Had an interesting discussion with a mate on Facebook last week around the ethics of taking photos of people in public places and putting ’em on a blog. She said that she wouldn’t like it if a photo of her was posted online and discussed without her knowing.
What is ‘public’ and what is ‘private’ is a chewy philosophical area. And I’m always struck by the ‘private’ activities people do in ‘public’ spaces (see below). To be honest, I was surprised and pleased to find out there are no rules about permission/consent (unless you want to use the photos for commercial purposes – slight qualifications outlined here). Basically you can crack on happily.
This is so unlike academic research which is subjected to such scrutiny by ethics committees that it can be unproductively constraining, frustrating and time consuming. But going back to the Facebook discussion, just because there are no rules about this, should I photograph and post images of people without consent?
Well I’ve decided to set my own ethical standards in addition to those outlined in the above link;
- If someone wants their photo removed from this blog, I’ll remove it straightaway.
- If I’ve photographed someone and they would like a copy, I’ll email a high res version or send a print.
Job done. (As long as a train is considered a public space…)
Long, long week of grindingly vile news, including (in no particular order) Gaddafi coverage, Fox corruption, Dale Farm eviction and Ricky Gervais being a knob. But then I noticed this when I was sorting out my expenses;
How COOL is that? The ticket person hole punched a witch on a broomstick on my train ticket. I love it! I want to know if it’s a rogue operator, who sprinkles cheer among commuters across the year with custom punchers for different occasions, or whether Southeastern Rail have provided them. Either way, thank you for making me chuckle and adding a bit of humour to the every day. Lovely timing.
Fieldwork. Life on the road. Possibly romantic in, for example, the wide open spaces of the States. Bumbling around the UK on trains and buses, staying in typical British budget hotels, is not quite so enjoyable. Here’s a taste of one journey, a couple of years ago, and the spaces I passed through on that journey. Some a helluva lot quicker than others.
So, first the cross country sleeper, London to Aberdeen. Fun, though odd, waking at midnight and opening the blind to find we were at Crewe station. Bit of a surreal bed/private/platform/public situ. Plus there are no cabin keys; you’re supposed to call the steward to re-open your door. I didn’t want to bother Stew so did a quick loo dash leaving my door wedged open, hoping some thieving bastard didn’t filch my stuff.
I love travelling by train. It would be my preferred choice of travelling anywhere. The line from London down to Cornwall is especially nice, following the coast. Unfortunately last time I travelled on that route two gap yah boys recognised each other (through their type rather than personally) and bonded, loudly, across the table I was sitting at. They started with country top trumps; “Whoa Guatamala. Far out.” “Yah, right, but Peru, man”. “Yah, Peru, superb.”