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Art or intrusion? Photographer Johnny Tergo's 'drive-by' portraits
Street photography isn't everyone's cup of tea, and for every Cartier Bresson, watching from a distance, there's a Weegee, pushing a camera into the faces of their bemused subjects without asking permission. Los Angeles-based photographer Johnny Tergo has taken this approach to a new level, rigging up his truck with a camera and bright studio strobes in order to 'bring the studio lighting aspect to everyday real life on the streets'.
|To take his curb-side portraits, LA-based photographer Johnny Tergo pulls up alongside his subjects and takes their photograph from his truck, using a remote-triggered Canon EOS-1D Mark IV rigged up to two studio lights.|
In an interview published by wired.com Tergo explains that as a freelance photographer he spends a lot of time on the road, and wanted to 'exploit his time behind the wheel' for a series of candid portraits of people going about their everyday lives.
|According to an interview published at wired.com, Tergo 'leads moving subjects by pulling forward slightly, waiting for them to enter the frame'.|
To achieve the studio-like lighting, Tergo has rigged his Chevy Silverado with two high-powered strobes, powered by twin 4000W generators in the truckbed. Inside, a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV is connected to a laptop, and triggered by a Pocket Wizard. Tergo has a dashboard-mounted iPhone for reviewing his shots via onboard Wi-Fi. On a normal day, Tergo claims to take '40 to 50' shots.
|This is Johnny Tergo's Chevy Silverado truck, rigged up with two studio strobes and twin 4000W gas-powered generators which are nestled in the truckbed.|
|His EOS-1D Mark IV is triggered remotely using a Pocket Wizard, and his subjects are captured from the passenger window on a 16-35mm lens.|
It's no surprise that some of his subjects don't react well to being zapped with high-powered studio lights from the window of a passing truck, and in the interview Tergo claims that 'a lot of people think I’m up to something nefarious'. Despite occasional confrontations, Tergo plans to add a second truck, and more lights to his portable setup, claiming 'I don't want to stop with good enough, I want it to be awesome'.
Although we're impressed by some of Tergo's work, his approach won't be to everyone's taste, and raises troubling questions about privacy. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.