I took this photo a long, long, long time ago. With the kids home for MLK day, got no time to post. So here’s what you get. There are a few more of this guy up on Flickr.
I got to fly to Philadelphia recently all on my own, no kids in tow. At the various airports on my way there and back (Kansas City, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Detroit) there were a number of times when I wanted to take photographs of strangers. Wonderfully craggy faces, distracted business runabouts, or candidly tired travelers. But I was a) scared, and b) not sure of the legality. So I did a little research after I got home.
If you want to read just one article about this, read this one by Dan Heller.
Turns out, you can take pictures of strangers in public places if they have no expectation of privacy (public restrooms are public, but private) and you can do whatever you want with them, as long as it is not for commercial use, which is to say, you can’t use them to sell a product. ((On public vs. private and commercial vs. editorial here is a post by law professor Nancy Wolff. Also, a list of links to your rights as a photographer, handy in a post-911 world.))
If you are not in a public place (like say, a studio, a school, a business) or you are unsure of what you will do with it (and commercial use is a possibility), or if you are just not sure, you can always get your subjects to sign a release. ((Here is a link to an index-card sized release, and a link to another Dan Heller article, on releases.)).
Of course, there’s also the issue of bravery ((An interesting discussion of the bravery of street photography is here on the photojojo forums.)). Do you dare?