Princess in Hot Water for Posting a Photo of a Homeless Person Reading Vogue

Mar 9, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Princess in Hot Water for Posting a Photo of a Homeless Person Reading Vogue

Mar 9, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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Princess TNT
A screen grab of the photo and some of the comments before it was deleted. Source: CNN

Vogue magazine’s editor at large, Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, caused a stir after she posted the photo to her Instagram account, captioned “Paris is full of surprises….and @voguemagazine readers even in unexpected corners!

The fact that she is an actual princess and belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Germany provoked even more criticism.

Should rich people avoid photographing the poor?

The princess is in Paris, where she is covering fashion week, and that’s where she spotted what appears to be a homeless person reading Vogue magazine.

Not wanting to miss the opportunity to show off how popular her magazine is, she decided to share the photo with her 14,600 followers. The responses, however, weren’t quite as she expected.

“I think this photo was taken in poor taste. Shame on you.”, “This is tasteless” and “This photo is cruel and in really poor taste” were just a few of the comments the photo received.

Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis responded to the critics writing “Why cruel? The person to me is as dignified as anyone else!”, though the photos was deleted within just five hours of it being posted.

Some followers came to her defense but Fashionista website, which was the first to report the photo, said the photo shows “how out of touch she is”.

The website added that “…The things she writes, both in Vogue and on social media, often straddle the line between entertaining/aspirational and disturbingly out of touch. On Saturday she crossed that line”.

Obviously something feels wrong about this photo, but here’s the question: how important is the identity of the photographer when looking at a photo?

Homeless people have been featured in many photos in various places and situations. They are, and will probably remain, a popular yet controversial subject for many years to come.

Putting aside the moral and ethical controversies related to photographing the homeless, do you believe that the photographer’s identity is relevant to their ability to take certain photos?

Would you be OK with the editor posting the photo had she not been the sister of the prince of Thurns and Taxis with an estimated fortune of $1.5 billion?

What about her posting the photo if she was neither rich nor affiliated to the magazine?

clearly the photo wasn’t taken for artistic purposes, but I think it raises a few interesting questions.

What do you think about it?

[via CNN]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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7 responses to “Princess in Hot Water for Posting a Photo of a Homeless Person Reading Vogue”

  1. Dan L Avatar
    Dan L

    This article is nearly as tone deaf and offensive as the the subject thereof. People aren’t upset that a person of means pointed at camera at the destitute. No one is upset when the wealthy draw our attention to the homeless with any kind of documentarian, journalistic, or artistic intent. People are angry that a woman “snapped a pic” of someone who could literally be dying right this second in the spirit of witty self promotion.

  2. 孟恬 Avatar
    孟恬

    There are no aristocrats in Germany any more. She still wanting to be one stops any speculation about her morality.

  3. Bob Markin Avatar
    Bob Markin

    It is nice to know that the U.S. is not the only country full of self righteous and terminally indignant people.

  4. Russ Avatar
    Russ

    I think context and intent have always made a difference in how people see art and what they take away from it. If I hand you a fist sized chunk of glass and say “this came from a volcano,” you’ll have a much different reaction than if I say “what do you think of this sculpture?”
    The act of taking a picture signals what the photographer find noteworthy in the world. The manner in which the picture is shared with others informs as to why they found it noteworthy. The viewer can’t help but factor these things into their judgement of the work, what they see in it, and what they take away from the experience.

    1. Eric Morin Avatar
      Eric Morin

      hm… provocative comment.. so I can’t help think if I passed the same event I would also have taken this picture.. therefore I find it just as noteworthy. Depending on how my version turned out, I would have shared it because I want people to see my body of work as reflective of observant social criticism. Therefore, she’s off the hook or i’m a hypocrit.

  5. Iggy Avatar
    Iggy

    To her defense there is a story behind the image. Is it of a poor taste ? It is possible. Let’s drop her royal titles, and a position. Would be a same photograph taken by any other photographer be of a poor taste? No, it has composition, lighting, and a story. This is an example of street photography. Nothing new. A homeless person reading Vogue Magazine.
    Her status of ” Blue Blood ” makes it all totally different. I think her action were of a poor taste. It has sparkle of sarcasm. Like she is rubbing it in our face.

  6. JOhn C Avatar
    JOhn C

    I think the only ‘issue’ I have is that she is editor for that magazine and it feels like the person is being used for some odd promotion. It’s not a big issue to me, but I can see others objecting. I think if someone not attached to the magazine (royalty or no) it wouldn’t be much of an ‘issue’.