Photography

I’m a Nikon fanboy. My Nikon D750 is the best piece of gear that I’ve ever owned. Of course, good consumer that I am, I’m lusting after the Z 7 ii that Nikon announced last week.

I’m not a pro photographer–far from it. Actually, I have a confession to make. When I was starting out, I was very dismissive of photographers. They did not exist in the same lofty realm as us painters. It wasn’t that I didn’t like photography or think that it wasn’t art, I didn’t like how it took over painting. Many artists then, like now, followed Warhol and the other Pops and as a consequence forgot or never learned how to draw.

Now I use photos regularly in my work. Most of the paintings are based on images captured with my trusty D750. In my next project, I plan to hire models and stage interior set pieces like I used to. As soon as I get the lights that I need, I’ll start that project.

Many of my recent paintings have been set in public spaces. One day a few years ago, I was taking photos in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. With its many theaters, Playhouse Square is one of Cleveland’s most popular locales. In warm weather, people eat their lunch at the tables in the park and there are many restaurants close to hand.

Among the crowd that day was a group of school children; 5th-6th graders I’m guessing. Anyway, I’m busily taking photos when this young man approached me. (I happened to take a photo just as he approached.)

He screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

I said, “Taking photographs.”

He shouted, “THESE ARE CHILDREN!”

I said, “This is a public space.”

He looked furious. I thought for a moment that he was going to grab my camera. Suddenly he deflated and without another word spun around and walked away.

Some people don’t know that you can take photos in public places without asking permission? With all the phone cameras around?

What is the law about taking photos in public? You can take any photo that you want in public. There is no expectation of privacy in public spaces. In fact, if you walk along a street and see a nude through a window, you can take a photo. What you cannot do is go onto their property to take that photo.

There is a gray area where if you use the photographs in commercial work, you might need the person’s consent. I have asked some few people to pose briefly as I take their photos. Everyone that I asked has agreed. Other than those few instances, all my photos are un-posed.

Most of my photos–by far–go unused or end up at the bottom of my very large To Do pile. It happens, however, that I did use a photo from that day’s session:

Trip to Playhouse Square

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