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RayPA
01-23-2008, 20:47
OK. There are lots of different styles and philosophies surrounding street shooting (street photography), and much of that has to do with the photographer's style, or approach.

Is your street shooting style:

a. Expressionistic In-Your-Face Gonzo—I'm the Photographer; I'm Taking Your Picture!
b. Humanistic—I'd like to take your picture, and with your permission I press the shutter release.
c. Unobtrusive and Stealthy—Ah, there's a moment, and I'd Like to capture the essence of that moment, unseen and unbeknownst to you. You will never know I was here.
d. I'm way too shy for this stuff. Real photographers shoot landscapes anyway.


:)

RayPA
01-23-2008, 20:52
I like the essence of the moment and remaining unseen. Carry on!




.

cp_ste.croix
01-23-2008, 20:58
I am a ninja.


But seriously, I aim for stealth, but upon confrontation am a mix of gonzo and humanistic. Does that make sense?

RayPA
01-23-2008, 21:00
I am a ninja.


But seriously, I aim for stealth, but upon confrontation am a mix of gonzo and humanistic. Does that make sense?

It does. I do the same. I cross all of the top three, but prefer the stealth.



.

jbf
01-23-2008, 21:09
I take on pretty much every one of those roles excluding the shyness part.

Sometimes i'm in your face taking your photos, others i'm stealthy. It all depends on the moment/situation/etc.


Most recently I'm shooting with the style of Gary Winogrand, etc.

RayPA
01-23-2008, 21:35
done. all's well.


:)

yots
01-23-2008, 21:38
Well then, I'll remove it as well :)

RayPA
01-23-2008, 21:54
Accepted, Pitxu. I've seen your work. I understand. I just don't want this thread to disintegrate. I've seen many threads here driven off topic. I'm just hoping folks become more sensitive to the original purpose of a thread.

Welcome back, btw. :)

Bingley
01-23-2008, 21:58
I like the essence of the moment and remaining unseen. Carry on!




.

Ray -- I, too, prefer this approach, although if someone notices I will try to smile serenely and inquire if they'd mind if I just... oops, I just pressed the shutter! I am more of the observer, rather than participant, school of street photography. Maybe that's why I prefer using a 50mm, rather than 35mm or wider, lens. It maintains a little distance.

jky
01-23-2008, 22:03
I am a ninja.



I'd be a chicken ninja.... the kind that would be discrete, but with the biggest butterflies in my stomach...

Sjixxxy
01-23-2008, 22:06
It varies quite a bit with me.

With my M3 its either stealthy, or expresionist, depending on the scene.

When I use my Speed Graphic, it is pretty much all Expresionist. That thingis hard to be stealthy with.

Far as my shooting experience has gone though, I find that my favorites that I've produced have come from the expressionist or humanistic options as you've described them.

RayPA
01-23-2008, 22:07
I'd be a chicken ninja.... the kind that would be discrete, but with the biggest butterflies in my stomach...

I think I like that rush.


:)

Honus
01-23-2008, 22:11
Now, what was the topic again? :D

I just voted and was shocked to see the results thus far. Evidently stealthy is quite popular these days. If I were Hillary or Obama I would start courting the stealthy vote ASAP.

Back to the topic - shooting street is a delicate proposition in this day and age (speaking as a US citizen). The police/security-guard group wants to throw 9/11 in your face, pointing your lens at a child turns you into a pedophile and people in general are quite irascible towards photographers. It's no wonder that stealthy is so popular.

RayPA
01-23-2008, 22:26
Now, what was the topic again? :D

I just voted and was shocked to see the results thus far. Evidently stealthy is quite popular these days. If I were Hillary or Obama I would start courting the stealthy vote ASAP.

Back to the topic - shooting street is a delicate proposition in this day and age (speaking as a US citizen). The police/security-guard group wants to throw 9/11 in your face, pointing your lens at a child turns you into a pedophile and people in general are quite irascible towards photographers. It's no wonder that stealthy is so popular.


I'm surprised too. I thought the Humanistic approach would lead. I really like all three of the options, and have used all three. Funny, at our last local RFF shoot I was able to watch Brad (streetpix) shoot with his 12-24 AF on a dSLR, and I would definitely categorize his approach as gonzo/expressionistic, and the results bear that out. Great stuff, but it's different from what us RF film shooters produced, and our approach was vastly different.


.

Doug
01-23-2008, 23:57
I like the subjects to be aware and at least tacitly accede to the photo, and like the interaction with the subject. But I'll often suggest they return to what they were doing when I interrupted them, as that's what had drawn my interest.

dan denmark
01-24-2008, 00:12
hello. i am thinking street photography is all about the moment, the instant. some scenes or instant events simply have to be captured for whatever personal reason and so the style i choose is expressionistic and unobtrusive. i think they can be one when you transcend the act of shooting and enter the realm of recording.

but today the laws are the same in favour of the subject everywhere and know no international boundries and the question exists for the unobtrusive photographer, "what do you do with the photograph?"

i think this thread should perhaps lead to another of your polls and ask that question, what does a street photographer who shoots unobtrusively do with the image? do you shoot and then ask permission or do you stealth away with a moment of someone's personal spirit?

when i shot this way (i still do, actually) we had no need for permission or releases, especially if we were a foreigner in a foreign country. we had the feeling in the 60s and 70s that the stolen subject had no rights, especially if the stolen spirit was from a country we european westerners felt were of a culture not like our own.

unobtrusive is one thing, stealth is another. respect and rights are yet other considerations, recording the moment yet another (not to be confused with the opportunistic artificial world proferred by the self enamored journalista). i prefer to think that nearly fifty years later i can exhibit my street shots of many kinds of western and non-western streets but there is always the chance in this new global world that a relative will recognise a violation.

sad but true. we do not shoot in this manner to intimidate but to reflect. how can this be justified without the relfection of ill intent?

this is a thought i have when i frame a shot. faces? how will the subject be enhanced or compromised by faces or recognisable characteristics? will i be approached the week before i die? too many things to think of nowadays.

so we steal. still.

dd

mfunnell
01-24-2008, 00:55
The humanistic approach is the most polite, for sure, but it can alter the naturalness of the shot. I prefer the stealth method not to hide or catch someone doing something silly, but rather to retain a natural look, like if I wasn't there. though all aproaches have their merits.I couldn't agree more. What I'm usually after is the naturalness, which generally constrains me to "unobtrusive" (though never sneaky).

...Mike

Spider67
01-24-2008, 01:34
When taking photographs of people I like the humanist approach...I had a magic streak of several month in a row when no one declined my qrequest.
I like parades when nobody's complaining about his picture being taken.
so it "humanist and stealth" for me.
My ideal would be "unobtrusive" being around people who forget that you are taking photos of them all the while.

lZr
01-24-2008, 01:43
I voted c option, but sometimes I go b option. It depends on the idea I have.
Sitemistic is correct, but people don't know that or don't mind about

Roger Hicks
01-24-2008, 01:49
Unobtrusive but not stealthy. I smile a lot. A lot of people smile back, before or after they've noticed I'm taking pics.

Cheers,

R.

rover
01-24-2008, 02:16
Where does politely going about my own business fit?

Not deliberately trying to be stealthy, but at the same time not being in your face either?

telenous
01-24-2008, 02:26
Ray, excellent idea for a poll :)

I 'd love to be more of a (c) but I fear I may in fact come across as (a). I don't do (b) often, mainly because of (d).

So, (a) it is for me, although there's a genuine effort to be (c).

The results are surprising, not so much because of the option that leads the poll, but because of the enormous difference it has to everything else. I wonder also whether people vote for the option that best describes what they themselves think they are, what they 'd like to be or what they believe others think of them as street photographers.

Arvay
01-24-2008, 02:33
I prefer to stay stealthy.
I was "brough up" on my country's habbits where you easily can be bet for your photoactivities especially when you are smiling at your model :)

And seriously, I prefer the "accidental" style of street photos look.

thafred
01-24-2008, 04:27
I 'd love to be more of a (c) but I fear I may in fact come across as (a). I don't do (b) often, mainly because of (d).


hahaha..Alkis, this is totaly what I was thinking when I voted..so I voted for a .

I have an 90mm lens now and will try to make more (b) shots because (c) and (a) is so weak with a tele ...

Ming The Merciless
01-24-2008, 05:36
I use all of the first 3 and prefer the stealth (why else would I have purchased the Konica Hexar AF black?) . I agree with johne -- Eavis is quite fine especially his color street work.

johne
01-24-2008, 05:40
IMHO this site is that of a modern master in street photography.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis

Note that most are shot with his guessometer! He is a master of light.
John E.L.Robertson

VictorM.
01-24-2008, 05:48
I vote "All of the above" ! Depends on what's appropriate.

amoz
01-24-2008, 05:55
I wonder also whether people vote for the option that best describes what they themselves think they are, what they 'd like to be or what they believe others think of them as street photographers.

Exactly! We'd like to be a fly on the wall, and I believe that is why option C is on the lead. Once we're really out on the streets, all good intentions have to be translated into some unobtrusive, but still part-of-the-action, kind of behaviour. Keeping the ability to snap at the right moment of course.

I believe you have to be up close and very attentive, and if you "feel the vibe" you'll be able to anticipate the full scale action.

Thus, I never understood how I could ask for permission to try and catch a fleeting look, gesture, etc.. I mean, I do but not for the street shooting style that I have in mind. Now if you'd talk about Martin Parr for instance, things change :cool: . Great photographer, very authentic images, and still he asks permission prior to every shot he takes.

kbg32
01-24-2008, 06:24
Ray, I do whatever the moment dictates. Though it is important to be as unobtrusive most times, I always look directly at my subject. Sometimes the most hidden is out there for all the world to see.

minoltist7
01-24-2008, 06:27
I prefer to stay stealthy.
I was "brough up" on my country's habbits where you easily can be bet for your photoactivities especially when you are smiling at your model :)

And seriously, I prefer the "accidental" style of street photos look.

Moscow is scary city :mad: . Once I had accident when some angry guy tried to break my FED for taking picture of his girlfiend ... but I even didn't take any shots, I just was looking through the finder to people walking

As for the style - it depends from cituation and city. Sometimes I take pictures openly, but in some places it's better for your safety to stay in shadows. For example, in Krakow I can take pictures openly, people are happy (or they don't care).

PlantedTao
01-24-2008, 08:20
I'd be a chicken ninja.... the kind that would be discrete, but with the biggest butterflies in my stomach...

yes, I would go chicken ninja...stealth with butterflies
sometimes more "in your face style", wanting that eye contact and tension in the photo...I believe when I'm in that mode, I have much better photos than the stealth...but I vote unobtrusive as this is how I normally feel.

Aziz
01-24-2008, 10:13
A mix of A and C for me. I'm always smiling though and won't take the shot if I get a weird vibe from my prey, I mean subjects :D

RayPA
01-24-2008, 10:55
Ray, I do whatever the moment dictates. Though it is important to be as unobtrusive most times, I always look directly at my subject. Sometimes the most hidden is out there for all the world to see.

That's an interesting thought. It's also the reason I think capturing the moment without being seen is important. Things change when the camera is seen by the subject (prey ;) ). However, sometimes the approach of A can happen so quickly that the subject doesn't know what has just happened.



.



.

Lol999
01-24-2008, 11:51
Always with the stealth, no interaction to spoil the effect.

eavis
01-24-2008, 13:22
Great discussion topic. (And thanks Johne!). Here's my viewpoint. I am 80% stealth and 20% in your face, and I almost never ask: Can I take your picture. But here's the thing: Some of the most amazing street photography is done when the subject knows about the shooter. Take Bruce Davidson's "Subway" -- he claims that is all done with the awareness of the subjects. Or take Alex Webb's shot of a hand extending from a grave during funeral in Florida -- the assembled funeral-goers had to know he was there shooting.

So here's what I am trying to say: There's huge upside to gaining the permission of your subjects. But here's the hard part: How do you do it?

Davidson did it on the subway by taking a book around of his work, which he showed to potential subjects, who often said yes to being photographed after seeing his work (having said no up till then). I don't have any books of my work (but I guess I could self-publish one and use that).

Or you can hang with your subjects for a long time and gain their trust -- and then you snap as you hang with them. You can tell from Webb's work that he has done that a lot. However, I just don't have the time to do that. I have a job to go to and a
family to hang with, so I don't have hours to spend gaining the trust of potential subjects. Then again, I could just start asking and see what reactions I get.

varjag
01-24-2008, 13:59
Davidson did it on the subway by taking a book around of his work, which he showed to potential subjects, who often said yes to being photographed after seeing his work (having said no up till then). I don't have any books of my work (but I guess I could self-publish one and use that).
If my memory serves me, Davidson produced the book only when questioned. It is not the same as asking permission before hand. He was also nearly mugged down there several times.

jky
01-24-2008, 16:27
I've realized that I'm 98% stealth when here in my hometown (Calgary, Canada) compared to when I'm in another city. When in NY, Vancouver, or any other place that's not my own neck of the woods, then I find a can be a little more in your face (have bigger [email protected]!!s to take that pic). I think it's the psychological "I may see this person again" type of thing - it's difficult for me to play tourist in my own backyard.
On a recent trip to NY, I felt so free to take any photo i wanted because there's no need to play tourist - heck, I was one! When in Rome, Paris, or where ever... I can plead ignorance - point, snap, walk away.... have trouble doing that here however.

This is something I'd like to get over... as I find my "out of town" pics to be better and more alive (to my own set of eyes of course) than the ones shot here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

PlantedTao
01-24-2008, 20:55
...
On a recent trip to NY, I felt so free to take any photo i wanted because there's no need to play tourist - heck, I was one! When in Rome, Paris, or where ever... I can plead ignorance - point, snap, walk away.... have trouble doing that here however.

This is something I'd like to get over... as I find my "out of town" pics to be better and more alive (to my own set of eyes of course) than the ones shot here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I agree...when on vacation I tend to be more bold and the photos just seem to be more alive, especially from the first day, when everything is new and fresh. The vacation seems to be an adventure, therefore I throw some of my shyness away to plunge in and capture the local culture.

I wonder how we can take that feeling and put it into our hometown shots??? Maybe it is time to take that tourist eye and apply it to my own "culture".

RayPA
01-24-2008, 22:00
I agree...when on vacation I tend to be more bold and the photos just seem to be more alive, especially from the first day, when everything is new and fresh. The vacation seems to be an adventure, therefore I throw some of my shyness away to plunge in and capture the local culture.

I wonder how we can take that feeling and put it into our hometown shots??? Maybe it is time to take that tourist eye and apply it to my own "culture".

maybe if we dressed like tourist, plaid shorts, striped shirts, Birkenstocks with white socks, zinc on the nose, sunglasses, a baseball hat. That's it! My attire for our next RFF San Francisco shoot! Who's with me? :D

PlantedTao
01-24-2008, 22:33
maybe if we dressed like tourist, plaid shorts, striped shirts, Birkenstocks with white socks, zinc on the nose, sunglasses, a baseball hat. That's it! My attire for our next RFF San Francisco shoot! Who's with me? :D

dress like americans?

jky
01-24-2008, 22:35
maybe if we dressed like tourist, plaid shorts, striped shirts, Birkenstocks with white socks, zinc on the nose, sunglasses, a baseball hat. That's it! My attire for our next RFF San Francisco shoot! Who's with me? :D
I'm Asian.... I'm a tourist where ever I go :)
No plaid needed here...

MikeL
01-24-2008, 22:43
I'm game, but I'm seeing more packs of black jackets and floods lately, or slightly pegged. Also dark or colored denim pants on men that's way too tight. Dude, what's with that?

For the next RFF shoot I don't care how cold it is, I'll wear mid-thigh shorts, brown socks, off-white walking shoes, and a white or sky blue nylon wind breaker.:)

Bingley
01-24-2008, 22:46
For the next RFF shoot I don't care how cold it is, I'll wear mid-thigh shorts, brown socks, off-white walking shoes, and a white or sky blue nylon wind breaker.:)

Dude! That's my wardrobe! :D

(just trying to blend in in SF ;) )

MikeL
01-24-2008, 22:51
Dude! That's my wardrobe! :D

(just trying to blend in in SF ;) )

Sorry Steve, I thought you went for blue socks. Uh, I didn't mean to single you out in any way, uh...:)

Ray, I like the 'smiling clueless' approach, since people think you're stupid, and if nothing else harmless. It also just seems natural for me, as you know.

RayPA
01-24-2008, 22:58
Sorry Steve, I thought you went for blue socks. Uh, I didn't mean to single you out in any way, uh...:)

Ray, I like the 'smiling clueless' approach, since people think you're stupid, and if nothing else harmless. It also just seems natural for me, as you know.


I'm seriously thinking it_just_might_work! After all, there is that twisted logic that says if you don't want to attract attention to yourself in public, make a scene. No one is more invisible than the guy walking against the flow talking and swearing to himself, or the guy on the median strip with the cardboard sign.
:rolleyes:



.

RayPA
01-24-2008, 23:04
I'm Asian.... I'm a tourist where ever I go :)
No plaid needed here...

LOL! My best bud is Asian. I've got to run this one by him!
:D

Bingley
01-24-2008, 23:08
Sorry Steve, I thought you went for blue socks. Uh, I didn't mean to single you out in any way, uh...:)

Ray, I like the 'smiling clueless' approach, since people think you're stupid, and if nothing else harmless. It also just seems natural for me, as you know.

Mike --

You're correct. Blue on one leg. Gold on the other.

Go Bears! :)

rbsinto
01-25-2008, 11:25
Very interesting topic.
Most of the time I shoot in plain sight. Not exactly "in your face", but with three motor driven cameras, vest and large bag hanging off one shoulder, I can't be called unobtrusive or stealthy.
Additionally, when I'm shooting street or homeles people, I usually ask for permission simply because I feel they are deserving of respect and the option of refusing permission should they so choose. By then taking the time to converse with them including introducing myself, shaking hands and never standing over them if they are sitting or lying on the sidewalk, I often put them enough at ease to get candid images.
Of course when the need arises, I've also learned to be stealthy, and by using wide lenses set to hyperfocus shot without lookin through the viewfinder, or by simply shooting quickly, (my cameras are all manual focus, but experience and practice have made me pretty good at sniping) I can usually get what I want.
The majority of the time I use SLR's, but for the last year I've also been using an S3 rangefinder.
For anyone who cares to take a peek and see some of my photos:
www.nikongear.com/alb/thumbnails.php?album=153 (http://www.nikongear.com/alb/thumbnails.php?album=153)

btgc
01-25-2008, 14:02
Moscow is scary city :mad: . Once I had accident when some angry guy tried to break my FED for taking picture of his girlfiend ... but I even didn't take any shots, I just was looking through the finder to people walking

This reminded me what I read in news some time ago - in Moscow some guy shot road worker when he damaged tire of his expensive car on some bits and bites laying on road for work needs.
Last year in Ukraina - Lviv, Chernivtsy - I went with light Mju/Epic and shot open, no probs.

wintoid
01-27-2008, 11:46
I'm too chicken to shoot street, even though I'd like to. As a result of being chicken, I don't think I'd trip the shutter without permission. I'm considering doing an "ask" project like Stpiduko from FlickR ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/eamon/sets/72157594526998899/ ) or perhaps participating in the 100 strangers project ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/discuss/ )

Blake Werts
04-03-2008, 13:15
Very interesting topic.
Most of the time I shoot in plain sight. Not exactly "in your face", but with three motor driven cameras, vest and large bag hanging off one shoulder, I can't be called unobtrusive or stealthy.

So I'm wondering if this isn't a better approach? Speaking from my own experience, when I see a photographer loaded down with their gear, I just accept that they are a professional on a "shoot" working a job assignment. I just give them enough of a glance to see if I can quickly identify their gear and just keep walking. The photographer is essentially wearing their intentions on their chest, really... "I'm a photographer and I'm snapping pictures..."

The "stealth" bobbing and weaving... I think that it may send a message to some that you are trying to "snatch" something without their knowledge. And for many, just knowing that gets a reaction that we'd rather not have to deal with.

Just a thought.

Nh3
10-03-2008, 09:00
So I'm wondering if this isn't a better approach? Speaking from my own experience, when I see a photographer loaded down with their gear, I just accept that they are a professional on a "shoot" working a job assignment. I just give them enough of a glance to see if I can quickly identify their gear and just keep walking. The photographer is essentially wearing their intentions on their chest, really... "I'm a photographer and I'm snapping pictures..."

The "stealth" bobbing and weaving... I think that it may send a message to some that you are trying to "snatch" something without their knowledge. And for many, just knowing that gets a reaction that we'd rather not have to deal with.

Just a thought.

I absolutely agree with you on this point.

People feel uncomfortable when you're sneaky with them, they feel your intentions are devious.

Its always better to knock on some one's door rather than sneak from a window.

shimo-kitasnap
10-03-2008, 09:11
I like to shoot from the hip. Seems to work pretty well. I find it difficult to do with a 50mm though, lots of heads chopped off. 35 and 40mm are easier.

sweathog
10-03-2008, 09:18
Generally go for stealth, but there are times when I go in-yer-face, or I get humanistic, depending on what the situation requires of me.

blackwave
10-03-2008, 13:49
I typically shoot first and apologize with a smile afterwords. It does the trick most of the time!

There are two sides to being a very large man while street shooting, though. The disadvantage is that all hope for stealth is out the window.. people take notice of me plenty, let alone making them wonder why the big guy is taking their photo. The advantage, however, is that though I'll sometimes get a scowl, people just don't usually voice their objections. I don't think I'm scary, but some apparently do!

What I find most curious about my personal style is that I have to actively walk around with my camera for quite a while before I hit my groove and really start shooting (and seeing.) Even in a crowded place, I'll shoot maybe three to five frames in 30-45 minutes. After that all of the sudden I'll start popping of a roll in the next 30 mintues. Confidence maybe, or possibly it's just a matter of settling into the environment.

ruben
10-03-2008, 14:38
Hi RayPa,

I am somewhat surprised you have reduced the styles and characters of the street photographer to four, and perhaps mutually exclusive choices.

Why ?

Cheers,
Ruben

jky
10-03-2008, 15:54
I absolutely agree with you on this point.

People feel uncomfortable when you're sneaky with them, they feel your intentions are devious.

Its always better to knock on some one's door rather than sneak from a window.

What about separate categories for "unobtrusive" and "stealthy"?
Whether shooting with a large DSLR or a p&s, I make it a point that people see that I am out taking photos.... I just stay out of their way...

robbert
10-04-2008, 23:16
Different approaches for different results.

Yesterday I asked a lot of people if I could take their 'street-portrait' and most of them were fine with it. Look through the viewfinder and wait until the photo smile goes away and snap!

I used to worry that these photographs are not 'real', but the moment of me taking their photograph in time is just as 'real' as them not knowing being photographed, just different.

Can't wait to see the negs later today :D

As to the poll, it's mostly B & C for me

ClaremontPhoto
10-05-2008, 01:25
I am amazed that the overwhelming majority here prefer the stealthy approach. And even call it 'candid' photography.

It is dishonest.

We are photographers, it's what we do.

I see skateboarders doing their thing, I see people eating fast food, I see people with iPods on buses. Many of us do something of our own interest and don't feel we have to hide it.

I just use a camera to make photos. I don't especially 'ask', but then again if somebody says 'no' with their eyes and body language I don't insist and rile them.

ClaremontPhoto
10-05-2008, 01:31
RayPA: This is so interesting. Thank you.

Tom Abrahamsson: I remember a gadget advertised way back which was a mirror mounted at a 45 degree angle you could attach to a lens. So as you could look as if you were photographing one way but actually photographing another way. Perhaps you could design and engineer a production run for the sneaky people?

yanidel
10-05-2008, 01:57
All four of them, living in a big city you need to adapt to situations. Sometimes there is a choice that has to be made, depending on this choice you will either get smacked, smiled to or ignored.

amateriat
10-06-2008, 18:24
My "style" is more coloratura (yeah, even shooting black-and-white)..that is, possibly several of the above at once, a sythesis. For me, there is no one-size-fits-all formula.


- Barrett

peripatetic
10-08-2008, 03:28
I don't try to be stealthy, just wander around taking shots - unobtrusive I guess. If noticed I smile and carry on, and if challenged I will step up to the plate for standing up for our rights.

As it stands we are allowed legally to take photos in public places and I won't back down if someone tries to intimidate me, but I certainly couldn't adopt a Winogrand style.

One of the great things about living in a tourist-heavy city like London is that most people assume you are trying to take pictures of the environment instead of them, so will politely try to move out of the frame. By that point the shot is gone anyway so I just smile and carry on. If I'm shooting digital I will actually snap off a frame or two of the picture they have just stepped out of. :-) Is that dishonest or practical? Both perhaps.

flippyot
10-08-2008, 04:33
I guess my style is 'stealth', but really I'm just there. I'll be sitting on a park bench or somewhere the best let me capture a shot and just wait while sometimes listening to my iPod (which sometimes creates my shooting mood).

The only time I'm 'in your face' is when I'm with friends or co-workers who know me and my quirky hobby.

I've never had someone yet approach me about taking picture, but I have a whole act planned out for it, I just hand them a card that says I'm a deaf mute and can't understand what their saying unless they know American Sign Language... Is this bad?

narsuitus
10-11-2008, 10:56
It depends on what I am shooting.

When I am shooting in a location where people expect to get their pictures taken (like a festival), I am in your face.

When I am shooting a gang member or someone who is likely to take offence, I tend to ask permission before I shoot.

When I shooting in a location where my actions are likely to get me in trouble or cause the subjects to deviate from their normal activities, I use the stealth approach.

However, I voted for “Expressionistic In-Your-Face Gonzo” because if I had to limit myself to one style; that is the one I would choose.

ClaremontPhoto
10-15-2008, 05:54
There's something creepy about being furtive or stealthy...

Yes.

Don't be a thief.

pesphoto
10-15-2008, 06:02
There's something creepy about being furtive or stealthy. I do Option A, "Gonzo", and with a smile. I often say "beautiful!" or "thank you!" after the shot. If I'm quick and I catch them unawares, just about everyone smiles immediately after the photo is taken. If they see me before I shoot, they often smile then too (which can change the shot, not necessarily ruin it, and even enhance the shot).

I just spent a few hours doing this on a university campus. I got so many smiles. Students are probably more open-minded and relaxed than the general public or businesspeople would be.

Don't agree. I dont want smiles. I've never had a problem.

Hultstrom
11-01-2008, 04:20
Very interesting poll, and indeed discussion. I also missed the walking around openly with the camera, snapping away, option. This often results in either of the four options in the poll. I picked stealth, because most subjects don't notice that I am taking their picture until afterwards. But most always, they notice afterwards and are awarded with a smile.

Some do notice just as I am taking the picture and then it can feel more like the in-your-face variant, even though I don't aim for it. Some times I ask politely, especially if the light is good and the person interesting so that I want to take more frames. Sometimes I am too shy, something I almost always regret.

/Michael

Squonk
11-01-2008, 06:08
i think this thread should perhaps lead to another of your polls and ask that question, what does a street photographer who shoots unobtrusively do with the image?

The question raised by dan_denmark is indeed an imporant one. In general, if we like taking this kind of unobrtusive (candid) street photos that capture a moment or a small story, we tend to want to share them, via the RFF forum, flickr, one's own website, or even via an exhibition or publication in a magazine or book. So what are the implications and risks of the current wave of "droit à l'image" and privacy laws if one chooses to do so without authorisation (which may not always be practical to obtain, even if one should want to)?

peterm1
08-28-2009, 01:08
I pretty much try to be unobtrusive - even if you ask permission first this never works for me as it changes the subject's demeanor. So I stand back with a longer lens taking the shot before they realize I have done so. Then I move on trying not to catch their eye. My demeanor pretty much tries to convey - Oh blast I was about to take a photo but you got in the way. Now I must try again. If I get the balance right this can be very disarming - even to having them apologize for their clumsiness. Unless of course they are playing a musical instrument where I feel more free to be in their face - I figure its hard to chase a photographer when you are dragging a cello.

Check out my Flickr street shots here. Its a pretty good guide to my style and approach. Mostly they are concentrating on what they are doing, talking to someone else or not looking in my direction.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Kozhe
08-28-2009, 02:41
Good thing ultra-wides (15) and even typical wides (35) is that unless your´re placing your subject in the damn center of the picture and shooting at 1 meter, they barely will realize they´re being "included"

skibeerr
08-28-2009, 03:19
I am a ninja.


But seriously, I aim for stealth, but upon confrontation am a mix of gonzo and humanistic. Does that make sense?


Makes a lot of sense to me, I do the same. A joke , a smile and confident behaviour when confronted.

Al Kaplan
08-28-2009, 05:22
Lately I've been going back through my old files, all the way to the early sixties when I was doing a lot of "street shooting" and I think my stuff shot with a Minolta Autocord twin lens reflex beats anything I've done since then with 35mm. I recently resurected a 1959 Autocord and bought a brick of 120 Arista Edu 400 from Freestyle. Now I'm thinking of buying 100 rolls because of the price break. For the past several years I'd been shooting street with a 15mm Heliar on a Bessa L.

As for style, sometimes I'm in your face, sometimes stealthy, but I act at ease and and will often get involved in a friendly chat with my subjects while continuing to shoot a few more frames.

http://thepriceofsilver.blogspot.com

OurManInTangier
08-28-2009, 05:32
I am witness to all that I see with my eye or the camera which is 'an extension of my eye.' I have only my conscience and personal moral compass to guide me through life and my photographic activities, whilst I have many character flaws I try to be good, sympathetic and show empathy in all situations. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail but I will always try to get a picture of what I see that has interested me or caught my attention. To do this I use a mixture of the posted options depending on circumstances and my intuition. As Jon Claremont, for whom I had a very high regard, posted here this may at times make me a 'thief,' something which I don't necessarily disagree with....I just hope that I may be considered a Gentleman Thief.

As so many of us shoot mono we all know that it's mostly shades of grey and we make our choices according to our own vision. If we're comfortable in allowing our images to talk for us then perhaps this is the most eloquent way to answer the question. Some will like what you do and some will not but your 'body of work' will speak more honestly than you....then it's just a question of whether your conscience is at ease with the way you go about your business.

IMOhumbleO

outfitter
08-28-2009, 11:36
I use "A" - if I see the subject first then I guess its stealth. I don't favor permission because you are asking someone to pose which isn't quite street photography and I find stealth sneaky and lacking in integrity. In your face allows you to interact with the scene and the subject without inviting them to pose. As the nature of street photography is fluid I guess everyone uses all three regardless of preference - whatever it takes.

Wallo
09-03-2009, 05:58
I answered unobtrusive. There is really nothing stealth or secretive about it, and most of the time people realize I'm there photographing either before the shot or certainly after it. I just try to stay out of their way and not affect the scene too much. I'm happy to take a shot if someone wants to pose, but that's not what I'm looking for.

FS Vontz
09-25-2009, 13:21
The only reason I like street photography(other than that you occasionally get something nice to look at out of it) is because I get a vague thrill out of taking pictures of strangers without their knowledge.

ElectroWNED
09-25-2009, 15:26
lately I've just been sitting in one busy spot, holding the XA to my face, and snapping away when something interesting walks into the finder...

andredossantos
09-25-2009, 19:22
Here in NYC, espeially in midtown, downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn there is no need to be stealthy. Most People just don't care and/or assume you are a tourist. Of course, if you fashion yourself a ninja and want to snap shots of a paricular person you can be sneaky. In any case, generally people are just in a rush and don't pay attention.

I spend most of my time shooting in neighborhoods that are not so nice. Granted, I only photograph people probably 10-15% of the time, But I've found that being sneaky in these types of areas is NOT a good idea. It actually can be dangerous because you will be assumed to be an authority figure, or someone who may be trying to catch someone in the act of some real or imagined illicit activity. Anyway, I've found it's almost always better to be obvious and thus, you are pretty much telegraphing that you are not a threat. What I do is I find an interesting spot and I stand there for a while then begin taking photos once a comfor level is achieved. If I get bad vibes i move on. Using old cameras, like my mamiya c330 or hasselblad also helps as they are more obtrusive. Anyway just my personal experience :)

Bill58
09-25-2009, 19:44
I most often "shoot and scoot", pre-focused/ f-stopped for hyperfocal distance w/ a 21 or 25, but read this story the other day in a Seoul newspaper and am thinking twice about this style, "(Thomas) Roszkowski came to Korea two years ago and said he was inspired by The Korea Herald's Photo Challenge. He went to the City Hall ice rink, camera and tripod in tow, in search of a winning image for the "Christmas in Korea" competition. When he noticed an old figure-skating ajoshi (man) dressed as Santa Claus, he thought he had found a winner. He shot from a distance, then moved in closer for the kill.

Moments later, he approached me, still on his skates and still dressed like Santa, and demanded that I delete the photo. I said no, and he pulled a knife out and grabbed my arm. I broke free and ran away, with him chasing me on skates and me screaming.

'As terrified as I was and yelling for help, nobody could understand me, and all they saw was a lanky foreigner running away being chased by an ajoshi Santa on skates,' said Roszkowski.

The lesson the photographer learned is an important one. Even though it's more difficult to approach your subject confidently, in the end, that confidence and openness leads to better photographs - and fewer knife fights. And sometimes it doesn't hurt to ask permission, especially when your subject is an armed Santa."

Bill

Carterofmars
09-25-2009, 21:02
Funny, I'm stealthy when further away from people. But, when I hit a very crowded corner say on Broadway or somewhere similar I bring the camera way up. I'm shielded by others and can snap as people come into view from behind other people. In that instant, folks are moving to fast and paying too much attention too not bumping into others.

Very busy/crowded corners rock!

hcm2009
10-16-2009, 01:50
So I'm wondering if this isn't a better approach? Speaking from my own experience, when I see a photographer loaded down with their gear, I just accept that they are a professional on a "shoot" working a job assignment. I just give them enough of a glance to see if I can quickly identify their gear and just keep walking. The photographer is essentially wearing their intentions on their chest, really... "I'm a photographer and I'm snapping pictures..."

The "stealth" bobbing and weaving... I think that it may send a message to some that you are trying to "snatch" something without their knowledge. And for many, just knowing that gets a reaction that we'd rather not have to deal with.

Just a thought.

Thank you, this is good news for new visitors.

selloutboy
10-22-2009, 16:53
I always try to be stealthy and just blend in the crowd/people :)

But when I do get caught or people realize I'm shooting them-- I turn into a Expressionist or Humanist depending on the reaction of the person i'm shooting :)

daveisbest
10-23-2009, 09:27
I typically shoot first and apologize with a smile afterwords. It does the trick most of the time!

What I find most curious about my personal style is that I have to actively walk around with my camera for quite a while before I hit my groove and really start shooting (and seeing.) Even in a crowded place, I'll shoot maybe three to five frames in 30-45 minutes. After that all of the sudden I'll start popping of a roll in the next 30 mintues. Confidence maybe, or possibly it's just a matter of settling into the environment.

Agree with all of this, I'd rather get the shot then deal with any consequences afterwards. So far I haven't had any adverse reactions to my style, so this may change if/when somebody gets really annoyed with me for taking their photo. It also takes me a while to settle into the groove. I have to be alone with no distractions, I can't listen to music while shooting and often turn my mobile phone off. There are days when I'll walk around for 3 hours and only get a handful of shots, and others when I'll finish a roll in an hour or two. Some days I just can't get into the mood.

As for my style, definitely C. If the subject notices me then I feel defeated and usually don't take the shot. I recently bought a right angle finder (Wintu) to help me become even more stealthy when I need to.

Calzone
10-23-2009, 11:58
Here in NYC, espeially in midtown, downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn there is no need to be stealthy. Most People just don't care and/or assume you are a tourist. Of course, if you fashion yourself a ninja and want to snap shots of a paricular person you can be sneaky. In any case, generally people are just in a rush and don't pay attention.

I spend most of my time shooting in neighborhoods that are not so nice. Granted, I only photograph people probably 10-15% of the time, But I've found that being sneaky in these types of areas is NOT a good idea. It actually can be dangerous because you will be assumed to be an authority figure, or someone who may be trying to catch someone in the act of some real or imagined illicit activity. Anyway, I've found it's almost always better to be obvious and thus, you are pretty much telegraphing that you are not a threat. What I do is I find an interesting spot and I stand there for a while then begin taking photos once a comfor level is achieved. If I get bad vibes i move on. Using old cameras, like my mamiya c330 or hasselblad also helps as they are more obtrusive. Anyway just my personal experience :)

I'm in NYC also, share the same experience, and shoot in a similar manor, as I also venture into desolate areas and take a bit of risk.

When I venture into the fringe, I often leave the Leica at home, but I then use a Nikon F3 non HP equipted with a motor drive and a AH-4 hand strap.

It is kinda in your face that it is an old film camera, gives me a bit of authority like I belong, because it is a big rig.

I doubt that anyone would bother me for my camera, because it is obvious that it could be easily used as a weapon.

Cal

chirquivad
10-24-2009, 18:39
I am not so hopeful. We'd have heard about it long before now.Plus, I would probably have had to pay for a computer upgrade.

januaryman
11-06-2009, 06:30
Stealthy but shy. If it appears I am being noticed, I just stop and take something else. At an art fair I was shooting some passers by when an artist exhibitor approached me and said he was sorry, but he didn't permit photographs of his art work. I bit my tongue and did not say "Who would want to photograph that stuff?" I did say that I had no intention of shooting art work, but was interested in the people. He thanked me and scurried off. I stayed and shot some more of the crowd.

Chris101
11-15-2009, 21:05
I think it's very interesting that there is ONE major style of shooting on the street, and that all of the minority styles have about the same number of adherents.

peterm1
11-19-2009, 20:34
I cannot buy into the shove it in their face and click the button school of street photography. People have personal spaces - invade that space at your peril. I much prefer to stand back and use a slightly longer lens to take the shot without their knowing. (This is one reason why I am now much more often using a digital SLR rather than a rangefinder and my favourite lens is now around 85mm. I will also crop more tightly if needed for the composition.) Invariably I am respectful - after all I want an image of someone looking and doing something meaningful and interesting, not picking their nose or scratching their bum. But I want to get the shot with out upsetting them and if pssible without their knowledge. Mostly I am not interested in taking a photo of someone staring at the camera like a frightened bunny. I need that moment in time when they are absorbed in what they are doing to make it work.

Here are some of mine.....tell me if I am wrong.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Doug
11-20-2009, 11:57
Peter, I sure wouldn't tell you that you are wrong. You get great results using your own methods, and that's what counts. I've enjoyed your Life in the Shadows series. Standing off with an 85mm obviously gives results that look different from closing in with a 28mm, even if the framing of the main subject(s) is the same. Some like the sense of immediacy and involvement the latter tends to bring, while others prefer the sense of a detatched observer of the passing scene... some like both depending on the mood or circumstances and some prefer an in-between approach with a normal lens. It can all lead to great photos with a personal stamp and wide appeal.

Oh Two
12-02-2009, 09:56
As for style, sometimes I'm in your face, sometimes stealthy, but I act at ease and and will often get involved in a friendly chat with my subjects while continuing to shoot a few more frames.

http://thepriceofsilver.blogspot.com

I'm with you Al. I may be 'in your face' but I've met more nice folks and struck up more interesting conversations shooting on the street than I would ever make living my otherwise mundane life. Why the hell does one shoot on the street if not for that? The only criteria for success shooting on the street?: The photographer must genuinely like people.

JPSuisse
12-02-2009, 10:31
IMHO this site is that of a modern master in street photography.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis

Note that most are shot with his guessometer! He is a master of light.
John E.L.Robertson

Hey johne,

Thanks for pointing this guy out; for me, his galleries are inspirational for sure!

JP

le vrai rdu
12-02-2009, 15:50
Strange debate, "in your face etc........."

You can do "in your face" or "long focal" and be respectfull imho (or not respectfull, even with a long focal lenght )

You just feel if it is okay with the people in front when you shoot

If you feel it is not, don't shoot, that's all

nonot
12-02-2009, 15:55
I try to possess a little of each of these qualities, I think the best photographers (not that I'm one of them) know when to use each. I lean more towards observational though, for the record.

Chemophilic
12-31-2009, 00:06
I agree with nonot. The style probably depends on the culture you are in too. In Hong Kong doing photography "in your face" is a quick way to get in trouble (at least from my experience there). I used my GRDI with an external finder set at "snap" focus and was able to get some okay shots unobtrusively.

Steve M.
01-25-2010, 20:24
If the decisive moment brings surprises, edit, edit, edit!

Before http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2742/4305087891_00b88093cd_b.jpg

After http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4012/4305087907_abcc58ff83_b.jpg

denmark.yuzon
01-26-2010, 00:59
in yo face shot:

http://i702.photobucket.com/albums/ww27/denmarkyuzon/0000333.jpg

stealthy

http://i702.photobucket.com/albums/ww27/denmarkyuzon/YosiBreak.jpg

humanistic:

http://i702.photobucket.com/albums/ww27/denmarkyuzon/000039.jpg

im too shy:

http://i702.photobucket.com/albums/ww27/denmarkyuzon/IceCream.jpg

im a little bit of everything...

blindlemon
01-26-2010, 01:42
I voted for the stealth option preferring to capture the moment, if people know that they are having their picture taken, either with or without their permission, something changes and it never looks natural to me.
One exception is the elderly, I quite often find that they are more approachable, love a bit of a chat, are agreeable to having their picture taken, enjoying the fact that someone is showing an interest in them.
I would never photograph children without the parents knowledge or consent hence I never photograph children because just asking can be a mistake .

kkdanamatt
01-27-2010, 10:52
There is no hard and fast technique that one can apply. I've used all of the above. The key to successful street shooting is to quickly recognize the shot and capture it the best way possible. Sometimes in-your-face works and other times it can get you in deep doo-doo. In NYC, I've found that most folks are too busy to make a fuss about it. But in NJ, I sometimes get "that look" from an annoyed suburbanite.

denmark.yuzon
01-27-2010, 17:13
we all get that look at some point of our shooting experience.. haha

Doug
02-01-2010, 13:20
The "looks" can be fun. The guy below was surprised; I hit the shutter just as he turned and saw the camera. The gal was a "may I?", maybe a bit embarrassed holding her drink and an eviction notice. :)