Do people know you’re taking their photo?
A friend of mine recently asked me an interesting question about street photography. “Do people know you’re taking their photo?” The answer is: sometimes. It made me think about the approach that I take to street photography which is to capture candid moments, whether people realise that I am there or not. I’m practising candid photography.
When I’ve reviewed shots of groups of people, sometimes I can see them become aware of me, point me out and then strike a pose. The better shots are almost always before they notice me, or after they become bored of me. But that isn’t the case every time. Sometimes the best shots are at the point of realisation that I am capturing their image.
GETTING CLOSER to get better candid photography
A Sony a7sii isn’t that obtrusive when a lot of tourists are rocking around with giant DSLRs. The 35mm lense does make things a little more obvious, but there are so many people with cameras of all types on the streets that I mostly blend in. Of course, Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” and I shoot on a 35mm so I am often quite close when I press the shutter.
A brief & UNSATISFACTORY ethics of street photography
I once went on a date with a girl who asked whether I got people’s consent before I took their photo on the street? Her position was that to take anyone’s photo in any situation you required direct consent. The legal position in Australia and most Western nation is (fortunately for me) on the balance of favouring the free exchange of ideas, which includes street photography. That doesn’t satisfy a lot of people though.
Why candid photography?
There is an entire generation of people growing up with cameras and social media, there is people have an increased sense of ownership over their image. That’s what makes candid photography interesting to me. The technology in smart cameras does make everyone a photographer, and it also gives a huge amount of control over how people present their images. If I’m trying to do anything, it’s to show different moments than what people would ordinarily choose to reveal about themselves.