Ignore your Subjects and Wear Headphones.

As Street Photographers, we are encouraged to interact with those whose images we capture. Advice is fantastic, but this particular opinion is close to being portrayed as fact. Time after time I have read articles that state the importance of talking to those we photograph. We are encouraged to ‘seek permission’ and to ‘share our work’ with those we photograph. This advice is not without merit and is critical if we want to learn more about the cultures we are immersing ourselves within. However, it can be best not to run with the herd when advice has such waves of similarity and to seek ways to buck the trend.

Muslim Lady

Passing by Unnoticed.

Interaction with those we shoot increases our presence. The observed becomes the observer, and the candid frame is lost. When people are aware of being photographed, they change. Schroders Cat runs the roost and objectivity is forgotten.

Wear Headphones.

On occasions when shooing Street, I wear headphones and listen to music. Wearing headphones has the effect of removing me from the frame, I feel ‘less connected’ to the environment. Being less connected may sound counter-intuitive, however, stick with me. The most obvious connection we lose when wearing headphones is our ability to listen, this increases our visual awareness, which is a fundamental aspect of taking any photograph (beware, it also means you may not be aware of the rickshaw behind you that is about to run you over).

Secondly, when wearing headphones, I feel isolated from my suroundings. For me, isolation increases the feeling of voyeurism; I am not part of the surroundings anymore. Instead, I am just an observer. When wearing headphones, I will walk with a camera close to my face, keeping one eye to the ground and another to my viewfinder, with my attention remaining on the peripheries of the frame. Holding a camera close to your eyes means you will not need to make any big movements that would increase your presence.

Man Passes. KR Market

I am not sure this man ever noticed me.

 

When you wear headphones, it is easier to ignore your subjects and for them to ignore you. Permission is not sought, and there is no seeking forgiveness. Pass people by unnoticed and leave without them being aware you ever hit the shutter button. Using this method will give your images a fly-on-the-wall smell to them, and will inevitably be candid.

I would hate anyone to think we should not interact with the people we photograph; humans are social creatures and interaction adds depth. Just remember, it is not a rule. Sometimes you can plug in your headphones, let the sounds of the Street slip into the background and see what the world looks like when photographed. Please just don’t make it a ‘rule’, we have enough of them already!

Take Care and Keep Clicking, Chris

 

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Mid-Year Musings

A Personal Reflection

As most of my regular readers know, I work as a teacher in India (at the wonderful Canadian International School). Teaching Internationally has provided me with opportunities to stay in countries for an extended period of time and to explore areas that would be missed as a tourist. My vocation also provides ample holiday time to explore and photograph different parts of the world. This Summer I plan to travel to the Himalayas and to Thailand. Hopefully, the Himalayas will provide plenty of local flavours for Street Photography, as well as open the doors to play with my neglected landscape skills.

Going For Worship

Multicultural Bangalore

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Failing with a Flash

Flash Photography

I felt like a newbie. I really have not got much of a clue when it comes to using a flash. Tonight I was walking home and was told our local village was having a dance party at 7 pm. Locals dancing is something I definitely wanted to capture. I set out just after 6, taking along my flash unit. I have only recently purchased the Nissan i40, and really have not had a chance to try it out with my Olympus EM5ii.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had some success.

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Walking Home and the Imperfect Photograph

The Challenge

Recently, through the StepOutPhotography Collective, my friend Birka Weidmaier has challenged me to take imperfect photos. This challenge is harsh, I know what you’re thinking, there are never any imperfect photos posted to pagespics.com! To rise to this challenge I need to look at unusual angles and focus points. Secondly, I am not allowed to crop or adjust the horizon on my photos. I can take a week deciding if a horizon is straight, and trying to get it wrong ON PURPOSE sends shivers down my spine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At an Angle!

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StepOutPhotography. A Collective.

Who Are StepOutPhotography?

Those of you who regularly follow this blog will know that I have been actively setting up and participating in a small collective of Street Photographers. It is with joy that I can now reveal StepOutPhotography. We are a collective of three, each of us with different styles, who have come together to support and stretch each other.

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 III is coming (maybe).

Firstly, if you are not an Olympus user, or a gear head, this post will be pretty boring. Look at the photos and move on. The photo of the kitchen was taken at the Royal Afghan @ the ITC Windsor in Bangalore, and I highly recommend the Kebabs there!

Russell Market

Russell Market, Bangalore. Morning Shot.

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Do You Ask Permission.

Confession

I have a confession. I hate having my photo taken and will go to great lengths to avoid getting on the ‘wrong side’ of the camera lens. Why is this? I struggle with my weight and am a regular ‘yoyo’ dieter. My weight goes down, then I have a couple of bad weeks, and it goes back up again. A photograph can remind me of my success, or failure, to lose weight. We know photographs can lie, and photographers can frame reality to suit their own needs or viewpoints. However, paradoxically they are equally capable of recording truth. When I see a candid photo of myself, I am often inspired to try harder to achieve a healthier life, to hit the gym and to eat a better diet. Read More