Reaction of subject to the Df?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
toomanycanons
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Re: Reaction of subject to the Df?
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, 7 months ago

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Dheorl wrote:

Hello everyone,

I've been wondering about the potential merits of the Df with regards to shooting portraits, events, and street photography, particularly with regard to the way a subject might react compared to a more bulky modern styled DSLR.

For those of you who have shot people with the Df, have you noticed any difference in their reaction and behaviour compared to using a more normal FF DSLR?

Cheers

I would say it is mainly about the size of the lens. I find not using a lens hood has less eyes on me than if I had the hood on.
On the streets, i feel people (non photographers) who give aggro to a DSLR user are doing so because they think you are a pro and your going to circulate an image of them around the globe and they feel threatened ..Or some will go out of their way in hope that is exactly what you are going to do (send an image of them around the globe)
I think The DF could give you an edge in the context that people may see you as a camera geek/collector who's passion is old vintage camera's and no threat to them..

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Whenever I get harassed by security people shooting downtown, I now ask them "was it the lens hood?"  All of them say, yeah, that's part of it.  It's like aiming a bazooka at the subject.

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toomanycanons
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Re: Reaction of subject to the Df?
In reply to Zenist, 7 months ago

Zenist wrote:

I think people would consider you as a hobbyist shooting a film camera instead of a pro shooting for agencies.

Like the former is acceptable and the latter is unacceptable.

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toomanycanons
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Re: Reaction of subject to the Df?
In reply to Truman Prevatt, 7 months ago

Truman Prevatt wrote:

In over 40 years of shooting on the street - I've had very few issues with people. I've used a Leica and an SLR. I've even used a Mamiya 645. I must say the 645 was no more intrusive than the SLR except the sound of the mirror slap but that is after the fact. A long time friend even uses his Hassey with a waist finder.

It gets down to how quick you are and how well you can move around without being noticed. If you approach someone looking straight at them - even if the camera to your side - you broadcast intent to do something. Many time a photographer will get noticed because of this - even before anyone sees the camera. If you take any amount of time to compose, zoom, focus, mess with exposure - you will be noticed most likely. The great ones like Cartier-Bresson and Smith would do everything prior to putting the camera to their eye - exposure set, compose without the camera, pre-foucs. At that point you can take the shot in a fraction of a second and you are done. By the time someone hears the shutter click - the image is already captured. However, it is difficult to be invisible touting around a large lens - particularly a large diameter lens. Primes work better than zooms not only because they are smaller but because you compose better before you put it to your eye and hence take the shot faster. The only exception I have found is the old Nikon 35-70 ADF f2.8 which is moderately small (about the same size of the 85 AFD f2.8) and the zoom is a push pull which is much quicker if you do zoom. However, Cartier-Bresson would not crop or allow his images to be cropped - and he produced amazing art on the street. The key is not a zoom, it is precomposing in your minds eye - having the skill to do that and the trust in your skill to trust you can.

Most times if you are noticed a smile and and quick nod is all that is needed as you keep moving. If you try to slink away like you have done something you should not have done, or avoid eye contact after they notice you - it will leave a bad impression. If you are friendly - there won't be a problem 99% of the time. Often times I will move through an area without any camera and then come back to find the best locations, angles, lighting, and interest and then come back with the camera already knowing what I am looking for so I can capture it quickly when I see it.

Today, some people tend to be hyper-conscience concerning their "right to privacy." You need to respect that by being as subtle and unobtrusive as possible. If you appear to be "hunting" or "tracking" someone to get a picture - you could cause concern. If you simply appear to be a stranger passing on the street - you probably won't. Most of all you need to be confident. If you are not confident and if you could easily appear uneasy in what you are doing and you will stand out like a sore thumb.

Simply be armed with the knowledge that there is no perception of privacy in public places. You have a prefect right to be there in the US at least and taking images - unless you are doing it for criminal intent. However, if you are uncomfortable taking pictures on the street - you will stand out like a sore thumb.

LWS2013 wrote:

also much depends on where you are shooting, in large cities and tourist traps every one and their ugly cousin has a camera but in poorer cities and towns even carrying is more noticeable.

Size of the camera and lens is only one factor that you'll get you notices and it isn't the biggest either, it's all down to how you approach your subject and act.

You could make an argument that a small camera like say the Fuji X100 or Leica M could be perceived as being sneaky when shooting SP and thus more likely to cause confrontation where as a big DSLR could be perceived as not trying to hide what they are doing.

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Truman
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1)  I would argue that using a prime makes a camera less bulky/less threatening.  If it helps you to compose, great.

2)  Cartier-Bresson never did any of his own developing.  He said once he snapped the shutter he was done with the image.

3)  It's amazing that in the area you shoot in you can get a "nod and a quick smile".  In my area, all I've ever gotten, even if I'm not shooting a human, is wary/alarmed/annoyed.  I've not had welcoming looks from anyone that happens to be in my shots, unless it's a band member up on stage.  Mostly they'll come up to me (not all the time but when they do...) with a suspicious "what are you doing?"

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Truman Prevatt
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Re: Reaction of subject to the Df?
In reply to toomanycanons, 7 months ago

1) I would argue that using a prime makes a camera less bulky/less threatening. If it helps you to compose, great.

2) Cartier-Bresson never did any of his own developing. He said once he snapped the shutter he was done with the image.

Cartier-Bresson did not do his own developing or printing. However, he insisted that his images be printed at full frame and not cropped.  He insured that was the case by having the holders filed out so they would print black a 1mm border around his images.  He had quite a following in the 70's would file out more of the holder and print a bigger black border to prove they were his disciple.  We had a couple at Maryland Institute of Art - they were somewhat a pain in their religious belief ;-).

3) It's amazing that in the area you shoot in you can get a "nod and a quick smile". In my area, all I've ever gotten, even if I'm not shooting a human, is wary/alarmed/annoyed. I've not had welcoming looks from anyone that happens to be in my shots, unless it's a band member up on stage. Mostly they'll come up to me (not all the time but when they do...) with a suspicious "what are you doing?"

I started on the streets of Baltimore and Annapolis, MD in 1970.  I would prowl back allies and side streets - no problems.  I would prowl the ethnic neighborhoods - no problems.  If I was seen at all, everyone was friendly.  I moved to CO in 1983 and spent most of my time in CO (two years) with my 4x5 and RB67 backpacking (summer on foot and in winter on skies) in the mountains.  When I moved to FL - I spend a couple years with my 4x5 and then started to take up the street again.  Lately I've been working at horse race tracks - in FL, in KY, in LA and have had no issues at all.

I've done just about every type of photography except studio and wedding.  There is nothing wrong with either of those disciplines - just my cut of tea.

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Truman
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