Hi, I am going to a long awaited trip to japan next week, and i really hope I can get to talk to sme local people and perhaps take their picture. Do people in general mind having a photo taken? Is there anyhting i can say to ask permission?
I love to get pictures aof %26#39;real%26#39; people from teenagers to the elderly, and also geisha. Is this allowed? i do not want to offend anyone
Taking photos of people in Japan
I%26#39;m not Japanese but I don%26#39;t like it when my photo is taken by strangers.
I try to ask you to put yourself in their shoes, if you were working, going home from work or school and you saw some random person start snaping away with their camera at you, what do you think? ';Who is this person'; ';What do they want'; ';What are they going to do with those photos'; etc. That%26#39;s what I think anyway.
Some people are happy to pose others just don%26#39;t like their photos taken, this is not a uniquely Japanese thing either, but anywhere.
I%26#39;m not saying if its right or wrong, there%26#39;s nothing illegal about it, I%26#39;m just saying if you were in their shoes.
In the case of Geisha (if you see a real one in Kyoto and not a fake one) usually they are on their way so, as long as you aren%26#39;t getting in their way or holding them up, then you can take a photo of them.
For street photography its always best to be discrete unless it was in an overly touristy spot where you would expect there to be many people taking photos.
Taking photos of people in Japan
Of course, i would never just walk up to someone and snap, would always ask first. I think that the harajuku teens may not mind, (will still ask though) and that would be fine. Any other thoughts?
My assumption is anyone in public, dressed to be noticed, including the Geisha expect to be photographed as part of the landscape. For everyone else, be discrete and you%26#39;ll not offend.
%26gt;%26gt; My assumption is anyone in public, dressed to be noticed, including the Geisha
Your assumption on the Geisha (or more often, Maiko) appearing in public(on the street) is very wrong.
';An official at Higashiyama Ward Office, which conducted research into the harassment of geisha by tourists last year, said: ';Some tourists seem to have the impression that Gion is a theme park, and geisha and maiko [apprentice geisha] are walking the streets as part of a performance.';
Google search for full story.
Do not try to take pictures of geisha or maiko. They are very much burdened with people trying to photograph them. There is simply no polite way to photograph them. Even asking them for permission is an imposition in itself.
When I visited Japan, two people asked if they could photograph me, and I obliged. I am a middle-aged American who looks vaguely Middle Eastern, and am capable of saying no. I suppose I looked exotic to them!
The Japanese love taking photographs and often ask others to photograph them when they are on holiday. I have done quite a bit of cycle touring in Japan and have been photographed hundreds of times, often with Japanese passers by. Usually but not always, those who speak no English hold up the camera with an enquiring smile and wait for an answer before snapping. If you do the same you will have no problems, although occasionally people will shake their heads. Be careful in %26#39;entertainment%26#39; districts such as East Shinjuku, where people may not want their presence, or who they are with, to be recorded.
Unless you are fairly fluent in Japanese your chances of taking to locals will be somewhat limited.
In many countries people love having their pictures taken by tourists. Japan is not one of these countries. You can take discrete photographs of people just like you would in the UK or any other western country but I would not expect the Japanese people, in general, to be indulgent or enthusiastic about having their pictures taken. For great anthropological photographs you need to spend a bit of time getting to know people in Japan first. Since this isn’t always possible make sure you have a camera that doesn’t blur when you use the zoom and take advantage of zoom and action situations.
I would ask the hotel staff if they are aware of any local festivals or events that are geared more toward the local community and not so much for tourists. It is, of course, polite and acceptable to take pictures at these occasions. There are some great spring, harvest, and other various festivals in Japan that don’t make it into the guide books and make for far more unique and memorable photographs!
At some locations you will probably find a few people who might open conversation with you because you are a gaijin (foreigner), it is probably okay to ask these people if you can take their picture. But… in general people are a lot more reserved in Japan compared to many other countries. They will kindly help you if you need help with anything but if you are simply exploring the streets with your camera they will usually keep to themselves.
%26lt;In many countries people love having their pictures taken by tourists. Japan is not one of these countries. You can take discrete photographs of people just like you would in the UK or any other western country but I would not expect the Japanese people, in general, to be indulgent or enthusiastic about having their pictures taken.%26gt;
Sorry, I have to disagree. Japan is definitely a country of cameras and photographers -- watch them when they are tourists in other countries -- and in general, unlike many other places around the globe, they are open to the concept of picture taking.
Discreetly taking pictures is done all the time by locals. Non-discreet methods are also used, especially when one has a child with light hair and gaijin features.
The best thing to do, ravinggrabbids, is to ASK. Point to your camera and say ';OK?'; with a BIG smile. Chances are you will get a yes and a ';peace'; sign.
I answered your thread with your attitude in mind. Others have the mindset that photography is harassment which it can be if you imitate the paparazzi. I refrain from that and assume that you do. Until there is law against it, you%26#39;re free to shoot, even and including the Geisha.
I suppose the Harajuku girls are deliberately dressing to get attention, and thereby objectifying themselves, but the Geisha are dressing in accordance with their cultural tradition, which is guite a different matter. To some extent, photographing Geisha would be like going to Brooklyn to get candid shots of Orthodox Jews on the street in their beards, black coats, and black hats.