The Magic Frame – Anger



A few minutes after I took this photograph, this hoary old gent came charging up the steps, to whack me with a stick.

The cops advised me to make a hoof for it, and I did.

The question that you may ask is, why did he come after me with a stick?

The reason is, that I intruded upon his private space. 

Over the years, I have changed my approach to street photography has changed. From standing behind poles with a long telephoto lens and carrying many lenses to announce “Photographer”!, I now move with essentially one lens.

While I the ‘behind the pole’ stunt a fair amount, more often than not, I make eye contact, smile and then shoot. The person I shoot often gives his/her tacit permission for me to shoot.I don’t always shoot women, because this can get tricky,and I am more sensitive to their personal space.

On this occasion,  I forgot – perhaps flouted – the rule of respecting the personal space of the person I am photographing. I behaved like a boor.

Yeah, that is is – I behaved like a boor.

First, I sat in front of him and shot him, despite his discomfort. Then, I stood at the top of the stairs and shot him again.

He knew it, and I knew he did not like it.

At the end, he chased me off.

So, when shooting someone – especially on the street – we must remember to respect their private spaces. 

Make eye contact. Smile. They will appreciate the acknowledgement.

Who knows? You may even make a friend!



  1. I absolutely agree with you, Rajiv. I wrote a little about this in one of my recent blogs (which you might have read). Like you, I decided a long time ago to always get permission from my subjects when I took photographs, especially if i considered that they might feel at all ‘sensitive’.

    1. If I’m close to a subject I always ask permission. I don’t want to cause anyone to be uncomfortable…..or be in a scary position.

  2. Wise advice. I feel inhibited about photographing people – probably why I don’t. I don’t need to ask permission of animals, though I do need to pay attention to their body language.

  3. I too am cautious about showing peoples faces in videos or photos. It’s always a good idea to have permission. If I don’t have permission I may fade out the face or avert it.

  4. Faces are the best – such a pity about privacy! In the future, we are all meant to have micro cameras in our google glasses, I’m quite looking froward to that!

      1. I wouldn’t mind, I’m beautiful! Ha,ha, seriously tho, I see so many great faces, and people, I think it would be great to say “look what I saw” and share it all over the net, people act funny when you get a camera out, and the moment is lost, if we all had invisible cameras, to me that would be a fantastic opportunity!

  5. Terrific photo, lots of expression.
    I know what you mean, it’s become complicated with the invention of the Internet, many people don’t want their photo on the net.

  6. This is an great photograph and lesson. I find that street photography made from a distance with telephoto lenses is the ultimate intrusion because the subject has no idea they are being photographed. It is a good idea to get permission and to respect your subjects because then a sense of trust develops and they are more relaxed and will help you tell their story visually.

    1. Yes, to this I fully agree. I used to do it.

      Now, I find that a look in the eye, and a smile, goes a long way.. It does, at least, in India. I don’t know about how it works in the West. I have done very little street work there

  7. Quite close , but a lovely thought to smile and click who knows one can make friends.. And not clicking women on the safer side .. Not fair even they have a chance to smile atleast for a while selflessly for a click .. Kuch khushi ke palon ke liye, kuch palon ki khushi ke liye … 🙂 🙂

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