Wednesday, 4 January 2012

People unaware

Wary of creating a hostage to fortune I though I would record my first deliberate attempt to capture people unaware. Alison's birthday is looming and I needed to get the card; Sainsbury's is closest and I took my new (unobtrusive) camera to provide the capture. Serendipity must be a part of the potential for success - but it is clear from these first few images that technique, like all skills, is something to be worked at. I probably won't post all my attempts, but as a matter of record here they are - warts and all! These seven frames are all that I took.

I'm moving, let alone the subject!

This one sort of works, but I'm not close enough, though I like the lines.
A better framing might (would) have helped a lot here.
 The subject is entering the frame from the right!
 Closer, but no cigar!
 The subject is, again, on the right - though the conversation on the left would be more interesting if I was closer. Clearly I need to frame the images better.
What can I say! I'm not even sure why I took this shot or whether I was aware that it had been taken, though the takeaway is that the camera strap needs to be carefully monitored!

I didn't feel uneasy about taking the shots but I was acutely aware that I had the camera in my hand, albeit at around waist level. I had planned on taking more shots in the car park, but there wasn't anyone around.
I will take the camera - a medium size compact with no zoom - with me on a regular basis. There can be no substitute for experience and that is clearly what I lack at the moment.


  1. On Soc doc I ended up going EVERYWHERE with my camera...because if I didn't, I convinced myself I'd missed the most amazing decisive moment!!! Serendipity has a big part to play in people photography...and even the most mundane visit out can result in an interesting image. Although actually having your camera handy and the courage to take the image and not just visualise it, is something else I have found...I admire your honesty and humour here!

  2. Thanks Penny, I'll take that advice. I wonder whether I should take the camera to the dinner to celebrate Alison's birthday? Mmmm, maybe not!

  3. My camera and I go to birthday dinners. Indeed the camera goes pretty much everywhere with me. Some people probably find it a bit strange but comments are pretty much always positive and often quite interested.

    I found it took me a long time to build up the nerve to take pictures comfortably in public. It does get easier and there is no substitute for just getting out there. Best of luck John - I look forward to seeing how you progress with this project.

  4. Thanks Eileen. I've done an awful lot of portraiture, but virtually all of it my subjects have been aware - even abroad, like in India. Taking people unaware, especially people I don't know (in fact only of people I don't know), is a whole new ball-game to me and I know there's a steep learning curve to undertake. I have determined to take a camera with me as much as possible