Sunday, 27 December 2009

Shooting People Is Wrong - 27/12/2009

I've never been a huge fan of candid street shooting - it seems to me that if you have to hide what you are doing you shouldn't be doing it, or at least doing it in the privacy of your own home. Even so Portugal is home to a bizarre set of characters, especially the fishermen, and sometimes you just can't resist. Technically, this first shot is done with a long lens, which gives a perspective I prefer, and is shot more or less wide open, to give shallow depth of field and bring out the subject. In fact, if you view this at the full size, you'll see I've gone too far.

This is pretty reasonable in terms of annoying people going about their daily business - my subjects are playing up for the camera. This second shot is rather naughtier, and not something I'd normally do. I was hungover, in a bad mood, and in a park at Belem (Lisbon, more or less). This rather dodgy character scarpered as soon as I took his photo - I suspect he's probably breaking twenty laws every time he puts on his socks:

Perhaps even more cheekily, I have no idea who this couple are in front of the Thames Barrier....

While we are at it, let's see a little of what the fishermen catch...

These last three were all shot with the very fast 105mm f2 on a full frame camera, hence the very shallow DoF.


  1. Lovely pics, as always. I actually think candid shots are fine, so long as we don't go up and poke the camera in the person's face, and I wouldn't do it with children I didn't know. I don't think being subtle about it is hiding what we do - I think it's about capturing the way people look without making them self-conscious. Capturing a scene without influencing it. I really like the two old fishermen and the balloon shot, which is lovely! Why did you think balloon man was dodgy?

  2. Does he not look furtive to you? Anyway, he shifted as fast as his little legs would carry him as soon as he realised I had him on film...

    Thanks Deb!

  3. I think perhaps the balloon man is luring children to his den!!! Great photos Louis.


  4. Actually, balloon man struck me as bored and slightly cold rather than furtive, but I'm only going on a single moment whereas you observed his general behaviour. I wonder if he simply didn't have a permit to be street-selling?
    Nick, the comments you and Louis have made about balloon man makes me see him as something like the Child Catcher in Chitti Chitti Bang Bang... :)