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Friday, January 9, 2009

On Taking Candids

Underground Singer, NYC
Photo by myself on the subway platform at 59th Street, Columbus Circle.

A singer crooned for a captive audience on the downtown platform. These days, musicians perform in subway stations, on platforms and in the trains themselves.


Readers have asked me whether I've encountered conflict when taking candid shots.

Well no. Not yet.

The benefit of living in New York is that you can always pretend to be a tourist, which is precisely what I plan to do if the occasion arises.

There have been times when, taking a photo of people ten or fifteen feet away, I see a glimmer of recognition. Someone will look at me directly, and they are thinking, 'Oh dear, she is catching me on film'.

About half the time people look apologetic, thinking that I wouldn't want them in my viewfinder. Most of the time, people look down and hurry away. Very seldom do I get an angry look, which I find surprising.

It was remarkable to listen to Max Weber speak a couple years ago, at a New York photoblogger event. For the last few decades, he's shot gorgeous, striking black and white photos of New York.

Weber confessed that as a 6 foot-plus man sticking his camera in peoples' faces, he encounters a lot of aggression on the streets.

Perhaps it's safer to be a 5'-3" woman?

Related posts: Inspiration, Could You Keep it Down? and All That Jazz.


Fredrik said...

Excellent shot! So well composed and interesting. Well done! I know what Weber means. I'm 6' 3.2" and my camera is huge so I can hardly disappear in a crowd.

Caprice said...

Photo interressante, le noir et blanc est une super idée ! excellent !

Jazzy said...

wow that's a brilliant photo!
what a treat, thanks for sharing.

chimesey said...

"About half the time, people look apologetic, thinking that I wouldn't want them in my viewfinder"

Yeah, I think that's the inbuilt reserve working favourably!

Vicente B said...

looking in the net for nice pictures of Ameria... I found them in this blog.... regards from the Mediterranean

Saretta said...

This is a great shot! Black and white works really well. Good job!

roentarre said...

This is simply amazing. You did this well!

Bernice and Dan said...

A couple of weeks ago, we met up with a band member with attitude down in the Union Square subway station. The band was playing swing music and two couples were dancing full out. We decided to video the dancers, and before long, as the band was packing up, one fellow came over and suggested we buy his CD since we had taken advantage of recording his music. We refused graciously, but several minutes later he came back and told us we were very rude in not paying for the music.