On permission II : The middle finger

When you don’t ask for permission before taking a shot, you obviously expose yourself to all kind of reactions. In very few instances, people will get mad and start arguing with you. Their arguments almost exclusively revolve about the fact that they think it is illegal to have their picture taken in the street, which is incorrect. My best advice here is to just smile, apologize and go away. Don’t waste your time, you’ll never succeed to convince them and once you have engaged in the discussion, it will only be a slippery slope.

This being said, I never had an argument become physical. And only twice in the last three years did someone show me the middle finger when I took their picture. One of them happened actually last evening, though I am almost sure that this sympathetic woman didn’t really mean her gesture.  (click on picture to enlarge)


Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph  at F1.4, 1/60, ISO200

10 Responses to “On permission II : The middle finger”

  1. David dit :

    ahaha ! Excellent. Encore un bel instant saisi (décidément… !)

  2. cam dit :


  3. Lluis dit :


  4. Jimmy D dit :

    He-he… Wonderful!

    In my four years of shooting in the streets I´ve had a couple of « heated » discussions with the people. The majority actually occured over one weekend while shooting in Paris. They were so convinced about me breking the law while shooting it was of no use trying to win them over.
    – Delete the image!! (huge dude)
    – Shure, look – I´m deleting it now. (me)
    – Let me see that it´s gone! (huge dude)
    – You can´t. It´s deleted. (me)
    – … /;(

    Thank god it was a crappy image. Otherwise it would have gone ugly.

  5. This is classic!!!

  6. Valery dit :

    Hahahaha that’s a great shot. I think that to get photos like that I need courage, but believe me, I am getting more and more each day. Last photo I got of a persona was a young boy sleeping in the train. It was so funny.

    I love your photoblog, I learn so much.



    [Barcelona Daily Photo]

  7. Josh dit :

    Superb catch Yanick. Thanks for keeping up with the blog so regularly. I love it.

  8. lauren dit :

    Fantastic photo — and very funny! Yes, people get so uptight. I’ve taken pictures of kids in a group with all sorts of people around and have had someone tell me that I need to get each parent’s permission (and I’m a little woman, not exactly a pedophile profile). Right.

  9. admin dit :

    Thanks you all, this is a good example of luck in street photography … I took the shot and only notice afterwards that it was the middle finger she was biting.

    @Jimmy, I am selective on my shots in Paris as you could get in trouble. But overall, people don’t react that bad hopefully. ;)

    @Valery. It is normal to have shyness about it and I think it is a good thing too since you’ll do your very best for shots to be candids. With time it comes slowly and you learn not to worry too much about people. Persever !

    @Josh, hey thanks.

    @ Lauren, shooting kids is a tricky one. Most parent here don’t mind, but like any place, you’ll fall on a few paranoiacs now and then. Just be ready to explain what you are doing, the clearer, the best.

  10. cindy dit :

    J’adore elle fait vraiment tout son effet…..