All the World’s a Stage: Week 2: “The History of Street Photography”
After having looked at the images provided for study this week, I find it amazing how the photographers (particularly Brassaï ) managed to capture the amount of intimacy, considering the size and of the cameras and the set up time. This has sparked my curiosity about the social attitude towards the camera and photographer in the 30’s and 40’s. Was their an openness/innocence to the relationship between photographer and subject back then due to the fact that the percentage of people that actually owned a camera was minuscule compared to now? Was it that you very rarely saw a photograph of yourself outwith a family album or a commissioned portrait and you had little suspicion of the photographer due to there not being the same paparazzi scandals so frequently and widely publicised?
For this week’s experiment, I saw a young actor and introduced myself as a street photographer and asked if he would mind if I took a photograph of him. He immediately responded, “Why of course!” and then assumed a a completely different look, with a beaming smile, looking straight into the camera from about 3 feet! I lowered the camera and smiled, explaining that the thing that had prompted me to ask him was that his original “look” had been perfect and a great contrast to the grubby back street. He then went back to what he had been doing previously and after I took the photo he eagerly smiled again “Yes?” he asked. “Perfect”, I replied and smiled back.
Being a candid photographer, I found that now being in the situation, where I could ask this complete stranger to adopt a pose, quite confusing and I found myself completely unprepared. I could have taken much more advantage of this situation in retrospect but it has made me think about this for the next time, which is a great lesson.
I really enjoyed the experience as this is the first time I have done this and was genuinely surprised by the positive reaction. I spent the walk back to the car looking for the combination of interesting characters against an interesting background and would have quite happily struck up a conversation with someone else but nothing presented itself.
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