Looking at Pictures


I like looking at people looking at pictures.

I was taking a sneaky photo of this man with his orange cap (held behind him as if he was in a church) looking with some reverence at a Cadell painting because I could see a link between his orange cap and the Cadell picture on his left called ‘The Orange Blind’ when I heard a click behind me and there was this cheeky woman taking a picture of me taking a picture of him…….
cadell maureen 1

>and then when I photographed this woman partly because of her pink jacket and partly because of the way she was standing that suggested cross purposes, I was tapped on the shoulder by a curator who wagged his finger at me and nodded reprovingly at the camera, making me feel like a naughty boy.
That’s just one of the problems in photographing people – another one is do you blatantly ignore someone’s possible resentment when you take his/her  photograph?

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9 responses to “Looking at Pictures

  1. If you ask first you lose the moment that makes the picture. If your photo doesn’t show an identifiable face, I don’t think you need to ask after. I think the curator didn’t like your taking pictures of the ART (do you know many museums charge royalties for taking pictures of “their” things, even if the pictures are for academic research purposes?!). But I love these two photos. I suppose if the woman in the pink jacket or the man with the orange cap came up to you and said “Did you just take my picture?!?!?” you ought to offer to send a copy. I can’t believe anyone would feel resentful of such a charming man.

  2. Besides, you didn’t really take their pictures: you took photographs of chance compositions. When you first posted these two, I didn’t think “Oh, look at that picture of Jane!”; I thought, “Wow, I love the pink against the orange, the black X, the way the shape of the backpack echoes the frames; Wow, how perfectly spaced the vertical of the man is, and what a dramatic diagonal is created by the two orange rectangles!” Shoot away, I’d say. (“Anonymous” above is also me.)

    • Interesting because what interests me is what is going through someone’s head when he/she is looking a) at a painting/picture; and b) at a camera. Do you look at a painting/photograph to be entertained/ informed/uplifted/vaguely pleased? All 4?

  3. Agree totally with Anonymous/RAB. And your two images, with the placement of the people, their postures, colors, are art, too. I enjoyed looking at them because of the pleasing compositions. What I look for in a photo depends on the type of photo and circumstances. In news photos I look for information. In portraits, I look first for intriguing lighting and a connection with the subject (usually the eyes) and the setting if there is one, for pictures such as your two, I look at composition and color, and so on. I think we all enjoy images that grab us and make us linger over them. As for the disapproving curator, I can see both sides. Is he concerned about protecting visitors’ privacy, perhaps? Personally, I’m a bit uncomfortable if I know someone is taking my photo b/c I wonder what they’re going to do with it and where I’m going to show up. But if we’re going to take informal photos of other people, we have to be agreeable to others taking photos of us (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway).

  4. Hello,

    I have a question about reproducing the first image in this post (Man with Orange Cap) in an academic publication (specifically, a PhD thesis). If you would be willing to grant permission for this, I would be greatly appreciate and would of course credit you in the caption, along with the title and year of the photograph. If you would be willing to grant permission, please email me using my wordpress username + gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration! — WY

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