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Should people take pictures of people they don't know?
July 17, 2007
11:22 am
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fantas
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I went to a conference this weekend and several people took pictures of me and I am sure others as well, without asking me to do so. One time I just turned and here was this guy with his camera aimed right at me. I asked him why he was taking my picture and he smiled and left. The conference was a religious one but I still felt creeped out by it. Any thoughts.

July 17, 2007
11:27 am
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loverbee
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I think its ok to take pics of people but I think that they should ask permission first.

July 17, 2007
11:55 am
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risingfromtheashes
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Often in group settings or functions, there are photographers taking pictures, either for publicity purposes or for scrapbooks for the organization.

I think that schools and daycares are the only places that have to advise you that pictures will be taken - because children are young and parents may not want their pictures posted publicly, with their names...for safety reasons.

Beyond that, all you can do is ask the photographer to not take your picture or contact the event coordinator and explain you don't want your picture published.

Beyond that, not sure what your rights are.

paparazzi takes pictures of celebs everyday and it's not illegal....so....not sure what you can do about it.

July 17, 2007
4:09 pm
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fantas
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Loverbee & Rising,

Thank you for your insight. It has happened a few times now and I just felt so strange turning and finding people taking pictures of me. I will ask the coordinators if they had people taking pictures for the event. I just know that the billion dollar online porn industry is funded and supported by someone and I just don't wanna have my face plastered over some naked body out there in cyber space. Sounds a little paranoid but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

July 17, 2007
4:43 pm
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glittered when he walked
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Fantas,

I wouldn't worry about your face being used by porn establishments....were they to do that without a contract/waiver with you they are liable, as would be the photographer. celebs are a different story because they make news and as such, their visages can be used in newspapers. but certainly not in other commercial endeavors that aren't news, at least not without exposing themselves to liability.

very likely it's conference photographers. some even go around taking pics that they will offer for sale to the people in the photos (i.e. you)later.

July 17, 2007
5:03 pm
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Honolulugal
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Were they pros with cameras or were they snapping on the cell phones?

July 17, 2007
5:15 pm
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loverbee
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I don't think its about the porn thing so much. The chances are slim to none that that will happen in my opinion. however, although they may not have to have your permission I just find that odd that that guy wouldn't answer you when yOu asked him why he was taking your pic. I mean an answer couldn't hurt right?

July 17, 2007
6:00 pm
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chelonia mydas
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My ex is a professional photojournalist and he always took photos of everything. If the photos are not going to be used commercially than if you are on public property or someplace within view of public property then anyone can take your photo and use it with or without your permission. If you are on private property that is not wihtin view of public property than the photographer needs to get permission from the owner (or their representative) to photograph on the property- but again no permission of the person being photographed is needed.

If they are going to use it commercially, then they need to get your permission. This could be implied permission where the photographer askes you what your name is and tells you they are taking photos for this magazine/newspaper/website etc. If you give them your name that is implied permission. It could also be a situation where you would sign a model release.

July 17, 2007
6:36 pm
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fantas
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Honolulugal, I have no idea if they were pros or not. Noone was introduced as the official photographer for the conference. So I have no idea.

Chelonia, would your husband take head shots of people he didn't know without asking them? What did he do with these pictures.

I just don't understand why this situation bugged me so much almost to a point of feeling violated. It seems that everyone feels like itsn't as big a deal as I am seeing it.

July 18, 2007
9:46 am
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risingfromtheashes
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fantas,

if there was a contract with the estalishment or group sponsoring the activity, it is possible that nothing WILL be said.

many times these photos are used for scrapbooks or even for litature about the event for the following year.

every get flyers in the mail for an event and it has pics of groups from previous years?

if they have a website, the group sponsors may use it there.

a photographer hired by the event sponsor may take all kinds of shots, including individual head shots.

been to weddings? same thing - photographers are hired by the bride and groom and everyone is usually photographed at least once during the event...and many times it is closeups....public events aren't much different. There usually isn't consent forms posted or notification of sorts.

Can you dig down deep and figure out why it bothers you? Are you a modest person? Are you a private person? Do you have a fear of your picture being taken? Are you self concious about yourself and don't want your photo taken? Do you have someone that you worry will "stalk" you on any level? Are you embarrased for others to know you were at this event?

Just some ideas, but maybe you can figure out why it bothers you.

Frankly, I don't like my picture taken, as I don't think I photograph well unless I am prepared for it...so candids usually look horrible...that would be my only reason.

As far as worrying about your pic being posted online or in some sordid situation - perhaps that a minute possibility, but maybe not a big enough risk to really lose sleep over it? I live in a remote area, so maybe I am not as in tune to risks like these as others in bigger areas may be.

July 18, 2007
10:18 am
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fantas
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Arising, thank you so much for your input. Great thoughts as always. I think I am really self conscious. I was molested as a young girl by a church member who was highly regarded so I am suspicious of any people taking liberties with other people's space without bothering to inform them. I also saw a special where pedophiles said that spiritual gatherings are the easiest places to take children's picture, which they later post for other pedophiles, because people are very trusting.

I know what you mean about wedding,I have a very hard time with those too. I photograph well, and I am not bad looking but the fact that someone out there has my images without my consent feel wierd. I think I am beginning to finally own my space and I feel very protective of it. I have always allowed people to treat me which ever way they wanted but I am not willing to do that anymore. I need to find out if there was an official photographer for this event.

July 18, 2007
11:29 am
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mj
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I used to be a professional photog and Chelonia's information is very accurate.

Fantas, when you asked him and he smiled and walked away, I would have felt creeped out too.

July 18, 2007
11:10 pm
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fantas
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Thank you all. Looks like everywhere you look, the private citizen has no say in the matter.

Mj & Chelonia, What happens if I got really pissed off and destroyed his film or camera? Do I have the right to defend myself?

I know people have been prosecuted for taking butt shots of people in malls or on the street using hidden cameras. What is the difference? This is a whole new area for me that has made me feel quite vulnerable and unsafe...

July 19, 2007
10:21 am
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glittered when he walked
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Fantas,

If you destroyed his film/camera that opens you to civil liability (real damages of cost of camera/lens, cost of pictures lost, cost of any contracts lost as a result of incident and of course punitive damages claims as well) and it would be a criminal act also.

July 19, 2007
10:43 am
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fantas
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Glittered, thank you. I will beseech the universe to not allow this to happen to me again. I did contact those who planned the event and they said they only had one photographer and I know him. These others were just strangers.

Rising... I figured out one of the reasons that might have caused me to be so uncomfortable with it. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. Some stranger is taking my picture, I didn't like it but I felt helpless to approach him and ask him to stop. I felt a little trapped and that made be panic and in turn, I got upset at them but really I was angry at myself for not standing up for myself.

The other reason is I am a person of color and I know that people of my Faith desire diversity and I am sure these people wanted to take pictures so that they can show that there was a person of color there. This too offends me because if they were so interested in capturing diversity, they should have taking a moment to come say hello and get to know me instead of treating me like a rare animal in a zoo.

I have been dealing with flashbacks from by past abuse and I think I am hypersensitive about my boundaries being crossed.

Thank you all.

July 20, 2007
8:41 pm
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fantas
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Here is why I am really worried about random people taking headshots of me and not explaining myself. This person had this exact thing happen to her...

My name and headshot showing up in unauthorized or illegal websites
July 19, 2007 8:24 AM Subscribe
I'd appreciate some advice - I track myself in google blog search [whatever] and suddenly of late my name has been showing up in two porn sites.

I sent them to my lawyer who said contact Privacyprotect.org cos they've blocked their Whois etc etc ok but now the latest infamy is MY headshot [which is saved as my fullname so it shows up] is showing up on very nasty ethnic pornsites. I haven't even clicked through I feel so sick just from the words that show up around the search. Is there anything I can do to prevent this happening rather than the constant back and forth with very good lawyer who is better served doing better work than chasing this crap down? plus is it possible that I've been targetted for this ? As I've never had a problem in the past two years and then boom 4 in one week?
posted by infini to computers & internet (32 comments total

July 21, 2007
12:23 am
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AQueen
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I was a professional porn actress aka model for a couple years in Los Angeles around 98-2001. I did magazine and movies. I've also worked a a escort who advertised online. There are plenty of hot ass women with the porno look willing to take pics for money so I really don't see your scenerio happening. More like a urban legend to me. I'm not being mean but I think you're tripping out on that one.

I do feel you have the right to ask people to not photograph you if you don't want to have your picture taken. I understand that as a person of color you don't want these people to take your pic for the sake of proving they have non whites involved in their organization. I understand you feel out of control when this happens. I would tell the person to delete your picture immediatey because you are not comfortable with them having an image of you--this is directed at the "strangers" at the function not the hired professional photographer. If you know there will be a professional photographer I would contact him or her ahead of time since you said you know the person and ask them to not take pic's of you.

I've always been a exhibitionist but I still don't want stranger taking my pic. When I did the movie and mag stuff I always had an agent and signed releases and got paid well. It was a fun time in my life. I used to be really wild and I loved to do things that were on the edge of society.

AQueen

July 21, 2007
1:02 am
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fantas
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AQueen,

I understand where you are coming from with your comment. Since this is relatively new for me it really freaked me out. And you are right, had I had a choice about it, and if I knew where these people are I would feel much more empowered. I am a very closed person, I open up to people I feel safe with.

I was abused, molested and raped when I was young by people who just took liberties with me. So what may seem like a small matter to most is huge for me. I need to feel in control of my space, especially when I am led to believe that all people are respected like everyone else. When I go to school or down town I am guarded and I am more on my own defense at this place I let my guard down because I thought that I was safe.

As for people superimposing images on the web, it's being done more and more often now and without permission. They do it with kids pictures alsc. There was a case here where I live where this guy would take pictures of little boys and post them on a website for other men to see. Even the police said he was not doing anything wrong and they couldn't remove it. Since the parents didn't know that their kids were on his website they couldn't ask him to take them out. And even then, it would have taken alot to get to him to.

Anyway, my fear is a real issue. It does happen.

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