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Author Topic: Strategies for stealth on the street  (Read 12116 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2013, 11:39:36 AM »
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Dear God.

I thank my lucky stars I never sailed into the wide blue yonder with a professional skipper who'd only read about navigation; I am just as grateful that my stents were inserted by surgeons who'd been taught in hospitals and had had plenty of actual experience. In the case of the latter, during my first experience, I felt faint and they immediately pumped some nitroglycerine into me. On asking if that wasn't inclined to explode, the surgeon replied that yes, but no, and just as long as I didn't decide to have a cigarette right at that juncture, all would be well. As I'd given up ciggies in '66 we were all safe.

If folks will forgive me saying so, I get the impression that these sorts of very dubious arguments, with positions based on stretched fantasy, only exist today because of the advent of digital. Before that, people tended to respect reality a bit more, but now - who knows which new god becomes flavour of the sect. Seems anything can be argued from any angle, however dumb. The secret of success is never to give up; take the Parthian shot, if you can think of it. And if you can't, take a poke at it anyway, who'll be any the wiser?
 
Rob C
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Isaac
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« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2013, 12:49:42 PM »
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I get the impression that these sorts of very dubious arguments, with positions based on stretched fantasy, only exist today because of the advent of digital.

We see lengthy bad analogies in discussion forums because the medium supports them (in verbal conversation we lose track of the details).

Of course, people squabbled over the meaning of words and had to resort to dictionaries long before digital.
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RSL
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« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2013, 06:33:30 PM »
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Hi Isaac, Like the other thread, I'm out of this one as far as the primary topic is concerned, but I have one question for you:

Why does the question of whether or not HCB was "stealthy" (however you define the word) matter to you? Would his pictures be less acceptable to you if it turned out he was trying to sneak up on his subjects, as opposed to simply shooting them head-on? Since you obviously don't do street photography yourself, why does it matter to you? It's a question that's bothered me since it first came up.
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Isaac
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« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2013, 01:06:25 PM »
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Why does the question of whether or not HCB was "stealthy" (however you define the word) matter to you?

It doesn't; and I don't own a definition of "stealthy", I'm happy to accept the ordinary dictionary definitions (that's why I pointed to both British English and American English dictionary definitions).

I was simply astonished that you would insist that when M. Cartier-Bresson sometimes masked the shiny metal parts of his camera with black tape that was not a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that he was taking photos of those around him.

"One has to tiptoe lightly ... and steal up on one's quarry" -- Not stealthy? Really?


Since you obviously don't do street photography yourself...

Another day, another assumption based on absence of evidence.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 03:08:29 PM by Isaac » Logged
PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2013, 11:28:36 AM »
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The real question is how do you take pictures of strangers without feeling guilty about it?

Why would you feel guilty ?
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2013, 11:34:49 AM »
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Replace the word "stealth" with the word "blend", as in blend in with the crowd. You're not a Ninja or a member of Special Forces, you're a photographer. The object is not to look like one. Use the smallest and quietest camera you're comfortable with. Leave the camera bag and any swag at home. Use a wrist strap. It's that simple, you're just another person walking around the streets except you have a camera.
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RSL
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« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2013, 12:27:45 PM »
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Another day, another assumption based on absence of evidence.

Hardly. I've asked you several times to show some of your street work. So far none has been forthcoming. I have to conclude either that you don't do any or that it's so bad you don't want anyone to see it.
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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2013, 12:44:41 PM »
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Why would you feel guilty ?



The greater question was in the original: how can you possibly not feel guilty when you intrude into someone else's life, totally without benefit of invitation?

I am aware of the extraordinary belief held  by some that, should you respect and also expect other people to respect universal rights to privacy, then you should confine yourself to a nunnery. However, I don't think that the onus is upon the innocent to protect themselves by retreating from public places which, by definition, are for the use of the public, not the hunters and stalkers of that public. I don't really think that the issue is complicated. I do understand that some people enjoy the hunt; I simply don't think I like the idea of anyone being hunted, which this sort of photography obviously does.

Rob C
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2013, 02:06:06 PM »
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I'm out there to capture and document. I have no social responsibility.
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2013, 03:59:50 PM »
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I'm out there to capture and document. I have no social responsibility.


For you, that's fair enough; for others, obviously not so.

I suppose that the way you put it, the same concept could be applied to hunting of any kind. You know, like gunning down stray dogs on the main street through town, regardless of traffic, pedestrian or mobile; no social responsibility sounds like a cool idea.

;-)

Rob C
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Isaac
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« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2013, 04:38:13 PM »
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Hardly. I've asked you several times to show some of your street work. So far none has been forthcoming.

You may ask, and I may decline.


I have to conclude either that you don't do any or that it's so bad you don't want anyone to see it.

Utter nonsense:
  • you don't have to conclude anything at all
  • you don't have sufficient reason to conclude that it's bad
  • you don't have sufficient reason to conclude that I don't want anyone to see it

As it happens, I feel no need to dance to your tune.
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Isaac
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« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2013, 04:53:31 PM »
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when you intrude into someone else's life

Do we feel OK about the idea of someone with a directional microphone recording what we say to other people when we are in a public place, or recording a cell phone conversation made from a public place?

Why should we feel OK when our image is taken without consent?

Is it that we assume no one is taking our image without our consent, and no one is recording what we say without our consent?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 05:36:28 PM by Isaac » Logged
PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2013, 05:06:57 PM »
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I find it hilarious that people are clamoring for privacy when out it public. People are looking at you, people hear you talk, what's the difference if someone takes a photo and you happen to be in it ? Should every tourist ask for everyone's permission when they take a photo of the Liberty Bell and they happen to be in the photo ? Seriously, what's the big deal because 99% of the time they don't even know they're being photographed.
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2013, 06:32:18 PM »
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For you, that's fair enough; for others, obviously not so.

I suppose that the way you put it, the same concept could be applied to hunting of any kind. You know, like gunning down stray dogs on the main street through town, regardless of traffic, pedestrian or mobile; no social responsibility sounds like a cool idea.

;-)

Rob C

Works for me just fine.

Here is a photograph I took a little over a month ago that shows a man who overdosed and died at a bus stop in Philadelphia. I took the picture because of the ironic sign and the change that fell out of his pocket. This photograph depicts the struggle some go through in life and how it can be ironic. Should I have asked the police permission to take this photo ? The dead guy ? How about the other dozen people watching it with their own eyes ? The people operating the 5 security video cameras that look down at this location ?
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200456971694937&set=a.10200452254257004.2207589.1476143245&type=3&theater

« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 06:37:02 PM by PhillyPhotographer » Logged

PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2013, 06:39:54 PM »
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At the time Strand was preoccupied with the difficulty of how to use his bulky Ensign camera to take pictures of ‘people in the streets without their being aware of it’. How do you make your subjects blind to your presence? This is another reason why the photograph is emblematic: it provides a graphic illustration of the photographer’s ideal relationship to his subject. This was the aspect of the picture Strand stressed in an interview in 1971 (the same year that Evans reminisced about seeing it): ‘Although Blind Woman has enormous social meaning and impact, it grew out of a very clear desire to solve a problem.’ Strand’s solution was to take the lens from his uncle’s old view camera and fix it to one side of his own camera. He then held the camera in such a way that this false lens stuck straight ahead while the real lens, partly hidden by his sleeve, was focused at a right angle to the ostensible object of his attention. It may have been a clumsy solution—‘Do you know anyone who did it before? I don’t’—but this clumsiness was in keeping with everything about the cumbersome enterprise of photography at the time. And it worked.

Dyer, Geoff (2009-11-11). The Ongoing Moment (Kindle Locations 346-354). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.





Here is the picture Geoff Dyer is talking about. For me this gives rise to questions about what strategies, if any, do people use for stealth, and about the pros and cons of stealth (moral and aesthetic). No doubt a subject that has been canvassed before, so references to other threads would be welcome (he says, anticipating a rebuke from an elder).

Watch this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUAk84LDFVA
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Rob C
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« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2013, 03:33:33 AM »
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Works for me just fine.

Here is a photograph I took a little over a month ago that shows a man who overdosed and died at a bus stop in Philadelphia. I took the picture because of the ironic sign and the change that fell out of his pocket. This photograph depicts the struggle some go through in life and how it can be ironic. Should I have asked the police permission to take this photo ? The dead guy ? How about the other dozen people watching it with their own eyes ? The people operating the 5 security video cameras that look down at this location ?
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200456971694937&set=a.10200452254257004.2207589.1476143245&type=3&theater





That photograph of the dead dude isn't 'street'; that photograph, for me, is valid photojournalism with which I'd have no beef. It's a shot of preventable human tragedy and, as such, requires circulation.

It has nothing to do with what passes for 'street' which is nothing but intrusion with a subtext of mockery, because the frailties of others are what often make then the focal point of prying optics. Were they simply 'normal' people going about their lives there would be precious little subject to photograph.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2013, 03:43:14 AM »
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I find it hilarious that people are clamoring for privacy when out it public. People are looking at you, people hear you talk, what's the difference if someone takes a photo and you happen to be in it ? Should every tourist ask for everyone's permission when they take a photo of the Liberty Bell and they happen to be in the photo ? Seriously, what's the big deal because 99% of the time they don't even know they're being photographed.



That's being disingenuous; people are usually not hearing you talk - conversation in public, short of when sitting on a bench, is seldom overheard, and if it is, it happens for such brief moments as to be devoid of meaning and/or context to alien ears.

Street is not about shooting people who 'happen' to be in the frame; street is about hunting them out and 'framing' them (in several senses of that word).

As for their unawareness of being 'framed', is that unawareness then justification for the street pickpocket of whom one is also unaware until embarrassment hits later on?

Rob C
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stamper
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« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2013, 04:31:39 AM »
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I think the word hunting is inappropriate Rob and I think you are using it to try and reinforce a dubious defence of privacy. The Amateur  Photography magazine - UK - stated bluntly that if a person doesn't like their image in photograph then they should stay in the house. It was blunt and to the point. There isn't a privacy law in the UK and imo that should be the norm. Take the argument to it's conclusion then there wouldn't be any street images - with people in them - published in newspapers, magazines or the internet and television. A poorer world? Rob I conclude that you don't like your picture taken in public and this is the nub of your argument. I bet you have taken images that have people in them in public.
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RSL
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« Reply #58 on: February 24, 2013, 05:41:37 AM »
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You may ask, and I may decline.

Sorry, Isaac, but when it comes to street photography you're sounding as if you're all hat and no cattle.
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2013, 07:47:06 AM »
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As for their unawareness of being 'framed', is that unawareness then justification for the street pickpocket of whom one is also unaware until embarrassment hits later on?

Rob C

Your comparison of street photography to a crime is amusing.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 08:31:59 AM by PhillyPhotographer » Logged

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