Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Strategies for stealth on the street  (Read 11221 times)
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2013, 08:16:49 AM »
ReplyReply

"Sometimes he even masked the shiny metal parts of his camera with black tape." Not stealthy?



I do the same with the logos on my cameras; I even unpicked the logo off the supplied neckstrap. I don't shoot people as in 'street' either.

I hate being an unpaid sandwich board.

Rob C
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 09:22:10 AM by Rob C » Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2013, 08:29:12 AM »
ReplyReply

When you have your own definition of stealthy which doesn't match a dictionary definition -- you are playing word games :-)

When you say "none of them see him make the shot" it tells us nothing about why "none of them see him make the shot" -- maybe he was being stealthy.

Hi Isaac. The bottom line is: if HCB had been trying to be stealthy he'd have used a 135mm lens, which is what a lot of beginning street shooters try before they discover that the perspective in their shots is all screwed up. He understood that a street shot needs to have the kind of intimacy you can't get with a long lens. To be successful the shot needs to put the viewer, and therefore the shooter, in the middle of the action. He used a 50mm "normal" lens, and sometimes, especially in the U.S., a 35mm.

Where can I go to take a look at your street photography? Looking at them will tell me whether or not you're trying to be stealthy.
Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2013, 09:11:14 AM »
ReplyReply

You didn't answer my question.

I didn't respond to your attempt to assert authority and control.


Have you actually looked at HCB's pictures?

During the last week --

Henri Cartier-Bresson and the artless art

Henri Cartier-Bresson : the early work
   
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans : photographing America 1929-1947
   
Henri Cartier-Bresson : à propos de Paris

Henri Cartier-Bresson in India
   
An inner silence : the portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson
   
Tête à tête / portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Cartier-Bresson: Photographs
Logged
Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2013, 09:34:25 AM »
ReplyReply

The bottom line is: if HCB had been trying to be stealthy he'd have used a 135mm lens...

Russ, you seem to conflate being distant with being stealthy. Not true.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2013, 09:39:30 AM »
ReplyReply

Still looking for your street shots so I can see if you're stealthy.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 09:42:14 AM »
ReplyReply

Something important is not being understood in this conversation: the matter of expectations.

During the 50s, in Britain, there was a bottom feeder level of photographer who made his living by working the streets of holiday resorts and market towns. These needed no more than a hawker's licence, and they were off! People walking down the High Street would find one such guy pointing a camera and pretending to take a snap of them followed with an offer to sell a print for whatever price; once accepted, the snapper would say: one more for safety! and then make the actual, single exposure. The point was, back in the day, people were not so aware of, nor concerned with privacy, the various ways in which they could subsequently be exploited. They even supplied names and addresses so the snapper could post the prints! The digital age has changed a lot of public conceptions and created a higher sense of awareness. We are not the innocent and accepting society we used to be in the day of HC-B!

No wonder that in today's world a street hunter is looked upon with little love. Walking down the street with your secretary en route to lunch could have you end up as tabloid fodder by the afternoon! Or worse: divorce court. Innocence is no defence against insinuation. And abuse of one's freedom to walk the public walkway without being molested should not be tolerated.

Radical Rob has spoked!

;-)

Rob C
Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2013, 10:12:02 AM »
ReplyReply

Still looking for your street shots so I can see if you're stealthy.

Another attempt to assert authority and control.


I think we can all agree with your statement that "street photography techniques vary"; but you should also apply that to HCB.

You seem to be using a categorical assertion that HCB didn't try to be stealthy as authority for your personal practice, and in doing so you provide the example for kencameron's comment --

What you often get in this area are statements which are essentially about people's personal practices but which have morphed into ex cathedra advice to everyone else.
Logged
Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 10:19:50 AM »
ReplyReply

The point was, back in the day, people were not so aware of, nor concerned with privacy, the various ways in which they could subsequently be exploited.

Yes.

No, ears at the side. That's why the Leicas had silent shutters.

iirc Bernard Languillier made that point about the silent operation of the Nikon J1.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2013, 12:41:22 PM »
ReplyReply

Isaac, I think what we have is a semantic problem. My small dictionary defines "stealth" as "Marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed." With reference to HCB or any really effective street photographer I'll buy all of that except the word "secrecy." So if you mean a good street photographer tries to avoid being observed, and if that's your definition of "stealth" then I'll agree with you. But avoiding being observed doesn't mean being furtive or sneaky, which is what I think you're implying.

Let's examine what that definition means in terms of street photography. The word that jumps out at me is "observed." I don't think any competent street photographer expects not to be observed in the sense that he expects his subject not to see him. What he expects is to be ignored. Which takes us back to what I said earlier about being non-threatening. And, yes, it helps to have a small, quiet, black camera. If you come on with a Nikon D4 sporting a 70-200 f/2.8 lens you're not likely to be ignored even though the rig is black.

In spite of your tendency to make amateur forays into popular psychology I'm certainly not trying to assert authority or control. But when I see somebody making judgments about an endeavor which I love and in which I'm involved I like to know whether or not he knows anything about it. Street photography isn't an area where you can simply pontificate about methods and expect your statements to be accepted. You need to demonstrate that you've done it. If all I knew about Bruce Gilden were how he operates, I wouldn't believe a damned thing he has to say about street photography. But having seen his work I can't ignore what he says. The proof's in the pudding. I haven't seen your pudding.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2013, 12:56:27 PM »
ReplyReply

I haven't seen your pudding.




My fear, Russ, is that I think I may have pretty much eaten mine!

;-)

Rob C
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2013, 01:12:05 PM »
ReplyReply

Well, considering the subjects of your work I can underst. . . Oops, best not finish that.
Logged

kencameron
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 669



WWW
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2013, 03:08:30 PM »
ReplyReply

The proof's in the pudding. I haven't seen your pudding.
Let's see if I've got this right. In order to decide whether or not Isaac is right about how best to describe Henri Cartier-Bresson's approach to street photography, I need to look at some street photographs taken by Isaac? I don't find that at all persuasive. I need to look at HCB's photographs, HCB's writings, and other informed writing on the subject, sure, but Isaac's photographs are no more relevant than the color of his eyes. You are running a broad-brush notion of "credibility" that doesn't survive even the most rudimentary examination and which I suspect you don't really subscribe to yourself. If Isaac turned out to be a modern master of street photography, would that change your mind about HCB's practice? Arguments need to be assessed on their own merits and not by reference to their proponents. This is fundamental to rational discourse.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 03:18:19 PM by kencameron » Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2013, 04:20:17 PM »
ReplyReply

With reference to HCB or any really effective street photographer I'll buy all of that except the word "secrecy."

Have you looked up the definition of secret?

For future reference, Merriam Webster online -- stealthy, secret.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2013, 04:49:05 PM »
ReplyReply

Let's see if I've got this right. In order to decide whether or not Isaac is right about how best to describe Henri Cartier-Bresson's approach to street photography, I need to look at some street photographs taken by Isaac?

Hey, Ken, you got it. Congratulations. If Isaac were talking about the content or composition of  Henri's photographs that would be one thing, but he's talking about the technique Henri used to get those photographs. If he's never done street photography he's not in a position to determine WHAT technique Henri used to get his photographs. If you've never sailed a boat you're hardly in a position to explain sailing techniques. If you've never played a piano you're in no position to talk about finger techniques on the piano. If you've never done street photography you're in no position to talk about techniques to achieve street photograph, HCB's or anyone else's.

Quote
If Isaac turned out to be a modern master of street photography, would that change your mind about HCB's practice?

No, but it might change my mind about Isaac's knowledge of the subject, and I might be willing to listen to his ideas about the practice of street photography.
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2013, 04:53:07 PM »
ReplyReply

Have you looked up the definition of secret?

For future reference, Merriam Webster online -- stealthy, secret.

I'm not going to play word games with you any more, Isaac. If you have something illuminating to say about street photography technique, give it a try. But as I just pointed out, unless I can be assured you know at least something about it, I'm finished replying to your remarks.
Logged

kencameron
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 669



WWW
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2013, 05:54:45 PM »
ReplyReply

I am afraid I can't return the compliment, Russ. You haven't "got it" - or at least, not the point I am making.

...If you've never sailed a boat you're hardly in a position to explain sailing techniques...

Yes you are. You might be disadvantaged in what you say, you might not choose to take on the task, but what you say will be right or wrong because it is right or wrong not because you have or haven't sailed a boat. In order to put yourself in a position to explain sailing techniques, you could conduct an exhaustive study of sailors at work, interview large numbers of them, read everything that has been written about sailing techniques. You might - or might not - miss something because you hadn't sailed. When would you miss something? Prima facie, only if there was something unique about your own (potential) experience. On the other hand, if you hadn't done the study and based your remarks solely on your own practice you would almost certainly miss a lot, because you would be generalizing based on one instance.

Best, of course, to have both sailed and studied, but that is not the point I am disputing. When it comes to the merits of the actual observation - whether the explanation of sailing techniques is a good one or not - the biography of the author is neither here nor there. Consider, for example, the case where a non-sailor (but skilled interviewer, thinker and writer) offers an explanation based on detailed advice from expert sailors. She might be disadvantaged in understanding what they are saying, but that could be overcome, and she might also be disadvantaged if she had done a bit of sailing, because that could lead her to privilege her own mistakes, but that could be overcome. Practical experience needs to be part of the input to the explanation, but not necessarily part of the life history of the author.

A text which offers an explanation of something out there in the world needs to be judged on the correspondence between what it says and our experience of the world. It doesn't matter if we know nothing about the author. If you read an essay about street photography authored by anonymous, would you be unable to decide whether or not it was any good?

Art critics don't have to be artists. Separate skills.
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2013, 06:21:31 PM »
ReplyReply

A text which offers an explanation of something out there in the world needs to be judged on the correspondence between what it says and our experience of the world. It doesn't matter if we know nothing about the author. If you read an essay about street photography authored by anonymous, would you be unable to decide whether or not it was any good?

Art critics don't have to be artists. Separate skills.

Well, I thought you got it, but it's obvious you didn't. You really need to read more carefully Ken. This isn't about art criticism. It isn't even about art ability. It's about art technique. Different subject, different kind of knowledge needed. It's kind of like brain surgery. You might be able to discuss the benefits of brain surgery and the qualifications of various brain surgeons intelligently if you've never done brain surgery, but God help you if you decide to do brain surgery and you take your cues about technique from somebody who's never done it. It's not about "your experience with the world." It's about your experience with the mechanics of the particular task.

And yes, if I read an article about the techniques of street photography by anonymous I'd know immediately whether or not it was any good.
Logged

Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2894


« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2013, 07:08:12 PM »
ReplyReply

If Isaac were talking about the content or composition of  Henri's photographs that would be one thing, but he's talking about the technique Henri used to get those photographs. If he's never done street photography he's not in a position to determine WHAT technique Henri used to get his photographs.

I'm in a position to listen to M. Cartier-Bresson -- "One has to tiptoe lightly (my camera never leaves me) and steal up on one's quarry; you don't swish the water when you're fishing."


I'm not going to play word games with you any more, Isaac.

Rob C's description is apt.

At least you know what stealthy means now.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 11:02:20 AM by Isaac » Logged
kencameron
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 669



WWW
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2013, 07:39:37 PM »
ReplyReply

You really need to read more carefully Ken.
Since that is, at this point, exactly what am thinking about you, there is probably not much point in taking this further. However, I will have one more go, and I will base it on your own metaphor, to simplify the reading task.

HCB is the Brain Surgeon. What we are talking about is his approach to brain surgery - as a matter of fact.  The way to decide that is to look at his work, read his utterances, consult his colleagues etc. We weren't talking about the best source of advice on how to do anything. If I wanted to get advice about how to practice photography, or brain surgery, sure, I would go to a photographer, or a brain surgeon, or maybe a text by someone who had talked to a lot of photographers and brain surgeons. But Isaac wasn't giving advice about how to practice photography. He had a different view to  yours, or, maybe, he was trying to probe your view, on whether HCB was stealthy, sneaky etc, in his practice.

Setting aside the semantics, which took up too much of the argument, my own view on that subject is not far from yours, and I think your notion of being inconspicuous is persuasive in relation to a lot of fine work. However, in assessing your view, and Isaac's, on what HCB did or did not do, I have no interest whatsoever in your photographs, or in Isaac's*. Instead, I would go to HCB's photographs, and to what he said about his practice, and assess your respective views accordingly. On the other hand if I wanted advice about how to do street photography, I would certainly want to hear from photographers whose work I admired - and also from people reporting the views of photographers whose work I admired. But that was never the subject - was it? It certainly wasn't the question I asked in the original post.

*Just to clarify - with an irrelevant point - I like many of your photographs.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 08:50:06 PM by kencameron » Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6424



WWW
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2013, 08:12:45 AM »
ReplyReply

Right. It's time to end the conversation. In the end I don't think we're very far apart.
Logged

Pages: « 1 [2] 3 4 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad