Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by denada, Mar 19, 2017.
How nice to see a discreet use of both discrete and discreet, each with its own discrete place.
I always use a 35mm on my Leica or Nikon. Here's an example from Oaxaca Mexico. http://borderzine.com/wp-content/gallery/david-smith-soto-street-photography/lovers-2009.jpg
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Almost makes me want to shoot film to get this look constantly.
I have had fun using my Instax Printer (fits in cargo pants pocket) when on the street. Most people are simply amazed by it and brings a great deal of happiness. To me, it's about having fun and hopefully make some people smile.
I'm just going to add this. It is part of an article I read quite a while back that I think not only provides some good in site but some food for thought.
Shoot with Respect.
Life is a two-way street. Shoot how you would want to be captured if you were on the other end of the camera. To me shooting from the hip is sneaky. Sneaky is disrespectful. I tried shooting from the hip. When I was finished I wanted to take a shower. Other photogs are fine with shooting from the hip, they call it stealth … and that’s okay, I don’t give a rat’s what others do. Shooting from the hip just isn’t me. Remember that you are on your subject’s street. That is where they work and play. It is their front yard and their backyard … treat it with respect.
Shoot in the Open
I prefer shooting everything with two cameras. One camera setup with for long and the other camera setup for wide, I don’t change my preferred shooting methodology for Street. I shoot with the EVF. I shoot with a camera bag hanging off a shoulder. I shoot in plain sight. That is part of the Challenge of Street for me, to capture the exceptional photograph according to my code.
I do not believe in stealth as a ‘real’ and effective camouflage for Street photography. I just don’t think it works well, if at all. I’ve seen photogs go to great lengths to hide the camera … to hide what they’re doing. They’ll tape the camera; hide the camera in a bag, et al. No matter what you do, it is still a camera. To me the only difference between a 1D with a 70-200 and an X100s is that the subject can see the 1D from a mile away and the X100s from half a mile. I find that ‘blending’ in works best for me. My stealth is to integrate into the Street, to hide in plain sight. I try to be as much a part of the street scene as a mailbox or street lamp. This is a mental thing. Similar to highly trained elite forces willing themselves to be a rock, or bush or tree. Blending in has served me well shooting news and shooting Street.
When I shoot Street I dress as I would when shooting news. I wear closed-toed shoes, (no sandals), long pant (jeans or khakis), short or long sleeved shirt (no T’s or tank tops, no messages whatsoever), … I try to look ‘professional’ … as in I am working … as in I am not here for entertainment … as in this Street is not the Zoo.
Shoot and Walk
This is the shooting methodology I suggest for the neophyte. Shoot and walk, shoot and walk, shoot and walk. If someone gives you the evil eye or shouts at you just keep walking. Don’t stalk an interesting subject … if the shot is there grab it … if not don’t linger there will be another shot in another half block. As you develop a Street Sense you’ll get the vibe of the Street of the people around you and you’ll have a better sense of when to linger when to stalk and when to get the hell out. But until then, just shoot and walk. If someone starts a friendly conversation … participate of course. Speaking to a subject prior to releasing the shutter, asking for permission to take their photo, more often than not, will completely alter the image from what you first saw and desired to capture. So usually I don’t converse prior to shutter release. I tend to like some eye contact between subject and camera. I try to release the shutter at the very moment the subject recognizes the camera and before the mood I sought to capture is changed.
Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. When I’m not snapping away I’m moving … looking here … looking there … looking forward … looking back … looking at everybody. I’ve only been accosted once by non-security personal in all my decades of photography all over the world. That was in Los Angeles, my hometown. It was by this huge guy who I think had a mental problem. After taking his snap, he attempted to grab my camera. So I went back to basic, shoot and walk, and starting walking. He started following … well more like chasing as I weaved in and out of the pedestrians crowding the sidewalk. Finally I said to myself enough is enough and I ducked into a restaurant and the giant didn’t follow. Time for a break and I order a bite. I don’t eat/drink while ‘on-assignment’ shooting Street which is distracting and ties up one’s hands. I think my vigilance has reduced the odds of robbery and maleficence. Thieves, I presume, look for an easy target, a tourist with a coffee in one hand, bumbling around the street without any real direction, unaware of their surroundings, makes a much easier target than an alert professional with street smarts. Awareness may save your neck, your gear and will increase your keeper rate.
I always have a handful of business cards with me for those who are interested. The cards have my name, cell phone and website. Often I will carry a printout of “The Photographer’s Rights”. I’ve never had the need to pass that information out. The cards are a very good tool for lowering of tensions or in some cases complete disarmament and a cessation of hostilities. People respect, (remember that respect thing), if you’re working much more so than if they suspect you’re on holiday out for a stroll at the zoo.
Know Your Rights
Take the time to know what you can and cannot legally shoot. This has nothing to do with Respect or Challenge … just common sense. Do some research on the internet to familiarize yourself with your rights. Print out a few copies of “The Photographer’s Rights” and always take a few with you. The Constitution protects and ensures the Street photographer to work the streets. But there are a few catches like private property and an individual’s expectation of privacy. As an example, say a pedestrian has a wardrobe malfunction and disappears into an alley to correct the malfunction. There is an expectation of privacy created by the person diving into the alley and the Supreme Court states that expectation of privacy supersedes the fact that the person is in a public street. “So don’t go chasing that person into the alley, give them their space and respect.”
Remember that just because you have the legal right to capture an image, does not mean that you should.
I tend to shoot everything … even kids. Yes, children. Children have no greater right to privacy than an adult. A mother bear type has never accosted me, frothing at the mouth, telling me about her children’s civil rights and of laws that don’t exist.
(Then again I’m not sneaky about how I shoot … which may or may not have any bearing.) Just because you legally can do something, does not make it ethically right. I no longer shoot the homeless. As a former journalist, I recognize that there are at least two sides for every story. I also recognized that my homeless photos were only telling my side of the homeless story. I knew what I had to do to shoot homeless with a fair and equitable presentation. So until I sit with them and spend some time with them and learn and capture their story … my images were exploitive at best. So I no longer shoot the homeless. For me, I don’t see a real challenge in shooting homeless. Unfortunately the homeless are plentiful and they usually are sedentary. What challenge is there in shooting something you see everyday that doesn’t move?
Think about what you are shooting. Think about how you would feel if you were the subject and the subject had the camera. Think about it when you take the shot and think about it later when the shot is processed. Often, shooting with Gestalt, can make an image whose principal value is shock into a meaningful sublime image. Shock can be great … but often shock is so overpowering that it becomes the only message.
Shoot by listening to what drives you … listen to your gut and heart."
This guy had a good career at street photography/news
photography and his wisdom about the matter might be something to think about.
No, that would be you.
Haven't really had a problem but i dont do this much? Only if i see a "gotta have " shot i guess or i think i see something worth shooting? I have had police called on me 1 time. They looked through my camera photos and said i was in my "legal right" and left again. I was confronted once but eased the tension down. Most people just ask why or look confused. I usually have just said "it's something i do" and introduce myself pleasantly. The last one that got upset at me was actually ANOTHER photographer which apparently submits photos for a newspaper here and has a website but doesnt like his photo taken.. Odd eh? I hardly ever shoot street though unless i see something and happen to be there. And have little experience.
Well i guess the lady running for city council was upset when i took a photo of her smoking a cigarette. So maybe their been a "few". Generally i dont bother people or do a lot of that stuff though. Well i guess the bank too. They said it was illegal to take photos in a bank. But they had me on video right? Certain people (you know if they look like they doing a drug deal or carry a weapon) you might be better off avoiding....
Oh and the walmart incident....
Street photography subjects are always friendlier if you have big breasts.
i've changed my strategy. i shoot and walk. which i see is mentioned in gryphonslair99's post. zero connection with my subject. i don't smile (unless they smile at me, most recent example is a kid that was taking a photo of me with his mom's iphone and the mom though it was hilarious that i whipped a camera out in turn), i don't apologize, i don't explain. my body language is the same as if i'm late for a meeting. no one has accosted me severely since. i've heard a a few "hey, did you just take a picture of me?"s as i walk away, and i either completely ignore it or say "you bet" with a tone of finality -- nothing comes of it.
the blogs that say smile, compliment, and everyone will be nice are nonsense. act like you're in the city because that's where you are. and that's where i spend most of my life, so it's not hard for me to put off a "i'm working; don't talk to me" vibe.
i also don't care about the weird pride thing. 25 percent of my shots are from the hip. gives me a different angle and i'm not trying to prove anything by putting a camera to my face. it does not hide the fact a photo was taken; they can tell when you point a camera at them no matter where you're holding it from. what it does, in addition giving you variation in angels, is give them less chance to make a stupid face because it's faster. plus i've started using 28mm, so it gives me an extra arm's length. when i say "from the hip" that's usually reaching out at them with the camera.
i often ask for shots despite the zealots speaking against it, especially if it's a pretty girl or the marginalized like transgender. street portraits look great.
common sense all the way. i don't shoot dope boys, homeless, or the mentally ill. duh.
reading about street photography before trying it was a huge mistake. photo books of styles you enjoy are all that's of benefit. but i'm happy to have my style started and i'm ready to develop it much further.
if you take street photography that isn't a bunch of shots of old ladies walking away, you will encounter conflict. you gotta decide if it's worth it. i think it is.
one girl i was stuck on the subway with asked, "what thefuck are you doing?" but she was making eyes with me before i started snapping and i needed to use a flash because it was in in the subway, so i know there was going to be conflict. when i replied "taking your photo" like it was a silly question she shrugged and started posing. she smiled and said bye to me as she got off at her stop. another guy pulled out his leica and snapped a shot of me in return. the reactions you get are part of it.
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