Tube Stories – Priority

More images from my “Tube Stories” series can be found here

You will also find some of my prints for sale here


4 thoughts on “Tube Stories – Priority

  1. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do your subjects on trains know they are being photographed? I have noticed a lot of bloggers putting up pictures of people in the street or on train station/trains, seems to be a real fashion at the moment in random people in their busy lives! 🙂

  2. Hello. Most of my subjects don’t know they are being photographed.

    With this particular project I really wanted to explore the idea of the tube being a public place that felt so private. (If you want to have a peek at the rest of the collection, you will find it here It is something that I have been developing over a number of years.

    It certainly does seem that this sort of style of Street Photography has seen a renaissance over the past year or so. I expect that it has something to do with the increasing quality of camera phones and lots of people stealthily enjoying imagining that they are in MI5.

    1. I can see the fascination in obtaining photographs that look very natural/street photography or MI5 style fantasy, but I often question whether this kind of photography is wise or fair to the person concerned? I’d like to share with you a couple of experiences I have had with this kind of photography.

      I had someone take photographs of me with very powerful lens, through a restaurant window a number of years ago. An amateur with wild ideas of becoming a paparazzi photographer I suspect! I was sitting in the middle of a reasonably empty restaurant, so he had no difficulty getting a good view of me inside the restaurant. My dad was always a very sharp eyed man and had taught me to be very aware of what is going on around me when out and about – so I don’t miss much! 🙂

      I was not in a good mood that day, had spent most of the afternoon comforting my very sick and dying mother in a crappy hospital, and the sight of that man trying to sneakily photograph me while sitting down eating a meal, exhausted from my horrible day – you can imagine I was very unhappy about that! I caught up with that photographer a little while later in the city where I live, and confronted him over why he was taking pictures of me in a restaurant. He denied that he was taking any of me, said he was taking pictures of the front of the building. Mm.. I’m very familiar with photography, I studied quite a lot about it when I was younger, and I knew with a huge lens like the one he had used it would have produced a very flat picture of a shop front, not the best lens for that kind of picture. And he also had no answer when I asked him why he moved the camera away several times when I looked directly at him – he had no answer.

      I’m not normally verbally aggressive towards people in general, or people taking normal photographs in the street, but he caught me on a very bad day, and as far as I was concerned I would have reacted the same if he had pointed it directly at me in the street. Why? Because he really didn’t give a damn about me, he didn’t know me, and I have to question why anyone would want to take such photographs of people like themselves going about their daily life?

      Another occasion I saw something that could have resulted in a serious situation. A photographer very cleverly taking pictures of some women waiting at a bus stop, thought he couldn’t be seen. Unfortunately the photographer didn’t foresee the partner of one of those women coming towards him from his left hand side, and to cut a long story short – there wasn’t much left of his camera after the angry partner had confronted him, and if it wasn’t for the angry man’s wife/girlfriend dragging him away I don’t think there would have been much left of the photographer either!

      It was an over the top reaction, the angry man clearly had some major problems going on there! The reason I’m mentioning this, is because it does personally annoy me that someone with a camera taking random pictures really doesn’t care whether those ‘street people’ would object to having their photograph taken and then published somewhere on the internet. And I wonder how you would feel if you saw pictures of yourself that you were not aware of had been taken – or if they were pictures of someone in your family that had been snapped in the street or a train? I know the law on taking pictures in public, I understand it well, but just because the law allows such pictures to be taken of people in public places doesn’t rule out the fact that someone may object to it and object in a violent manner, because they are not of a sound mind. Has it ever occurred to you that your safety may be at risk while doing this on a train or a station?

      I’m sure you will be likely to disagree with what I’ve said here, and it is only my opinion, and maybe as a person who likes to think I can walk the street, or travel on a train without the possibility of someone taking pictures of me, my opinion doesn’t count. But it would be good if you could give this a little bit of thought.

      By all means, please delete this comment after you have read it, as I don’t wish to spoil your blog with this great long message sitting here – just wanted to explain why I asked you the question of whether your subjects knew they were being photographed.

  3. Hi Suzy.

    Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate your comments and have no intention of deleting your post as I think that discussion is hugely important. The initial concept of this project was to initiate these sort of discussions and to encourage people to really think about the idea of surveillance in today’s society and also to challenge ideas of what privacy means.

    I think Street Photography straddles an ethical tightrope. It is very difficult to keep balance all the time. In my own practice, I try never ever to publish anything that I feel would demean, embarrass or humiliate another person. I always ask myself if I would be comfortable for the image to be published if I were the subject. Obviously this is incredibly subjective and other peoples boundaries may be very different to mine. My intention is to treat all subjects with respect and reverence. I would immediately delete any photograph of anyone that requested me to, even if I were legally entitled to keep it. That is just good manners.

    I am really sad to hear about your experiences and assure you that every time I take or post a photograph it is never done lightly or without consideration. I will certainly continue to give thought and will definitely consider the safety angle too. I must admit that is one area that I haven’t given too much thought.

    Thank you again for your comments.

    Best Wishes

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