Permission or not?

Once in a while I look at Eric Kim's photography. I don't particularly like it, but that doesn't mean I can't learn something from it. However, there is something he said in an interview that, to my mind, deserves a response. Talking about his entry into "street photography", he said, "Taking that to the street, I was fascinated taking photographs of strangers (gasp) without their permission!"

This relates back to my earlier criticism of the search for the "decisive moment". Is there something about so-called "Hipsters" that causes them to get off on "candid" shots? There is nothing, I would argue, particularly valuable about shoving a camera in someone's face, taking them by surprise and publishing the result. Is the fact that permission is not requested a sign of victory for the person taking the shot--a sort of "look how clever I am"? That's how it comes across to me and I detest it.

I ask people, unless it is at a demonstration in which case the shots fall under the rubric of photojournalism, if I can take their picture. In most cases the people I photograph are in society's margins, and they have little but their dignity. I respect that and to take their photo without permission would make me feel dirty. See the introduction to my site where I refer to Don McCullin. Again, anyone who wants to "do street photography" should view his video.