April 24th, 2012, 04:23 AM
LOL! I suppose the voyeuristic component comes much more from the point of view of the voyeur than the subject. Not that I would ever know anything about the voyeurism!
Current Gear: A little bit of this and a little bit of that, but want more!
April 24th, 2012, 04:34 AM
Great set of pictures, love the natural effect you've captured when people aren't aware of the camera
April 24th, 2012, 06:44 AM
That's right in theory, but in practice I just don't find it usually works that way. Pete has shown its possible to get some nice moments with a long lens, but MOST long lens street photography to me FEELS more voyeuristic when looking at it than something taken from closer in. Not all, but most. And I think that ultimately has something to do with the mentality of the shooter. I think if you're willing to get within a couple or few feet of the subjects, something about that proximity comes through in the shot. Like you're in the scene, rather than observing it from afar. I know I feel like I've "earned" it more if I'm right there, shooting from a distance somehow feels like street shooting by remote control. I know that shows up in my shooting (on the couple of occasions I've done it from a distance) and I believe I see it in a lot of long lens street photography.
Originally Posted by blb
Once close, whether one raises the camera to the eye and is obvious about the shot or shoots from the hip and tries not to show his or her hand has more to do with whether the photographer wants to be part of the scene and involve him or herself in the shot or wants to be a mere observer and wants the shot to be as fully about the subjects' moment as possible and as little about the subjects' invovlement WITH the photographer. Its ALL voyeuristic in a sense but there are different types and degrees of voyeurism. To me, those distinctions matter. They may not matter to you or anyone else, but whether they matter to the shooter who's involved in the act is really the key question that usually affects the finished product.
Catching a butterfly with a 100 foot net is also a lot more difficult than a 2-foot net and you probably have a whole lot less idea about whether the butterfly is really worth catching from that distance. To stretch your analogy.
April 24th, 2012, 07:14 PM
Ray - I noticed that "hole" in my net analogy as well. Certainly, the photographer gets the feel of the scene more when shooting up close and personal and, at least in theory, I can imagine that this can be communicated to the observer, but assume that is sometimes more important to the photographer than the viewer.
Maybe it's simply that there is a different sense I get from some long-lens street shots that I like. In, for instance, the image that others responded to so strongly in which the one guy is sharp against a blurred fore and background - part of the "creepiness" or uniqueness of the photo is that I have the feeling that, as if I am looking through the wrong end of the binoculars, though he appears far away, he is actually seeing me quite clearly. It is this sense that makes it an emotional shot - like I didn't know I was being watched until I enlarged a crowd shot. It feels as if voyeur and subject have been switched. Or, I've spent too much time looking at screens today.
April 24th, 2012, 07:39 PM
I like it!
I've seen some documentaries of folks shooting street with wide angle lenses, and it seems to me that they have to get so close to their subjects that instead of getting pictures of people being themselves (which I sorta thought was the point of street), they are actually getting pictures of people reacting to having a camera shoved in their faces . . . which is my long and windy way of saying I think your 70-200 experiment has merit.
April 24th, 2012, 09:06 PM
I'm not at all saying it can't be done - in fact I agreed that Pete DID IT in that shot. Just that its less likely, happens less often, etc, with long lens shooting than with closer, wider shooting. But, there are no rules, and a good photograph is a good photograph and that's a good photograph! But its worth thinking about general trends in what works and what doesn't, if for no other reason than to get the aspiring street shooters like some of us around here thinking about what we're doing in different ways.
Originally Posted by blb
And Jock, there are different philosophies to street shooting but mine is to NOT stick the camera in anyone's face, to get close enough to get a shot with some emotional impact without becoming the focus of the shot myself because the subject is reacting to me. Whether that requires "sneaky-ness" or "stealth" or "subtlety" I guess is in the eye of the beholder. If the subject is reacting to me, then I generally consider that I've failed (although those shots sometimes work despite that failure, so nothing is hard and fast). And some shooters TRY to interact with the subject and make themselves part of the shot and some of those folks make it work really well and others don't. Lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat, but its very possible to get very close without sticking the camera in anyone's face or generally having them be aware of being photographed at all, or at least not until after exposure has been made.
April 25th, 2012, 07:03 AM
Originally Posted by Ray
Thanks for the reply. In my mind, getting the photograph without having them be aware of being photographed is the goal. That, it seems to me, is what Cartier-Bresson achieved so well.
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