I Can't Pronounce
Back from the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. A warm bright day, half the world out on the street. I arrived late, thinking the parade started at noon, but still got in a good hour and a half and eight rolls of film. Should have been more. I'm quite clear Woody Allen was right when he said 90% of success is showing up on time. Doesn't matter. A good morning. A good night's sleep. Monday isn't even on the horizon.
I did talk with three women at the parade who's photographs appear on the artandlife site, saying the site was under construction, their photograph from a prior parade was posted, could they look at it and give me their thoughts, that I would take it down if they had any considerations. I'm less concerned with the other parades, showing up on Carnaval isn't going to cause anyone any real trouble, but the reality of being gay, even here in San Francisco, is something that I as a straight, living here for thirty years or not, know nothing about. Best to be careful.
I asked a friend who reads this journal for her opinion, the idea being "The ladies have given me the gift of a good photograph, I don't want to give grief in return." It wouldn't surprise me if I'm taking this too seriously, the product of living a relatively isolated existence. No way to shoot pictures and make all the people happy. No way to write and make all the people happy. I'm just checking to make sure nothing I'm doing gets anyone killed, myself included. Messing with the phrase "under God" is good for a million gallons of newspaper ink, being gay in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people can get you tied to the fender of a pickup truck. No need to provide the fuckers with photographs they can use as ammunition.
I don't remember photography, when I was starting, providing me with ethical questions. When I was thirteen and had my first camera, I knew I probably shouldn't shoot pictures of my schoolmates making out on the couch without their complicity. Beyond that, life was an open season. Times change. What is privacy in the Internet Age? A newspaper may take a photograph at a parade or on a street and run that photograph under the terms of the law. They may be sued, but that's why they have lawyers, and basically the law in this area is a settled issue. Under the same rules, I can shoot a photograph of a person at a parade, participant or onlooker, or a person in any public space and put it here or on artandlife and under the rules, as long my uses are non commercial, it's OK. I can be sued, but the damages are in defending against the suit, not in falling on the wrong side of the law.
But what about the Life half of Art and Life? Everyone who's photo I've taken at a parade understands there's the small possibility their image may appear in one or another of the newspapers the next morning. OK, a million people see their image on July 1st and a million people have forgotten it on July 2nd (except for perverts who cut it out and past it on their refrigerator) and then by the time the 4th is over they won't remember the parade, the participants and, in some cases their name, let alone a picture. For a photograph on the web, some number of people will see it, some number very much smaller than the number who might see the photograph had it run in the newspaper. But the photograph on the web, on my web site, for example, will remain on the web for a long time. As I'm reading this I'm saying "so what's the problem?"
I'll wrestle with this again, no doubt. I'm curious to see if the three women to whom I mentioned the site will respond. My assumption is, at least among the bike clubs, the word will spread and most of the women with photographs on the site will see them before a broader public finds them (You people don't count. There's only six of you and half of you live in places with names I can't pronounce.)