Candid camera

I am not good at taking photos of strangers. I find it incredibly difficult to approach people to ask for permission to photograph them, and in any case I would prefer to shoot first and ask later in order to get properly candid shots. When people know they are being photographed the spontaneity is lost, they tend to pose, turn their “good side” to the camera and generally act stiff and unnatural, when they aren’t goofing off for the camera. I am, however, quite good at putting people I know at their ease and getting candid-like shots of them. For example, I am just about the only person who can get my mother to overcome her camera freeze.

This shyness/fear has lost me some pretty good photo opportunities and is the reason why most of the photos of people I have posted here have been candids.

As part of the Laugavegur project I plan to try to overcome this shyness and start taking more photos of strangers. I have worked out that a good place to start is to make them think I am photographing something else, or to simply hide the camera. Unfortunately, my little Sony pocket camera is not good at focusing while moving, so most of my first attempts came out blurred. I also have to work on my camera angles. Still, there were a few shots among the bunch that I like (see below). I think maybe a fixed-focus camera is the way to go for this kind of photography, but of course that will lose me the ability to zoom in.

This older gentleman had the most incredibly photogenic face, and I was able to capture it in part, by holding the camera in my hand as I passed him and pointing it upwards:


Even though this image is full of motion blur, there is still something about the dynamics in it that I like:


This boy and another were, for some reason, taking a dip in the pond. Judging from what their companions were saying, it was some kind of challenge. He looked up and spotted me just in time to give me a smile, but didn’t stiffen up. My only regret is not getting more context into the photo, i.e. to show that he was splashing around in the filthy, cold pond, surrounded by ducks. As it is, this could have been taken at some outdoor swimming spot.