legal restrictions existed, and I do know many photographers who do not carry around model release forms. Having said that, I did read some time back, that war photographers were having to get release forms signed by wounded US troops in Iraq, as they were being evacuated on stretchers!
Certainly, it is becoming near-impossible to express oneself through so many arts, due to the increasing regulations that are being enforced now. Only last week, I received an email from Getty, informing their contributors of stock photography, to withdraw any images that may include designer furniture, due to legal action taken against them by a French designer. Soon, it could be that we will not be able to take photographs of anything, without permission for every item in the shot.
I am becoming extremely doubtful that there is any financial future for photographers, as is the case for most artists. Everyone wants it for free, and no one will let you shoot anything.
El-Branden Brazil says
Just recently, I was considering producing posters of this image of Stonehenge: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themystictraveller/4870931466/in/photostream
The site is 5000 years old, and predates English Heritage and the National trust, by around 4,900 years. However, I discovered that if I produced posters of the site to sell, I could face legal action, as all images of the site are the sole property of English Heritage, and so I must get permission to sell it!!!
Yes, times are changing. Arguably in some ways for the better, but in many for the worse. It’s certainly hard to grasp that the image rights to Stonehenge are owned.
Thankfully Japan still seems fairly relaxed about people walking round with cameras. As do most people. But that said, all the recent comments questioning the lack of permission/release forms have been by Japanese people…
I think laws are very strict here in the US where people are very quick to sue. It’s really about avoiding that lawsuit that motivates the media to identify the people they use. And permission was always asked after a shot was taken. I agree you can’t take a natural shot when the subject knows you are doing it. I think for the most part bloggers are very conscientious – or they soon learn to be. Your work is tasteful and that’s why I enjoy it!
p.s. Permission came verbally, not written. So it was pretty easy to do. Most people just asked, ‘when can we see it?’ and ‘when will it be published?’ It was easy if we could talk to them, difficult when we could not. I don’t think we ever needed a written agreement.
Ah, ok. That makes a lot of sense. Just covering your backs really.
And thanks. Hopefully I can keep it that way.
The daughter’s expression look like a Bisque doll to me.
Her mother seem to be engrossed on something?
Thanks Winnie. Yeah, interesting expressions on both their faces. But why exactly, I don’t know.
I think that the mother is engrossed in conversation with a small blue disembodied head!
Haha! Yeah, he does seem to have a lot a lot to say!
Eve Willett says
Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.