I’m attempting to reconcile frustrated feelings towards people who react to my use of images gathered from Facebook as if I’ve violated a stranger’s consent. While I don’t post anyone’s personal details and heavily redact commentary that may garner people some undesired attention, I don’t usually alter faces unless there is something particularly incriminating towards that person. I however do feel entitled to share my edited versions within the private groups of my online community, since it has already been soft released within said community.
Tonight, while goofing off online, I quick meme’d a photo of a friend from a private group. I made sure to heavily edit the meme, which was of her and 4 men cramped into a shower together with beers raised (it’s a weird tradition, I know, just go with it). I placed that photo within the view window of a screencap for a porn site (shown in thumbnail below), hid any lewd acts and nude parts from the banners, and posted it as a comment under her post saying,
Now… I thought it was hilarious, but apparently I go too far and don’t know when I’ve crossed the line. It was brought to my attention that it is considered bad form within the confines of a larger group chat to mine photos from FB Groups and share them with friends. If it’s to allow members who participate within the community to hide indiscretions from their ‘real’ lives, then perhaps they deserve the consequences of their actions. I took my meme down and deleted the comment, I doubt it spread too far but I’m not sorry I made it, and I’m not sorry I stole it, since simply being in the group means you’ve agreed to FB TOS licensing regarding posted images.
I’m working on trying to understand how sharing something I created in an attempt to make a joke and the unintended consequences of the people pictured is a consent violation. The issue I have with this occurrence surrounds the nature of gaining consent for photos to be posted or shared that may leak outside of our community. I understand discretion is necessary for some people and their line of work, and I will address that later, but I also understand that anyone is subject to forfeit of photographic privacy so long as they are in public view.
How do we now interpret a reasonable expectation of privacy within our technologically based forms of photo sharing and digital media work? I understand that I should get consent to post anything publicly and get waivers signed for any issues with legality of image rights if I intend to profit from them (which I absolutely don’t, they are just memes…) but why get huffy about whether I pull a pic off Facebook, which already claims possession of image rights once uploaded?
Allow me to digress to my point about discretion. If someone works a job that demands they live within a certain moral code, and participating in our community will tempt them to break that code, how is it the responsibility of all the other members to maintain silence regarding their participation?
I know how to keep secrets and have a decent grasp of the importance of privacy, but some privacy is already forfeit by simply going out into public. It seems people are trying to equate having their picture taken “without consent” as the equivalent of some form of personal assault or invasion, and I just… don’t think they are the same. I do not feel beholden to maintain a lie for someone because they aren’t living up to the standards they’ve set for themselves. *fun story to come about how I learned this by being a pretend girlfriend
Now, I do understand that we should value our privacy, it being tantamount to safety, but in the digital age what’s really ours to keep private anymore? Are we truly guilty by association based on a contrived meme for laughs? Is the original photo of them being allegedly nude together in a shower stall so damning? Are we not free to enjoy absurdity anymore? Asking for me.
If it’s to allow members who participate within the community to hide indiscretions from their ‘real’ lives, then perhaps they deserve the consequences of their actions.
I assure all my friends that I gain permission to post images I find online, then edit and post publicly, so I’ll continue to do that but I want to be clear: I do not intend to ask every person I see in public if I can take their photo. I will ask if it’s intrusive or obviously too offensive, but most of my photographic work has been trying to perfect candid photography.
Sometimes the best shots come from moments when someone misbehaves, and usually from video footage stills and not captured photographic moments. I found a hack that works for me and have been careful with whom I share footage and where.
On that note, I will be setting up an IMGUR profile soon to upload my photographic work! Stay tuned for the link