Art or exploitation? I'm doing a photo project. (1 Viewer)

M

Monkeywrench

I deleted myself
Backstory: Before I rode trains, hitchhiked, knew of this site or met all of the cool people that made my time on the road what it was--I was a photographer/art student in Washington DC. I shot local bands and obnoxiously "hip" events in the city. It's just what I loved and know how to do.

Fast forward a couple years, and I still keep in contact with a lot of people I knew in the art community. Recently, after discussing my trip back and forth across the country--I've been told by several people that I should've taken pictures and that had I kept them, that there would be open gallery space for me.

I've even been asked to put together a coffee-table type art book of all the rad people I met on the road.

Now, here's the reason I didn't originally do that in the first place.
I simply found it to be exploitative.

Even though I still carried 35mm film camera, instead of my professional DSLR; I felt as if my story and the stories of other kids on the road were our own. Exclusively special to us as a culture. But towards the end of my last trip, I began taking more and more pictures of people and gaining not only a little more exposure, but the appreciation of a lot of my subjects. Travelers who once yelled at me for taking their pictures, and blowing up the "lifestyle" were sending me messages on Facebook thanking me and asking for their own prints or copies.

I have a concept. Gallery space and a book I'd like to put together. I have an artist statement and a medium and this wouldn't be another polaroid-kid type deal. If I were take pictures of my travels, and the traveling kids involved (with their permission, naturally).. do you think that would be exploitative?

In an age where there are whole websites, and countless photos of travelers online (Flickr, Tumblr, etc) do you still think that a photo project of travelers (without the biased horseshit articles and stories) would be exploitative? Do you think it would damage the community at all?

I don't think so at all. But that's just me. I'm very interested in all of your sayings.
 
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MrD

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I am with you on this one.

Anyone can just google anything about traveling, and find out as much as they want about it.
It is no secret.

Honestly, I do not think that ANYONE that uses this site can hold ground to say one negative thing about what you are doing.

Sounds good to me, Have fun!

INB4 Shitstorm
 

bryanpaul

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eastern shore of Maryland
somethin that comes to mind is like...if you were to make money with other peoples faces .....hmmm........ethical issue has arisen......uhhhh......then again most kids (including myself) will gladly sign over the copyrights to their face for a few bucks or some booze....whenever "normal" (eeww) folks have taken my picture i ask for some cheddar........................let it be known that i'm not calling you normal.....but yeah....
 
OP
M

Mouse

I deleted myself
art is always exploitive. Learn to deal with that and you will go far.
 
OP
M

Monkeywrench

I deleted myself
somethin that comes to mind is like...if you were to make money with other peoples faces .....hmmm........ethical issue has arisen......uhhhh......then again most kids (including myself) will gladly sign over the copyrights to their face for a few bucks or some booze....whenever "normal" (eeww) folks have taken my picture i ask for some cheddar........................let it be known that i'm not calling you normal.....but yeah....
Man, I completely forgot to address this. Good call.
 
OP
M

Mouse

I deleted myself
this type of stuff always goes into the constant art debate about public vs private, mainly an issue in photography.

my personal opinion is, just ask. use it as a case by case study of personality. if someone says no I'm sure there are 20 ppl who will say yes. Bitches be vain.
 

derailed

Lurker
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
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Current Location
between here and there
this type of stuff always goes into the constant art debate about public vs private, mainly an issue in photography.

my personal opinion is, just ask. use it as a case by case study of personality. if someone says no I'm sure there are 20 ppl who will say yes. Bitches be vain.
It's not a question of just vanity. I personally, have a problem with my picture being taken, especially if it were to end up in a situation where a lot of people would see it. It has nothing to do with vanity, it's more to do with personal space and a level of comfort about having that shit plastered up for all to see.

But yea, be a stand up guy and ask.
 
OP
M

Mouse

I deleted myself
i was referring to the other 20 ppl that aren't you that are vain bitches who would be all about it, DUH
 

keg

Newbie
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
189
i grew up in hawaii never really taking photos.then i moved to japan in th mid 90s and started taking photos of everything and everyone.i had really thousands or pictures normal pictures,party pictures porn etc.then i thought about it.those photos are evidence.thats why i never let anyone take my picture.seeing all these photos on this site makes me kinda uncomfortable.all i need is memorys.also for example i am homeless and have been for last 15+years i have no parents house or friends house to leave these photos while i travel.thats one of the main reasons why i have not took the plunge and travelled in the mainland usa.everyone has phones or cameras and i do not want to be an dick but i do not want people taking photos of me.in asian countries they will ask,and then you say no.and they think your rude but oh well.but some of the photos on this website would be gold to the police.plus i am ugly.just something to think about
 
OP
M

Mouse

I deleted myself
no, that was directed by Harmony Korine, who wrote the screenplay for Kids which Larry Clark directed.
 

axolotl

Lurker
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
42
Current Location
ethpaña
art is always exploitive. Learn to deal with that and you will go far.
haha
i also think that it is possible that a coffee-table book could serve like many such projects - making a certain way of life accessible as something that can be cursorily consumed aesthetically

there´s also the issue of an observer killing spontaneity/ affecting reality

while traveling, i wished i had a camera so many times that i forbade myself to think about it, and ended up realizing that all of the most memorable images i have were moments when for one reason or another it wouldn´t be possibleor plausible to take out a camera anyway

that said, the traveling community is not some indigenous tribe at risk of being culturally swallowed - it´s made up of divergent individuals - simply ask, and if your subjects are happy to take part in your project than you shouldn´t worry about anything

to me it sounds like an opportunity you shouldn´t turn down, if you have creative control, want to pursue a career in photography shoot subjects that inspire you, and your personal experiences guide your approach to the theme

i would add though that if someone´s funding you or you end up making any money out of this, you could give some disposable (reloadable if you know the hack) cameras to some kids you meet, maybe the prints wouldn´t all be coffee table quality but you´d end up with a broader range of snapshots you might not have been there to capture and it might feel more like a collaborative self-representation rather than you being like an embedded observer
 

bastardmaker

Lurker
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
15
Current Location
NOR CAL
just look at something like LATFO.com and you'll realize we aren't some sacred cow that can't be exploited. if you're in a position to help some kids out along the way, be ethical about it.
 
OP
E

Earth

I deleted myself
But remember, as soon as money is exchanged - the art is compromised (as told to me by REVS, about 10 years ago, maybe longer)...
 

Puckett

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
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Ks is home & damn tornados bring me back everytime
i would say if the kids dont mind you taking their pic then go for it. if they tell you no then they say no. just make sure you tell them what their pic is being used for and if they dont mind then its whatever. and you can always take a pic and blur the face.
 

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