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Thread: You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

  1. #1
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    something a little off topic, but i thought i'd ask the community here to see what sort of varied responses i get.

    a couple of weeks ago i was shooting in the canadian rockies at a rather well-visited lake. before sunrise, i hiked to a spot i had scouted the previous day and set-up. about 20 minutes later, another photographer shows up and proceeds to set-up right next to me. we started chatting; i really enjoy meeting other photographers in the field and trading notes. there is no better way to learn about shooting in an area foreign to you then by talking with locals, as is evidenced by this forum. we had a really nice conversation and he clued me in to a few spots i was previously unaware of. the sunrise was a disappointing, but his information proved very helpful over the days that followed.

    a short while later a group of four tourists came walking by. on seeing us with our tripods, they came and stood around us and proceeded to take a few pictures in the same direction we had our cameras trained in. the other photographer angrily said to them,

    "You know, this is how i feed my kids... go find your own shots."

    the tourists seemed a bit surprised, and quickly went on their way. i thought this outburst by the other photographer was rather rude and uncalled for. truth be told, i was a bit embarassed. i find that very often while setting up a shot folks will come and take pictures similar to the one i am taking. i don't get angry, and usually some very pleasant conversation ensues.

    i was just wondering how some of you guys handle yourselves when in this situation.

  2. #2

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    I have only ever seen this type of behaviour from a particularly ignorant wedding photographer. He went out of his way to ruin pictures taken by family members. The photographer you met would be slightly more justified if he hadn't stole your shot.

  3. #3

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    Unless someone is being a real pain in the butt, there is never a reason to be nasty.

    I was shooting this past Sunday at the Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, NJ. One of the NJ Harley Davidson motorcycle clubs was there as part of one of their weekend rides. While I was setting up my 5X7 to get a shot of Sandy Hook, I got talking to a couple of the guys in the club. They got a real kick out of seeing the image on the groundglass, the size of the film holders, etc. I had them get all of their group together and I did a group shot of them. I emailed them a scan of the negative and sent them an 8X10. They loved it! We exchanged cards - you never know where the next portrait gig will come from...


    Bob Fowler

    "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage."
    -- H.L. Mencken

  4. #4

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    As someone who has done a lot of wedding photography, I find that many guests are surprised that I am as willing to let them take shots as I am... I'll sometimes even shoot the picture with their camera, if they want-- hey, it saves my film, since most of these shots are not ones that brides usually want in their albums. I guess many of them have been conditioned by jerks who tell them off at weddings.
    What's more, at a wedding, I have been contracted to be the sole photographer, and have some legal right to insist that I do not have "competitors". On the other hand, if I'm out in a national park or some other public land, I have no claim to rights (unless, of course, the parks commission has hired me...). What a shame, that this guy was so insecure in his own photography that he felt the need to run off the others.
    By the way, how is it that you got there before the "pro" who had all the rights to that spot? And why didn't he give you a dressing-down?

  5. #5

    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    Unless this other photographer actually built the Rockies, I can't find any possible way to respond to his comment other than considering it rude, ignorant, and damaging to the reputation of professional photographers.

    When I was in Paris a few months back, I found an angle for a shot at Notre Dame that I'd never noticed before. There way something wonderful about the light, the atmosphere, and the image on the GG of my Bronica. (Nope, I didn't haul the LF stuff with me on this trip.) I set up to take some shots, and I'll bet at least two dozen other people came over and lined up their shots next to me. Unlike the person you met, I was flattered that people thought my composition was worthwhile. I'll stake my reputation on the fact that I know how to meter and compose more effectively than tourists with point-and-shoot and/or digicams, on my selection of the appropriate equipment for the shot, and on finding exactly the right exposure for the picture I envisioned.

    When I developed the film, I found out that I'd captured exactly what I wanted and one of the shots has become one of my favorites. I'll bet that a number of tourists got good shots that day too. But I'll bet mine's better. And if I'm wrong, so what? I don't have any special access to Notre Dame, and the shot's been sitting there waiting to be taken for quite a while. Just because I "found it first" (which isn't even the case with the person you were next to), it isn't "mine". The image I create is mine, but that's as far as my rights extend.

    It sounds like the person you were next to is more that a little insecure. It also sounds like he might actually be hurting himself, you, and any other professional photographer who shoots from that location. Do you think any of the tourists he brushed off would buy a sunrise shot from that location should they see one for sale? I doubt it, with the negative memories they now have associated with that location. If this is his modus operandi, he can be doing nothing but hurting himself and other professional photographers.

    Just my opinion...but it'll take a strong argument to sway me on this one.

  6. #6
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    that's pretty bizarre ... as someone already mentioned, by his own logic he'd already stolen YOUR shot. in addition, it's funny to think that someone's tourist snapshots could somehow cut into his business. chalk it up to him being a "colorful local character," a.k.a. a nut case.

  7. #7

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    I wonder how that photographer would have responded if that group of tourists had broken out into a stirring rendition of "This Land Is Your Land....?"
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    No one "owns" a point of view, particularly in a national park. I had this issue with a university student once, who took an image in a park for my class. Some years later I was in the park near the spot and the light was unbelieveable. I found the same subject compeling from a slightly different but similar point of view, but of course our images were very different. Mine was LF b&w with "old testament" clouds his was 35 slide made on a clear day. Both were made from a popular spot along a public path. A bit later (maybe 3 or 4 years) my image was selected for a prestigious PBS local art award and featured on the cover in their magazine and exhibited widely.

    He threatened to sue me for copyright infringement. Don't ask me the logic of that but he paid a lawyer to write me a letter. He also made a complaint against me to my professional organizations ASMP, SPE and also the dean of my school. Of course nothing came of any of it, but it did make me look bad to a few naive people who think that someone can "own" a point of view.

    If anyone photographs in the national Parks in this century it is doubtful that you ever find a completely unique point of view. Hopefully we bring to a great image alot more than simply where we planted our feet.

    I also teach alot of field workshops and it is not uncommon for a student to set up right next to me. Again "Hopefully we bring to a great image alot more than simply where we planted our feet." Come set up next to me anytime!
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  9. #9

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    Since it was in Canada - it would have been kind of weird to have them sing "This Land Is Your Land".

  10. #10

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    You Know, This is How I Feed My Kids... On Field Etiquette

    I agree that the photographer shouldn't have been rude to the tourists, but I also think he shouldn't have set up right next to you. Maybe I'm just an anti-social photographer, but if I were out with my large format gear and saw another photographer already set up in a spot where I wanted to photograph, I would have respected his or her space and moved on. I wouldn't have the hutzpa (spelling?) to invade another photographer's space. Or if I really wanted the shot, out of courtesy, I would ask "mind if I set up beside you?"

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