Alison's Writing Portfolio · On Design & Art · On Places & Travel

Photographing Strangers – Perceptive Travel

I walked the width of Manhattan last week, heading to the Aperture Gallery in Chelsea. My route took me past Madison Square Park, where crowds snake awaiting their turn at the Shake Shack, and admire the Flat Iron Building. The area is a thicket of photographers – many tourists want pictures of both the building and hamburger-hungry crowd, and, judging from the high end cameras and tripods wielded by the black-clad emaciated young, so do many photography students

I walk through here many times a week, since this is also where I pick up a subway line that I frequent,  so I’m sure I am in the background of many, many photographs. And perhaps,  when I’m sitting on a bench in the park having an iced tea, or I pause to jot down a note when I’m waiting for the light to change, or just looking up at the Metropolitan Life Tower, which I’ve always loved, I’ve been in the foreground of those photos – the unknowing, unasked subject.

This doesn’t distress me, in fact, I rather like the idea. But I know that many people in New York City, and around the world, object to having their photo taken without permission.

When I’ve reached for my camera on the road, I’ve been admonished with a finger shake in Marrakech, yelled at in the market in Puebla, Mexico, and even had stones thrown at my car by a group of children in Rajasthan, India. Read more at Perceptive Travel.


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