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10-20-2010, 10:38 AM   #16
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To become a real camera fiend takes a bit of dedication, perseverance, work. We've had many threads here about strategy-tactics-ethics of shooting in public. (Maybe we need a club or sub-forum on public photography.) Basically you must decide how much you really want a shot, and what you are willing to to to get it.

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO FOR A PICTURE? People are usually the most interesting subjects, and you have options: Be pushy and close. Be discreet and distant. Act official or professional or touristy-curious or crazy-insane. Shoot alone, or with another, or in a group. Disguise yourself or your gear, or not. Talk to subjects, negotiate-manipulate-distract, or not.

If you aren't shooting in your own small community where everybody knows you, you have a great possibility: RE-INVENT YOURSELF. Travel or movement of any sort puts you among others who know NOTHING about you, so you can be whomever you want. No matter what you are at home, on the road you can re-invent yourself as A PHOTOGRAPHER, which is a sort of spy. Spies have 'legends', cover stories, narratives of who/what they portray. Your choice of gear is your cover.

For instance, I'll shoot in nearby towns here in the California Gold Rush country, or in other quaint hillside towns in Arizona or Zacatecas or Guatemala. I can dress sloppy and wave a point-and-shoot and be a tourist. Or I can dress more serious and hold my K20D+DA18-250 and be a photojournalist. Or I can dress in black and use a 6x9 folder on a tripod and be a historian.

Be an actor. Put yourself in a photographic role. Student? Artist? Clown? Reporter? Snob? Slob? Cop? Tourist? That fear you have is STAGE FRIGHT. One cure: Take acting classes and/or join a local theatre group. Everyone there will gladly pose for you, and you'll quickly learn to present yourself in different ways. Partly that's de-sensitization. You get used to it. So do it.


Last edited by RioRico; 10-21-2010 at 01:13 AM. Reason: spelling
10-20-2010, 11:09 PM   #17
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I just booked acting lessons for the next 3 months, and then when i finish with those i will start my photography lessons
10-20-2010, 11:19 PM   #18
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With Halloween coming up, use a costume to your advantage.
10-21-2010, 03:50 AM   #19
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I have a pro photographer friend who belongs to a local acting troop. He has no fear....and he always shoots with a smile.

I got busted taking a picture in Shoprite a few months ago. My shot came out boring and blurry because I got bum rushed so fast.
I just kept on walking (while being reprimanded for not getting permission) and, at the end of it, I said "ok...thank you", paid for my sandwich and left.
It didn't get my heart rate up one beat!

10-21-2010, 04:45 AM   #20
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Great insights RioRico. With the relative aptitude and attitude in mind, it's the approach that gives you the best possible result in portraiture/spontaneous people shots/street shots. It may require a level of assertiveness, or it may demand stealth.

Then there's the creative eye and what it can see to reproduce the scene before him/her the way it is perceived mentally prior to the shot. These are only but a hint of what makes the spirit of a photographer IMO.
10-21-2010, 06:34 PM   #21
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yep,
I even shoot to where people are everywhere,
dont mind them
10-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #22
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Basically what's the worse that can happen when you shoot people?
- Get yelled at, and delete photos
- Camera broken after thrown on the ground by the person photographed.
- Black eye after a punch from the stranger that you photographed
- Or a lovely candid photo that you will never forget, at a place that you might not go again in your life?

10-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by fekish Quote
Basically what's the worse that can happen when you shoot people?
IMHO anyone interested in street-shooting must read THE EYE OF EISENSTAEDT, about pioneering photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt. Eisey shot some of the iconic images of the 20th century, most famously the sailor kissing the nurse on VJ day. His approach: he was just a little guy with a little camera. "Oh, I'm just taking snapshots," he'd reply to challenges. Although some early shots of streetwalkers had their pimps chasing after him as he ran away. In most settings he dressed like his subjects: suited for formal affairs, casual for parades, etc.

So Eisey was generally a chamaleon. He also said that his work didn't require deep intelligence, just FAST intelligence, knowing how to react quickly. Anyway, everybody should hit a library and read the book.

What's the worst that can happen? I avoid pointing a lens at serious people with serious weapons, so I skip the worst possibilities. Whew!

10-22-2010, 04:18 PM   #24
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That might be a good read, but the times have changed. There's a lot more angst and mental illness now than back then.
10-22-2010, 04:26 PM   #25
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Not to mention extra privacy laws that would make a photographer think twice about taking photos in public.

And of course the growing public skepticism...
10-22-2010, 07:50 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO FOR A PICTURE? People are usually the most interesting subjects, and you have options: Be pushy and close. Be discreet and distant. Act official or professional or touristy-curious or crazy-insane. Shoot alone, or with another, or in a group. Disguise yourself or your gear, or not. Talk to subjects, negotiate-manipulate-distract, or not.
Not trying to take your advice out of context, or direct anything at the OP, but just to add more info for anybody who's interested.

One thing to keep aware of (mostly in foreign countries or cultural situations) it is to always best to be respectful of peoples traditions and to a certain degree privacy in certain situations.

I spent some time in Luang Prabang, Laos (pronounced LAO please ). A beautiful city with friendly modest people and ancient customs. Well worth a visit. In the early mornings Buddhist monks (many just boys) come from the various monastaries to collect Alms (food offerings) from the village families. This is a ceremony that is done quietly and calmly. It is very beautiful to see the orange and saffron robed monks walk down the frangipani scented roads collecting small amounts of rice in their baskets.

Of course, the opportunity for spectacular even money-making or album-making shots can come from sights like this. Many people sit far away from the monks and quietly observe and maybe take some discreet photos, this is fine. But many tourists (I venture that most are of the short-term package variety) run right up to the boys faces with huge slrs snapping off photos like they are in some theme park. Its quite sad and degrades the culture (and makes hardcore travellers like me cry when I realize that another special place on this earth is ruined forever.)

Anyways, I digress... I know most people are intuitively respectful in most situations out of common sense, but not all! For my part I didnt even go out to see the monks, I couldn't bear to see the sights from the photo of the sign below, which was incidentally posted on many restaurants and shops in the city.

Last edited by Deimos; 04-16-2011 at 07:40 AM.
10-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #27
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Interesting sign of the times.
Don't you feel you missed a good photojournalistic opportunity by not taking a shot like the one in the sign? (perhaps better if being lower than the monks)
Please don't feel offended, but reading your story it seems to me you wanted something that's quite similar to what those tourists want (thankfully you are more respectful)
Again I'm not trying to argue, I'd just like to understand.
10-22-2010, 09:46 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by mdf Quote
Interesting sign of the times.
Don't you feel you missed a good photojournalistic opportunity by not taking a shot like the one in the sign? (perhaps better if being lower than the monks)
Please don't feel offended, but reading your story it seems to me you wanted something that's quite similar to what those tourists want (thankfully you are more respectful)
Again I'm not trying to argue, I'd just like to understand.
Not really. Yes I would have preferred to somehow have taken in the experience and maybe a couple of long distance shots. But it has become such a circus (and many greedy Lao locals are also responsible for some of this) that it was not worth ruining my image of the city. (I have many nice shots of LP anyways, many with monks) And certainly not worth ruining an age old ceremony for the sake of some trophy photo for me to brag about, after all once the authentic culture is gone, its gone, no more photos for anybody... My wife went to see how bad it was, kept her distance and did take some shots of what was happening. Sadly because so many ppl rush right up to the boys/locals faces, it ruins the shots for everybody. If everyone sat far enough back, (even the other side of the street!) had some respect, the monks would have their space and a bit of privacy and ppl would still get some nice shots and everybody would be able to enjoy the sights. Rather than this: (and this shot was on a QUIET street! 10x zoom, lumix compact)

Last edited by Deimos; 04-16-2011 at 07:40 AM.
10-23-2010, 05:30 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
That might be a good read, but the times have changed. There's a lot more angst and mental illness now than back then.
Really? Among other stuff, Eisey covered the rise of Fascism, which was nothing if not mass insanity -- one of his signature images is a fairly close shot of propaganda minister Goebbels glaring hatefully at the little Jew photographer. Eisey's mentor Dr Erich Salomon and his family were murdered in a Nazi death camp. Plenty of angst and craziness were available in the 1920's and 30's.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Not to mention extra privacy laws that would make a photographer think twice about taking photos in public.
And of course the growing public skepticism...
Ask any journalistic or documentary photographer if they hesitate to shoot in public, any more so now than in the past, and where and why. And with the proliferation of dSLR-wielding tourists and snapshooters, not to mention ubiquitous surveillance cams, how can any public space now be considered photo-free? And I'm not sure what "growing public skepticism" you refer to.
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