Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sri Lankan Photographers : What the hell are they doing?

When was the last time you went to a party/event and had a great time without having to pose with your friends for 10 different photographers?? When was the last time you went to a concert and was able to enjoy the show without your view being blocked by around 25 photographers??

Its obvious that Sri Lanka has gone through a "DSLR" boom and all the rich kids who used to own a decent digital camera now run around with a big ass camera of which they dont event know how to use 90% of the controls. And then there is the photography craze. Any event you go, there's at least 5 photographers from 5 different "online media" taking your pictures and publishing them god knows where. Seriously, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO PRIVACY?

Any event you go to now a days, you have photographers. Photographers trying to beat the other photographer in getting that special shot that would get people to come to "their" facebook page and click "like" on it. This new thing called "online media" which most of us Sri Lankans have got it wrong has changed the Sri Lanka events industry. Gather a bunch of photographers, start up a facebook page and you call yourself "online media". JOKERS! If only these jokers knew what media actually was. 

In the beginning, it was fun. I have to agree on that. Having your pictures online with your friends. Those were memories that were created. And now? its a NUISANCE!! Like Ive mentioned before, now you get a whole bunch of photographers taking pictures. You wont event know them and they wont even know you but your picture will be there on their facebook page. Its such a nuisance that you never know who is taking your picture, what kind of a picture are they taking (dirty picture, embarrassing picture, etc) and where they are going to publish it. 

And then there is the famous "essay" these photographers write on their pictures. "The photographer reserves the rights for this picture.. blah blah blah blah blah. You cannot publish this anywhere else blah blah blah blah". Who the hell gave you the rights for the picture? You may have taken the damn picture using your camera but who asked you to take it? Did you take the permission of the people in the picture to take their picture and publish it? Ive personally experienced where the event organizers themselves have been in difficulty on controlling the photographers and with the publishing rights. Some of these photography based "online media" are such that they go on to say that the organizers themselves dont have the rights to publish their pictures anywhere else. WHAT THE HELL? I do the hard work, I invite you and you get the publicity? 

And then there's the aspect of girls. There's this certain photography based "online media" who say they cover events via photography. And when you invite them, a huge number of them invade your event. And then if you see the pictures taken, the following will be the ratio 95% pictures will be of girls and women at the event. 4% of group pictures. 1% of the event. PATHETIC! Sad to say, ive noticed that many of these "online media" are doing the same. 

So now you must be wondering, so this guy hates photography and so he's blaming photographers. Hell no. I myself take pictures. Not on a damn DSLR. I take on my phone. And I admire the pictures taken by photographers who have real "talent". I respect the photographers who think photography is a form of an art and not a tool to prey on girls at parties and events. Photography is supposed to be enjoyed by people. Shared with friends and the world. Not to be locked and kept on one room.

Obviously there are laws that come into effect there. Laws regarding photography in public spaces and events and there's the privacy laws too. You are not legally required to get permission to take a picture in a public place, but its ethical to do so. Who knows what trouble a certain guy in the background of a picture at taken at Galle Face may face after your picture is published in some form. There are legal and moral regulations when it comes to photography. But then who cares. We live in Sri Lanka. Who obeys legal and moral obligations here?

If you are a photographer and read this, I sincerely hope you fall into the category of the "talented" photographers. Else do think about what I've said here. You make feel its against what you do, but then There's always two sides of a coin. What you think is right may not be right for another. Or if you have anything else to say, comment below. 

Just thought of writing down my thoughts. If you agree or disagree is not a problem to me.



Riffath Hussain said...

Good one brev... Nobody cares of privacy on FB now.. Moreover, who'd deny free event publicity ;)

Ahamed Nishadh said...

its not nobody cares... and im not talking about FB only. Some of these "online media" have their own site in which they publish the pics too..

and FYI, im not talking about event publicity.. im just talking about the abuse of the art of photography..

Maheswaran Gnaneswaran said...

good one Nishad... love taking photographs myself... but as you've mentioned there are way too many with DSLRs these days...

මගෙ කට කහනවට.... said...

"Who knows what trouble a certain guy in the background of a picture at taken at Galle Face may face after your picture is published in some form. There are legal and moral regulations when it comes to photography. But then who cares. We live in Sri Lanka. Who obeys legal and moral obligations here?"

Interesting point you raise here.. If the guy in the background is getting into some sort of trouble, then he's the one doing something illegal and/or wrong and/or unethical, not the chap who is taking the photo! I don't think it is right whether it is legal or moral, to prevent anyone from using their fundamental right of thought and conscience in taking a photograph in a private place.

If your contention holds any water, then, the ethics/ morals should equally apply to the use of point and shoot cameras as well as mobile phones equipped with cameras. Restricting DSLRs is not going to solve any moral issues in re public places. This argument is how, those who hold power use to restrict the fundamental rights of the citizenry!

ධනංජය මධුශංඛ said...

Everyone have privacy, anyone can act for that. And there is a rule in photography industry. No one can capture without a permission of the person who appear. If do so, photographer should show it to him,her or them and then can ask for the permission. if the don't accept, photographer should have remove it. But no one going to do that as you said.

Nowadays some guys with having a free or cheep camera (I don't know how they got it free, maybe by some relation or sometime by working company) they used to think they are the best photographers & know every thing. Some guys work for nothing. I mean they didn't event get a penny for the photographs. But they think they can easily make a name in the industry with that. The quality is like a hell.. Those type of cheep graphers don't even think about rules and regulations or even ethics..

you done such a grate research.. Good luck bro.. !

Ahamed Nishadh said...

First of all, thank you for your comment. That said, I need to reply to some things you have said.
In the second para, you refer to illegal activities. Iam not refering to illegal activities in the post. What Iam refering to is, couples having some private time, friends cutting classes and going to have some fun. These are not criminal activities.

And im NOT in anyway saying, the usage of DSLR's should be restricted. Iam just saying that people using those should use it in a better way. Use your camera to create memories. Not help paedophiles or womenizers..

Ahamed Nishadh said...

thanks for your reply..

ALCH3MIST said...

Agreed, man. Sometimes it's like being in the midst of a flock of vultures. - Yudhanjaya

FOX Creationz said...

Good article bro. Have to agree with each & every point you've made here..
Good Luck!

ZeeZuLander said...

Hey, point on privacy invasion, agreed. However, I doubt many photographers take these shots without permission. Majority is not to be blamed. Secondly, I think the involvement of 'DSLR' and 'Talent' in this discussion is irrelevant. Photography is a hobby, you don't necessarily have to be 'talented' to pursue a hobby. Apart from this, you do not need to 'rich' to own a DSLR camera.

All this being said, I would like to point out that I am not a photographer, but I have friends who pursue it as a hobby. I ended up reading this post because of the number of hate statuses that surround this post. Furthermore, I ended up commenting on it because I feel that the angle of this article is pretty immature and judgmental to the extent where it misses a very good and useful point it could have made.

That being said, I have nothing against the author of the post or the blog :)

Just expressing my view as the author has expressed his :)

This article will generate quite a bit of traffic for the blog though ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh man enda manasula irunthadha appudiye sollita .. especially the so called media who takes pics of girls n say as botography

Wer Chathuranga said...


Preveen Rodrigo said...

"When was the last time you went to a party/event and had a great time *without having to pose with your friends* for 10 different photographers?? "
You posed and you have a problem? Just say no when asked to pose. Plenty of people do. You don't "HAVE" to pose.
If people are _posing_ it implies that either the people or the photographer _asked_ to have the picture taken. If you agreed to have your picture taken or asked, then complaining about some invasion of privacy isn't something which is valid. If you were railroaded into posing by your friends, then blame your friends, or blame yourself for agreeing, not the photographers.

Here's the thing. You have some valid points. But you make a LOT of assumptions, quite a few of which aren't quite true. There are bad apples in every job. And while working photogs have bought up _some_ of these points in relation to some of these media organizations and what not, its not fair to try and paint an overall picture like *this*. Case in point, I can make quite a few more assumptions in coming up with a counter than the questions I have asked in the paragraph above, but I have neither the time nor the inclination right now.

Also, keep in mind, people running after the "shot" are paid to deliver, and with the number of people running after the "shot" with so many widely available DSLRs, the competition is quite cutthroat. Can lead to people doing questionable or even repugnant things. So spare a thought for those poor hardworking souls trying to make a living too.

මගෙ කට කහනවට.... said...

maybe, your sense of societal values are applicable to countries like Saudi Arabia, however, in countries where there are more liberties to enjoy, I don't think the same yardstick should/could be applied.

Lets leave out illegal things. lets leave out wrong things. lets leave out immoral things. If you decide to go with your girlfriend to Galle Face and do a little hanky panky under an umbrella, then its at your own peril. For God's sake you are at a public place for everyone to see! If you value your privacy, go get a room! If you do it in public and get caught, don't complain about the man who took a photo and uploaded it. go slap yourself for doing something 'that stupid".

lets take the second. kids cutting school and being seen in public. again! the important words here are "being seen in public". if you cut class and go to a public place, don't complain about being seen! its that simple.

The basic rule (irrespective whether you look at it from a legal or ethical pov) is, if you are in a public place, don't tell others to curtail their freedom just that you don't fall in trouble. if privacy is your concern, you find a private place, and not a public one!

As to pedophiles and womanizers, well womanizing isn't a crime, so why are you concerned about womanizers? pedophiles probably will figure out ways to stay ahead of technology somehow. that's how they operate.. there's a better chance of a pervert recording a girl/woman without arousing (pun most certainly intended) suspicion using a P&S or a mobile phone camera than with a Canon 5DMKIII and a 70-200 f/2.8 L II lens :D

I go to these public places, I take a lot of photos. I take photos of men women children going on with their happy times. I don't see how me taking photos affects anyone's rights, so long as they are in a public place. Whether it be a woman in a bikini or an old couple staring at the sunset. No one has the right to tell me that I can't take a photo because someone else might abuse it! It is my right of thought and conscience being used and enjoyed, and no one can put a restriction on my creativity!

arun said...

I am a photographer and i don't take my camera to a place where i have not got an official assignment to cover the event -Thiruvarangan

Anjitha said...

I dont know the legal factors here. Definitely there is a ethical factors. I dont want an unknown photographer to take my picture or my wife's picture even if I am in a public place. (This is personal opinion). However I have done this too. I've forgiven my self that it has taken as an art of nature and no harm to the person/s in the picture.

I dont think that photographers who has ethical values will not use pictures in harm way to the person/s in their pictures.They consider those creations as art objects and copyrights to the artist. Hope it is not wrong.

Street photographers, Travel photographers often face this problem. They cant ask the permission from a person upfront as it will ruin the artistic view of the person's natural behavior.

This is sensitive discussion. I respect your opinion and thank you for writing such valuable topic


මගෙ කට කහනවට.... said...

Anjitha, then you are better off living in Saudi Arabia, covering from your head to toe in a Hijab! If you dont' like unknown people taking photos of you in public places, then don't go to public places :D simple as that.

Any photographer, who is not concerned about where the dials of their cameras are, and who know how to change the f stop and the shutter while looking through a viewfinder, will tell you that common place photography cannot be restricted simply for the reason that in as much as it is your right to be there, it is my right to be there, and by my being there, I am entitled to capture what I see with my eye. That is most certainly not a invasion of anyone's privacy as there is no privacy in public!

While I agree with you that the article is on a topic that is valuable, the the argument put out in this article is valueless and is aimed at promoting the notion of monopolization of everyone's right to thought and conscience.

මගෙ කට කහනවට.... said...

maybe you should keep your DSLR at home in that case.. maybe you are one of those referred to by the author?

who is to judge as to whose DSLR should be kept at home and who should be allowed to take it wherever they go?

Nishan Saliya said...

One of the best articles I have read regarding photography and its related ethics! The points mentioned must be applied not only to DSLR, but also for other type of recording devices too!
Keep up the good work Ahamed! :-)

Dhivaagar Kumaravel said...

Cool one machi! :D Point noted!

Even Mobile Phone photographers as well as Point 'n Shoot'ers should note this when taking pics in public.

Anjitha said...

Thishya machan I am not talking about legal factors here. I am talking about ethical factors. Law is not well composed. People should be protected by law than this. You will understand if it happened to you.

About the wheels in Canon camera: Canon still missing the dual dials..It is not a problem for you or other people who has adopted to Canon. (For this discussion it is irrelevant.looks like your arguments and comments are personal)