In the UK there is no law against taking photos of anybody in a public place but it is questionable as to whether it is ethical to do so. I personally wouldn't want somebody shoving a camera in my face while I am just minding my own business outside and I would equally find it unpleasant for somebody to use a zoom lens and take my photo without my knowledge. Obviously in crowded places or the background of somebody else's shot it is likely to happen occasionally that you could feature, but not if you are the focus of the picture.
I currently have family members with housing needs that are receiving support from the charity Shelter so I approached the charity to ask if I could document how they support vulnerable people over the Christmas period. Unfortunately they were unable to allow me in with my camera for privacy purposes which I completely understand so I had to explore other avenues.
While exploring London for different ideas I came across a charity that provide vegetarian meals to homeless and vulnerable people. They were based on a back road in the heart of Camden but travel to different areas that they feel people need support.
I was surprised at just how many people needed to use this service and talked to a few of them to ask if they would mind me taking their photo, they were fine with it and happy to talk to me but there was one guy that started shouting, saying that I was out of order. I felt really guilty but at the same time this is reality, if people don't highlight the fact that there are local people having to stand on a corner and eat a free meal then how can others help or change what is happening.
I am sorry to show such a depressing reality but a couple of these photos had an impact on me, particularly the one that shows passers by not even glancing up from their phones or conversations because they are so desensitised to what is happening in their surroundings or the guy that is eating alone and standing, facing the wall as there was no other options available to him.
To see my full photo story click on my portfolio link and I will be happy to get any feedback on your thoughts.
This post is linked to the black and white photography project over at Podcast