Street photography or voyeurism?

Photographing the Drawing of the Chicken Bus

Once again Manolo, in his effort to become the pebble in my shoe, points out that I am such a voyeur… Can you believe that! Manolo made such comment about the capture of a group of women tourists taking a sunbath in a public place, La Fuente Restaurant to be precise, while having lunch or a snack break.

I do not think I am crossing the line since I am capturing everyday life scene as I come across them; sometimes influenced by your comments and suggestions. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to check that I am not crossing the line of capturing private moments, so I found this great discussion about Street photography or voyeurism at, one my original favorite site (boy, we are talking all the way back to the mid 1990s). Anyway, I leave a teaser quote by Barry Fisher who said this:

…Often the object is moving anyways. I have no simple answer as to when or not to. If I really think someone is going to object or they’ve actually indicated they don’t want to be photographed, I will usually honor that but then, for me, its a balancing test of many factors. I suppose it has more to do of how you identify with personal space. If you believe or are in a frame of mind that “we are all here in public sharing space and time, and I’m going to capture the wonder of it all” then I suppose you won’t think of it as being voyeuristic. But if you feel like you are capturing people’s private moments even stealing them, like we all must at sometimes, then you are a voyeur at that moment. Do you have a problem accepting that you may be a voyeur? —Barry Fisher at

We are talking about voyeurism as in the act of observing people without the sexual gratification which is normally associated with the word; just to clarify it. I believe that I do tend to be a voyeur or obsessive observer when it comes to capture the most natural street life scenes. My goal is to capture the intriguing split-second scene. I do not like posed photographs, especially posed street photos because once the subject is aware of the lens the natural feel is lost; the window that I open for you into the daily life of La Antigua Guatemala is broken.

Yet, sometimes I ask permission before actually clicking the shutter and once the permit is granted I wait until the subject goes back to the natural state; less defensive mood. Such was the case for this shot of Jacque (Jack in English he said) drawing this colorful chicken bus in front of Hotel Aurora.

Is this voyeuristic enough for you (Manolo)? Or is it just an honest shot of what you may encounter yourself while strolling around the streets of La Antigua Guatemala? What is it?

© 2008 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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