The Ethics of Street Photography

a face in the crowd
stranger on a bus

I like to take photos of strangers.

I rarely ask permission, this is because:

  1. I am shy
  2. I don’t like posed photographs
  3. There will probably be a language barrier as I speak very little Georgian or Russian and I live and work in Tbilisi

I post lots of these photos to Facebook and other social media. Sometimes I have been called up on this practice and asked if I would like strangers photographing me without asking and posting the pictures. Actually, I wouldn’t mind, although I am not a fan of photos of me.

Here are three I took today:

Here a photo of some backgammon players.

backgammon players

Here a jubilant tourist in Rome, posing for another photographer.


I am rarely noticed and there is little verbal interaction. Once I was scolded for taking photos of beggars in front of a church.


Sometimes, I might take a photo to highlight an issue I feel strongly about, I don’t think people should smoke around children, for example.

smoking and kids

I am in a Facebook group called “chez pantalon rouge”, where members post photos of the public wearing red trousers.

red trouser wearer

This is a topic I would like to look at in more detail (the ethics of street photography not red trouser wearers!), I’d be interested to know your views.

2 thoughts on “The Ethics of Street Photography

  1. I like to take candid street photos too. As long as you’re not making money off them, the people aren’t identified, and if someone recognizes themselves (or a person) and requests removal and the request is obeyed (and by extension, if you later recognize the person, then ask their permission to post), then I think it’s perfectly fine.

    Liked by 1 person

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