This will take some time...

Discussion in 'Film Forum' started by cellison, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. cellison

    cellison

    178
    Mar 18, 2006
    Canada
    I went out today armed with a Leica / 50mm Summicron for my first attempt at "street photography" in 20 years. Here are my observations so far;

    1) Contrary to what I expected, I got more people bothering/hassling me than when I walk around with my D200/17-35 behemoth. After taking one picture a woman came up behind me and shaking her head said "Taking sneaky pictures are you?" I replied "No, I'm recording what I see on the streets". She didn't seem to like that answer, shook her head again and walked away. She wasn't in the photo by the way.

    A little while later another woman walks up to me and says "What are you taking pictures of?" I said "Everything". She said "Am I in any of the photos? I want $10" I replied "No. I'm taking pictures of everything except you." She walked away.

    A short time later I walked into a camera store and the guy behind the counter sees the camera (which is weird because I tried to keep it out of view) and says "Oh a Leica, isn't that cute." I said "Yeah, I use cameras based on how cute they are" and promptly walked out of the store.

    2) Getting photos without people noticing you is hard. Getting photos without people noticing you and with nice composition is harder. I have a new appreciation for the genre and Ned's shot in particular.

    3) I realize now that I'll have to have the camera with me at all times. I witnessed so many fleeting moments that I missed because of either not noticing them soon enough or not being able to get the camera ready fast enough. I missed shots with the camera in my hands... not even having it with me will be unacceptable from now on.

    I've learned a few things already the main one being that the dreaded "confrontation" with people doesn't really bother me at all. This really surprises me, in a good way.

    I've also learned that I really like the rush of getting the shot while not getting noticed. I'm not going to guarantee that there are any good shots on the roll but the process was invigorating.

    I have a lot to learn but I'm sure going to have a good time doing it.

    I'll hopefully have some shots from the first roll in the next day or so.

    Chris
     
  2. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    It's the Leica learning curve Chris. Let's see some of those pics!
     
  3. Great post, Chris!

    So much truth in what you wrote.
    There are some days where I look forward to people asking me questions only to have some fun with them but there are other days where I just can't stand people thinking they're too important to have their pic shot without me paying them. Yeah, sometimes I want to punch a few right on their nose...

    Like the lady who asked 10$... I would have charged her 20$ just for listening to her stupidity and for losing a few seconds of my life. I swear, that would have been my answer to her.

    But shooting Leica involves such a high cerebral activity sometimes that it can be tiring. But I love the challenge and I love touching the camera! And I love the results!

    And what I love in a film Leica VS. Digital is that you are allowed only one shot to catch a scene/moment (comparatively to about 5-trizillion digital deletable-on-the-spot shots).
     
  4. Simple solution Chris - quit walking around with a trenchcoat on! :biggrin:And smile a lot!
     
  5. If you wanna take pics of people...don't work too hard to be unnoticed...just work to be ignored.

    Here in Taiwan, I get a lot of attention as a white guy taking pics of people. I get a lot of dirty "how rude!" looks from people who think I'm just exploiting hardship, strife, or whatever of a comparably disadvantaged society. Of course, I can try to push a tourist appearance or I can try to look more native; I can go on group outings that make me less conspicuous (the group is conspicuous, but then quickly ignored as it's somehow more legit than an individual)...I can even put on disguise like a gardener or a street worker and sneak the occasional shot in. Overall though...I just prefer to walk around in my regular street clothes, and hope nobody is too offended at the thought of me taking a pic with them in it.
     
  6. cellison

    cellison

    178
    Mar 18, 2006
    Canada
    I would have posted pics sooner but we just bought a house on Monday and as you can imagine that process is taking a lot of our time and energy. I'm hoping to develop a roll tonight.

    I agree that people asking for money annoyed me. To be honest though the incident didn't phase me in the slightest. I was onto the next picture within seconds of brushing her off.

    I like that there is one shot at getting the "decisive moment" if I might borrow the phrase. Not that I'm trigger happy with my D200, it's just a different approach with film that I'm actually more comfortable with.

    Hahaha, actually I tried to dress as average as possible.

    Yeah, the trick is to not look "suspicious" by trying to conceal what you're doing but to also not make to too clear that you are standing there with a camera ready to take someone's picture. It's a balance I'll get better at with time I'm sure.

    Chris
     
  7. sclamb

    sclamb

    Jan 2, 2007
    London
    I guess a 200-400mm would make you fairly unnoticed as you will be a long way away.:biggrin:
     
  8. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Chris, if you haven't seen it, go watch the Gary Winogrand video. Ned linked to it before, but in case you (or any street shooter) missed it, there it is again. His nervous-nellie approach catches them all off guard.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. gavin

    gavin

    555
    Oct 21, 2006
    So much truth in all the responses.
    I'm a very shy person and often feel the burning of everyones looks even though they aren't looking at me. The only way to get used to that is to shoot and keep on shooting. I'm doing a lot of shooting from the car nowadays, as it gives you a feeling of security compared to walking with the camera.

    Anyways, good luck on the new house and please post the pics!
     
  10. cellison

    cellison

    178
    Mar 18, 2006
    Canada
    I'm sure it would but it would also remove you from the immediacy of shooting with a short lens. I like the rush of adrenaline that I'm getting being up close and personal with the people I'm shooting.

    Thanks for the link Chris, I've seen that video and in fact have downloaded it to my mac for multiple viewings. His style was unique for sure. I've actually tried to emulate his shooting style a bit... I've been walking around with the camera held up near my face. :)

    I'll try to get a roll developed tonight (I have to wait until it's dark since I don't have any rooms without windows here and don't have a changing bag). I've already scoped out where I'm going to build the darkroom in the basement of the new house :)

    Chris
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017