Shooting from the hip was a revelation for me. I’ve been shooting for 24 years and I only started doing it a few years back.
Certain styles of archery do not use sights, some you don’t even look at the tip of the arrow, it’s all instinct. And it is very accurate. It’s no different for photography, in fact it’s easier, a lot easier than archery to visualise your frame and not hold the camera to your eye. It just needs practice.
When I started out I was obsessed with framing, I think it’s a control thing and a guy thing, we all like 100% control, every aspect, every millimetre, a 95% coverage viewfinder was unacceptable. It is still important in some types of photography but there is another world out there which I love to be apart of and that’s the world of instinct and intuition.
To me art, and especially street photography is all about instinct, and the moment, which are felt and are fleeting, and while framing through an eye piece is obviously perfectly fine, shooting from the hip actually allows you to capture those moments just as well. In some cases better, in others not.
Now that I’ve seen a few magnum photogs talk, I know for a fact a lot of what they do is luck and being out there and shooting a hell of a lot. They’re not obsessing over the frame even though they may still shoot with an eye to the eye piece, others definitely shoot from the hip.
If you’re results are great, the method doesn’t matter.
In my view there’s no ethical argument to be had. Public is a called public because there is no privacy, most western countries respect that though law. It’s imperative for social analysis and an open society. Usually subjects have rights too, their image can be removed at request in Germany for example, and in most places not sold for commercial use. Absolutely agree with that.