MarandaAwesome

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Hi David, Thanks for the reply. Though it does change things, cameras don’t have to be big news cameras to give people “jitters,” nor do they have to be recording something that will even be published anywhere to make people squirm. Not even “squirm” really, that’s an overstatement, but just feel uncomfortable. Also there was a bit of shuffling and hustling in her description (“. . . I hustled to reposition myself in the small crowd. . .” and “. . . stepped to her right to give me more room.”) so I suppose it gave me the impression that a little fuss was being made about getting the shot which could certainly distract the artists handling hot glass. It felt like most of the article was geared toward the one point with just a snippet of the other two incidences added in, but I see your point when taking it into a cohesive argument. Really what I mean to stress is not so much that the people (other than the one woman) were reacting due to “jitters,” but more that they want to be treated like people. Agreed, “this part is kinda proprietary” does not fit into what I’m saying, but the other two parts (the woman working on glass and the man about the earrings) seem more like the people just wanted their feelings to be considered. This is evident in the words of her article itself when she quotes the man as saying, “Well, I’m sure if you asked she wouldn’t mind.” All anyone is really guilty of here is looking out for their own (or friend’s, student’s, whatever) best interest. What I mean to stress isn’t so much about being legal but just being nice - professional courtesy. If you’re not inconsiderate, they probably won’t be inconsiderate. I’m not even saying don’t film just because of their feelings, because then you’d never make a buck, but if you put that out there first you’re likely to get a better response. I feel the author even knows this herself seeing as she writes, “I would have mentioned this earlier if I hadn’t been in such a hurry to catch the action, but now I was annoyed that I had to explain myself.” I think the writer didn’t feel like she was being considered by these people, hence her agitation, and I think these people felt like they weren’t being considered by the journalist, hence their responses. It’s a cycle. So rather than wasting space in the Reader with a very negative, diary-esque article like this, maybe a real story could be presented next time. (But hey, I’m a new reader so I might just not get it. Maybe that’s what they like about Barbarella. I guess she’s gotta earn the title of Diva somehow!) ;) Despite this, in the interest of fairness, I’m still going to approach her future articles with an open mind (like the one I’m about to go read)!
— October 28, 2010 8:19 p.m.

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(Sorry, this was a long response that didn't fit in one comment. I apologize, I am not trying to spam!) Now I have garnered another point from your article; that in this modern society, people need to be less touchy over people taking pictures. Now a days you’re filmed everywhere you go, whether you want to be or not, and if you’re participating in a public event you need to be prepared for the fact that there will be people taking pictures. I agree that it is unreasonable for them to expect their work never to be photographed, but humans are emotional creatures and can’t always control their feelings over something like that. Not to mention that it would diminish a person’s quality of life if they refused to participate in something due to fear of photograph (either of themselves or their work). It is reasonable for someone participating in an event to expect to be able to ask people to not photograph them or their work. I think there should be a little give on both ends. Since you work in a field in which you are frequently photographing people, for your own sanity and theirs, you might have a better experience if you exercise a little professional courtesy. “Hey, I would like to film this if you don’t mind. I am hoping to use part of it as a piece for _____.” You will probably get a nice response and you’re acknowledging their feelings on a human level. And yes, I do understand your point about “I don’t have to because it’s legal” and you’re right, you don’t, but it would just be a nice thing to do. (Do unto others… right?) It is about respect, and treating your fellow people as I-You rather than I-It. Saying, “Well it’s legal so they need to deal with it” is a little dehumanizing. Like denying them their right as a person to have their emotions – I would understand this approach on some gritty, aggressive story where you need to dig deep for the facts… but not on a piece about an art display. On the flip side, people participating in public events should have polite signs posted if they do not want themselves or their work to be photographed. And, well, sorry for saying you sound bratty, but that was my honest feeling when I read this in the Reader.
— October 25, 2010 8:32 a.m.

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With all due respect this article comes off as pretty… bratty. On one hand, I understand your point and grief over the situation. On the other, I don’t believe you’re being completely fair to these people; you’re only broaching this issue from a singular viewpoint and not taking their personal situation in consideration. Yes, I understand that they were doing a public showing of their artwork in progress. I also understand if it is your legal right to photograph this public event (I don’t know this as a fact myself, but I am willing to trust your word that it is true). But it sounds to me like you weren’t taking into consideration that you were photographing a human being who could have had any number of instances leading up to that moment. From what I gather, you didn’t ask if you could photograph this person, nor were you forthcoming with the reason why you were taking the photos. You are within your right to assume if it is a public showing that you can take photographs or video, and you are within legal right. But what about common courtesy? Just because something is lawful doesn’t mean it is decent. Now, putting myself in your situation, I, too, would probably take a few pictures without bothering to ask, but if I was filming the process without giving them a heads-up I wouldn’t be so indignant if they asked me not to. The biggest thing is, imagine if you were crafting some piece of art in public… Imagine that artwork requires handling delicate materials at high temperatures… now imagine someone is at your side, hovering with a camera you weren’t ready for. It might not be that you want to be rude but you are working on your craft, and let’s face it, a camera can change the comfort level of any environment. Even if I’m doing something I have done a thousand times before, the moment I know I am being recorded my qi is thrown all out of whack because cameras make most people self conscious. I understand that she had a video online, but I am willing to bet that she was well prepared and on her best game for that video. It’s probably not that she wanted to be a b*tch to you that day, but I think it is understandable that the unannounced filming of her work made her uncomfortable because she wasn’t prepared for it. I doubt she was terrified you would steal her process; she was probably just more concerned that she would make a mistake and be made to look bad. With the rising popularity of internet videos I really can’t blame her.
— October 25, 2010 8:32 a.m.

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