My New Camera - (8)

Started Sep 21, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Ednaz Veteran Member • Posts: 4,707
You've learned very well

There is a certain amount of courage required to shoot short focal length, but all the street photogs I admire never used anything longer than a 35mm lens on a film body. That angle of view is what lets you put the character in the environment.

One of the best classes I ever took forced us to shoot with nothing longer than 35mm. We were assigned neighborhoods where we'd stick out so obviously that trying to sneak images would likely get you more bad attention than just walking up and asking. What I learned was that people get really angry being shot on the sly - they know, and it just feels dishonest (was on the receiving end myself once, and I was surprised how angry I felt). But asking - even if it's just an eyebrow raise or a nod - gets really cooperative subjects, and its the relationship between the photographer and the subject that becomes the image, 10x more engaging to look at. After about two days in the neighborhood, I was more invisible than if I'd been using a right angle lens and sneaking from behind doors.

The class instructor said that if you were unwilling to shoot with consent, it meant that you still didn't think you were a photographer. The more I told myself to stop saying "amateur" or "student" or "part time" or other words in front of the word photographer, the easier it got.

Funny how it comes down to something like that.

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'Everything I know I learned from someone else. Life doesn't get much easier than that.'

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