Jun 2, 2007
I am always entertained by the blogs and photos fellow expats put up on their sites and I have a question. The other day I was driving around Once with an out of town guest and she was taking random photos of streets and people from inside the car. A man came up to the window and demanded her to erase a photo she just took. He wasn't dressed in police uniform nor did he identify himself. She erased the photo immediately and I noticed he was writing down something - probably my license plate. He wasn't pissed but his tone of voice was harsh and he made sure the photo got erased. As we feared he would whip out a gun or hurt us we just complied and drove off. Did this ever happen to anybody else? What is the law regarding this? I remember awhile ago I was told I couldn't take photos inside or outside of McDonalds too....but that was by an employee.
Taking photos of people without their consent isn't the most polite thing to do really. The guy probably wrote down information regarding you and your vehicle cause he either wanted to report the incident or to investigate it further himself so he probably actually does work for the police or Argentinas intelligence agency or something of the sort.
I am a photographer and sometimes here yes I do have some problems. Although I also live in New York City and it is far worse. Last night I was taking photos in the street (it was closed due to construction). It was of a model with the workers in the background. The workers loved it, but then all of a sudden a very angry man started yelling at my girlfriend. She lives and got into a very nasty argument. I couldn't understand what he was saying at the time, but he was mad because he thought we hired the construction workers for the shoot and asked me what magazine I work for (I don't work for any magazine). Basically he was crazy and really nasty and was pissed about the noise from the construction. A police officer came over and told him to leave, but I had already packed everything up and was ready to leave.Usually, and I had an argument over this with my girlfriend, I just apologize and leave right away. Usally it is not worth the possible danger. I often take photos in areas where I probably shouldn't so I shoot first and apologize later if need be.

As for taking photos of people in public, even if you don't speak the language, I usually make eye contact and smile while holding the camera. Depending on the response I will take a photo or not.

People everywhere can be strange about cameras.
I don't find it strange: unless the person is paid to pose or act in front of your camera, taking a photograph really is an invasion of the privacy that we all have a right to. A photographer denigrates the humanity of "the subject" by taking a photograph without the other person's permission.
A simple request is minimal courtesy, and it generally is met with greater courtesy. What have we to lose by asking to take another person's photograph? At worst, we'll be denied the permission we never had a right to expect.

I agree with you if I am taking a photo of a single person close up and they are the main subject, but when taking a photo of an entire scene no and I think that is what balover I think is talking about. On a street or public place you have no right to privacy. You are photographed by hundreds of video cameras everyday.

Now what I do with that photo afterwards is where it is different. If I want to publish it I usually have to get the person to sign a release.And this statement "A photographer denigrates the humanity of "the subject" by taking a photograph without the other person's permission." could be debated for hours on end. I can think of hundreds of photos that were taken in public that has changed humanity for the better and created icon images that would never have been taken if the person had to first ask for permission.