Street/Candid/Discreet Photography: its perks and pitfalls

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by macmackie, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. macmackie

    macmackie Member

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    I love street (candid, or whatever you want to call it) photography. I think it’s probably one of the most riveting and mesmerizing forms of photography. Unfortunately as captivating as it is to look at, an underlying drawback is ever present. The subject most often ignores this drawback as present and probably most photographers turn a blind eye to it as well.

    As I look at these beautiful works of art, I can’t help but have this gut feel. What if the subject doesn’t want to photographed? Regardless if the subject lets the candid shot pass, it’s still a yearning worth talking about. Are we as photographers violating their privacy? Personally I’m not a 100% comfortable shooting street. But I do love seeing those photos, standing in awe and coveting that I could have done that shot.

    I’ve been to events where (weddings and such) wherein obvious covers and shooting are done for remembrance sake. I’ve encountered an instance that one gentleman, a guest at the event specifically commanded the official photographer not to shoot him candidly. The photographer courteously obliged. Long story short, that gentlemen later on loudly complained that the photographer shot him or he think the photog shot him especially because he was shooting people who are near him.

    Like it or not, there will be people in our way who are like that. People who will be very possessive for example who thinks they own the event you are shooting. How do photographers handle them? What about those paparazzos who lurk and hunt their subjects? This Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia article probably summarizes what I feel. Although that wiki article is pretty much unbiased, I can’t help but feel for the subject whose portrait was used to earn money as an artwork of the photographer who shot it without him knowing. Beautiful as it is, it's still the subject's face on it. And the court ruling in favor of the photographer adds to my personal bias to the subject’s sentiments.

    As photographers, where do we draw the line between respecting people’s privacy and artistic expression?

    While at it, these are some of my candid work, hoping that as I post this, I’m not violating a basic rule of humanity which is the right to privacy. It's lame and not as beautiful as Simon Hoegsberg but I'm working on it.

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    Binondo Beggar

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    Mang Ramon's Sellers

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    Ondoy's stricken victims

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    Bora honeymooners

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    #1 macmackie, Oct 23, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  2. rexfuge

    rexfuge Member

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    heres mine...

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    Dine Out



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    Masarap Ang Bawal
     
  3. cnight

    cnight Member

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    any tips for street shooting in manila? what gears to use? what things to avoid?
     
  4. imabs

    imabs Active Member

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    thanks for sharing your thoughts on street photography, macmackie.
    since the day when i was a photographer for Philippine Collegian, there was mixed emotions of being guilty of shooting people especially the beggars on the side walk. i asked myself, why do i shoot these people? for what purpose and for what theme?. Photography is used for revealing realities of human conditions. without overcoming that guilt. realizing my purpose, that is to bring a message through photos, that emotion was gone and my purpose was clear. as an artist, i never mind of what people will react if i shoot randomly, mahalaga yung na-capture ko yung moment. i can get interesting ideas from what i photographed. hesitant to shoot at an idea in front of you will be a regret afterwards. events of people around us easily pass by. ika nga, tira lang ng tira.

    aggressive photographers bring a number of lenses and bodies. fear is another thing to cause hesitation to shoot. laging iniisiip baka nakawin ang D90, D700, 5D MkII etc habang nagshoshoot ako. hehehe. for me, just make sure that when you are shooting in Tondo or any place that you think of, bring a long a friend with you, syempre dapat photographer din. i always make sure that i am secured and shoots fast in any place and time. best time for me to shoot is in the morning and in the afternoon of everyday. maraming nagaganap sa kalye. at minsan kapag di ko bitbit ang D60 ko, marami akong namiss na ideas.

    so keep on shooting, guys. don't love seeing photos but you must be the one to capture the images of everyday events of life.
     
  5. incrediblue

    incrediblue Member

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    Shooting with a swiveling LCD screen (they call it 'free angle') on a "small" camera set-up is not intimidating and lets you get up close discreetly...

    This photo was shot with a Lumix GH1 held at waist level, fitted with a 7-14mm ultra-wide zoom.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. barre05

    barre05 Well-Known Member
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    That's a really good question, and me and my photographer friends (we're just hobbyists, not pros, though) were talking about that a few weeks back, too.

    I understand your problem, that when are we encroaching on others' privacy. I guess, there is no definite answer, since some people (especially from the lower socio-economic class) love being photographed, candid or otherwise, while some people abhor being subjects of a photo. It varies from person to person, and place to place.

    My friend even mentioned that in Paris, when taking a picture of a street, you have to ask permission from everyone that'll be included in the shot if it's okay. Grabe, no? But I guess it really varies with every given situation. Pakiramdaman na lang, hehe. :)

    Street photography is indeed nice, though admittedly very difficult to be good at, moreso master. But when you do get it right, it provides some interesting stories.

    Oh, and by the way... Nice photos, bro.:cool:
     
  7. catalysmic

    catalysmic Well-Known Member

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    IMO Street shots.. really is about candid & raw as it can be.. unllike simulated scenarios & w/ models & actors.. na bayad at trabahao lang..

    shooting beggars & depressing situation for ART & expression sake is BS .. its the same as documenting ER procedures & crime scene situation.. provocative & in your face truth.. so what?

    bottomline is .. it is till self serving and obvious exploitation of the the subject helplessness or incontrol of his situation.. damn very immoral.... photographers wannabe who shoots this style n subject really need a love & understanding ng family..

    do our photo holds promise that they're lives will get better or bring food to their table..?

    street photography that showcase.. depressing & down of luck subjects does not bring anything to them...

    tayo ba papa picture habang nagluluksa o nagdurusa ? o namamalimos sa kapitbahay ng pangkain? o naubos ang pera at tumira sa kalsada n lang.... papa piktyur ka ba sa besfren mong balikbayan ng laseng ka at sumusuka o di kaya bagong gising at may panis n laway?

    Art ARt ? that is lame excuse.. hypocrisy at its finest..
     
  8. catalysmic

    catalysmic Well-Known Member

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    Kung tatay mo ito o tyuhin mo o even dating HS klasmeyt.. po posterize mo ba siya ..dahil lamang estudyante ka ng photography o dahil may bago kang prime o ultrawide lens.... nakikita mo ba sa hidef viewfinder mo ang tunay niang saloobin at nararamdaman?.. kung makita mo man.. o mapahanga mo na ang karamihan kritiko.. ano ang naitulong mo pra iangat si manong..??

    same as a politiko striving to be elected.. photographer trying to be accepted & respected..

    bottomline... ginagamit lang un kahirapan at pagdurusa ng kapwa maiangat lang ang sariling interes..
     
  9. suavecito

    suavecito PhilMUG Addict Member

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    #9 suavecito, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  10. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    now that is what i call a croc of shoot. ;)
     
  11. Sleepdoc

    Sleepdoc Well-Known Member

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    a very volatile topic of debate. and a subject that we should discuss with an open mind and an open heart...
    i've had the experience of self-censoring a photo after i had taken a series of pictures of a premature baby we had delivered. she had been strong at delivery but her condition had gone from guarded to critical in a matter of days...
    i managed to document her plight, but, as strongly as i felt about the photo's merits, i couldn't bring myself to post the picture of her last days because of the emotions i had felt about her struggle...
    i had asked her parents permission and they've given it, but i was still conflicted as to my reasons for wanting to post it.
    i still haven't decided if i'm going to post it or not.
    i take pictures mainly for myself, as a journal, for i am not as good with words, maybe for my kids to peruse when i'm gone...
    so they see the world as their dad saw it...
     
  12. macmackie

    macmackie Member

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    Great insight. I honestly thought I was being over sensitive when I started the thread. I have to admit, I had that difficulty to shoot street/candid because I myself have a convoluted issue with privacy. I will never want to be portrayed apart from my own perception of myself. Selfish as it may sound, that probably caused that sickening gut feel that I just can’t ignore.

    I never thought I might have exploited anyone through an activity I really enjoy doing simply on account of I will never intend to. I thought I was already sensitive. Clearly, I probably should have been more. Neither did I think too that I was being selfish. Weird as it may sound, I find beauty in agony (probably as long it isn’t mine which is awful).

    I was looking for an affirmation (more like a “kadamay”) for that hesitation to shoot. Your opinion was it. Thanks.

    Will I still enjoy looking at pictures that are candid in nature? Yes.

    Will I still shoot street? Yes, on certain more respectable situations. And I can’t be apologetic and be in denial of the painful truthfulness of street.

    Will I still show my pictures to people? Sure, if they want to. Thanks to Catalysmic I know I shouldn’t promote it like DiCorcia did. For me luckily, I still think all my pictures have souls – they’re still art and not an excuse or even an ad campaign tool. My picture’s greatest fan and critique is myself. They exist mainly for my viewing and not anyone else. I choose what to show and who to show it to.

    Will that sickening gut feel during street shooting go away? I don’t think so. And I’m glad it won’t. Sickening as it might be for me, I’m willing to feel it if that will cause me to respect people as I shoot them.
     
  13. imabs

    imabs Active Member

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    as for me, i stand as a voice to bring the situation to attention. Photos/images speaks louder and touches the soul of every person who will see the images that i have captured.

    i am not shooting people for my own satisfaction but to let everyone know what had happen on the day that i have shot that photograph.

    di naman din ako papayag na piktyuran ko yung inosenteng tao na nagtatanggal ng pustiso nya tapos up load ko sa flickr? mapapahiya naman yung tao. and i made myself a photographer who puts anyone to shame.

    di ba, kahit candid group shots ng barkada, pag nakita nila yung pangit pagkakakuha sa kanila, di sila papayag na mai-up load sa internet. kasi Pangit at nakakahiya sa tao.


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    #13 imabs, Oct 26, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  14. rutchie657

    rutchie657 New Member

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    newbie here... less than a week... ahehehe... try lang po...

    Chinatown...

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  15. Dr. Mario

    Dr. Mario Member

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    [​IMG]

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    #15 Dr. Mario, Oct 26, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  16. dBAGZiq

    dBAGZiq Member

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    I first asked my subject if it's ok to take his picture...even discuss why take a picture of him...

    [​IMG]

    A fisherman fixing his boat after typhoon Frank hit Manila last year...picked this over the others for an exhibit since it shows hope...not just poverty.

    Taken with a Fed 3 rangefinder film camera.
     
  17. Rastaman

    Rastaman Member

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    This topic was especially heightened when Ondoy hit Metro Manila. I was unable to go home for two days, as all roads leading to Taytay, Rizal were impassable. I had my camera with me, but I could not bear to take photos of people who had just risked their lives to cross rivers that used to be roads. Nor could I point my lens to the living conditions of evacuees. I felt that I could do more, than just document it.

    Natural calamities aside, I love shooting street. The challenge is not to offend anyone, but capture people in their natural best, too.

    Here are my shares:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Rastaman

    Rastaman Member

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    More:

    "Siesta"
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    "Daddy's Girl"
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  19. rutchie657

    rutchie657 New Member

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  20. modsupremo

    modsupremo Member

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