It means, 'I am not doing any harm. I might buy, but I know I am allowed to look, but I won't touch, nor harm anything.'
I also am allowed in public, to wonder, look at people. I know though, it is rude to stare and I guess I learned that when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Taking a photograph could be construed as 'just Looking' But really in taking a permanent image, you are allowing yourself to look closer later, to scrutinise and inspect. And the subject of your gaze will be examined out of context. They will not know when you look, how you look, or what you think.
I was having a little chat today about ethics and taking photos.
Obviously when later in the day my daughter brought this site to my attention I was shocked. Some people clearly think it is funny to put STUFF ON CATS and then take photos. (Actually I think this is very funny; that is the point of the site. It is absurd humour - whatever that means.)
When I took this photo in Vienna, no one was harmed and I was careful to check it was permitted to take photos.
Moreover, this pigeon definitely knew I was taking his photo and posed for a while turning his head this way and that for me.
This lady dressed in blue was flirting with the bee outrageously ... really putting out for him I thought - but we all knew they were doing it for the camera:
Here I opted for the 'still life' as a preliminary
before asking the artist for permission to photograph her working:
And she gave her consent.
(Here is another piece of art from the same location by the canal in Vienna:)
I confess that I have taken more and more photos without asking permission. And these are often the photos that I might use on my blog or put on Flickr. Funnily enough though, I would not use photos for my research wthout absolute consent, and I also draw the line at photographing kids without asking parents first or making it so that they cannot be recognised... I feel should not breach that taboo.
However I have begun to take more and more photos that I thought in the past I would not. This discussion on Flickr is really interesting. Although of course, in this debate we see the folks who are thinking about ethics. Many will not ever have thought about the issues, I imagine. Across the expanse of Flickr we see pictures of the public absolutely everywhere and it is possible that some photographers have never thought about ethics, while others of them might always ask permission of their subjects. Maybe, like me, they are operating a shifting code of conduct that is changing in seeming pace with digital times.
Because the boundaries of Internet and meatspace are blurring, is it becoming that as one discussant on Flickr says ' If you dare to go out in public, then you should recognise that the public space might mean you are being photographed.'
What do you folks all think? Are we now living in a world where it is so easy for anyone to take a photograph, the common-placeness of it means it is less potent? Less dangerous? Has it ever been dangerous?
Come on people ,
Let's have a heated debate.