I've been trying to take photos in the field, which is really challenging.
It's a little like fishing, where you have to wait for whatever comes along. Red deLeon, who spoke at the NYC Photobloggers talk last night, expressed the same thought. He showed his early work, which were 'random' shots taken while he walked around New York. Feeling that his pictures depended too much on chance, he turned to fashion photography and the controlled environment of the studio.
Matt Weber, on the other hand, is a vigilante photographer. Last night he shook his fist, saying that he didn't like portraits, because he 'didn't want to take what people simply gave him'. So Weber's photos are candid, stark, black and white. He admitted that what drives his confrontational style was anger. The city was changing, and he was pissed.
I've only carried my camera around with me a short time, and I've learned a few things. The relationship between photographer and subject is something like a power struggle. Neither one wants to go quietly.
It all starts the second the camera comes out of the bag. Everyone tenses up a little. People begin to fidget. They give you darting, suspicious looks. It doesn't matter how non-chalant you are or how benign you look.
I was on the subway the other day and I was struck by how one female passenger was sitting with her pretty, patterned shoes. Nearby, a fellow in dress shoes held onto the pole.
I was capitvated by their shoes. Their shoes spoke to me, but their shoes (and their owners) didn't want to be photographed. Her foot kept bobbing up and down. He twitched. The subway shuddered. I must have taken six or seven shots, and every one was blurry. It was frustrating. After a while, I put the camera down.
After I did, the subway car relaxed. Life went back to normal.
Upper photo, taken on the subway platform in Brooklyn.
Lower, blurry photo taken on the R train.