From: Judy Seigel (email@example.com)
Date: 08/29/02-08:16:58 PM Z
On Thu, 29 Aug 2002, Carl Weese wrote:
> There is no such thing as a candid camera, and never was. The photographer
> is always present, people always know.
Did you ever shoot on a summer night in Times Square (the old Times Sq., I
haven't been to the new one)? There's an enormous crowd, a throng, and
EVERYBODY has a camera, and everybody is shooting in every direction & if
they do know, nobody cares... A gray-haired lady who shoots quick --
camera is down before they notice & the shutter click is drowned in the
hubbub is indeed for all practical purposes invisible.
Except when she's not -- and some of those pictures were also good: direct
-- and funny -- eye contact. However you need to account for the
difference in response to a woman, whatever the ideal on this list may be.
I have pictures of drug sales & god knows what that a friend of mine
(male) says he'd have been killed for. If someone did challenge me I'd
giggle & say "there's no film in the camera." They assumed I was crazy &
just shook their head... Plus, too many plain clothes men, too risky to
call attention to themselves by battery -- I figured. Or maybe I just
looked silly enough to seem unthreatening -- and I never had a big lens
(phallic symbol) hanging off me either, and dressed plain & tacky.
Actually, a much bigger problem was that so many people wanted to talk.
I'm a sociable chatty type & usually found that interesting, about Rikers
Island, whatever, but time was passing & I was missing my pictures so
tried to remember to get away.
A photographer friend of mine (male), incidentally, observed that his
daughter also used to go out and take street pictures he, or any man,
would have been assaulted over. And not necessarily incriminating
pictures, even doing nothing -- simply the act of being "taken" by a woman
is not the same to a man as being "taken" by a man. But I guess this is
too "Freudian" for some folks. They would probably claim response in all
things is -- or should be -- the same no matter which sex is doing it.
As for comparing that scene to KINGSTON. You mean Kingston, NY? Where 5
people on the street corner are a mob? Surely you jest.
The worst cliche in the world is the
> fly on the wall that ain't. There are no invisible photographers, thank
There are many... but by definition they are -- invisible.
> People always ask you to take their picture. Bill Pierce and I once
> discussed asking all our friends to contribute their favorite "hey Mister,
> take my picture" (lack of PC noted in advance) picture for a book. We didn't
> do it, but should have.
> In 1990 I was a couple hundred rolls into a 35mm project photographing in
> Kingston, NY, and a group of four girls, aged about 11 or 12, said "hey
> Mister, take our picture". I shot several frames, one of which is among the
> best pictures I've ever made. Ten minutes later I got hasseled by the cops,
> because a neighbor called them to say a great big bad man was going around
> the neighborhood taking pictures of little girls. Since that is _not_ in
> fact a crime, and back then the cops knew it wasn't, I was allowed to go on
> my way. I suspect today I'd have needed a lawyer to get my butt out of the
> hoosegow. It's still a terrific picture. And the girls knew I was there, it
> is their response to a viewing presence that makes the pictue, and the
> instant response of the small camera was absolutely vital to the making of
> this image: the other frames are technically perfect, but useless.
You say, "response to the viewing presence" made that picture, and that's
something I sometimes found as well.... but there's ALSO "the scene" in
itself, entirely unselfconscious, or absorbed in its own multiple
pursuits. That was my "vision," the phantasmagoria; any other stuff I
picked up along the way was gravy.
> I know what the small camera is for. Invisibility isn't it.
Carl, let me suggest that when you say you "know" what the small camera
"is for," you err. I don't think in fact ANYONE knows what ANY camera
"is for." That's what the excitement is about.
As for invisibility... That's a lot harder for a man than for a woman. My
feeling anyway was that I was, for all practical purposes, and for the
most part, not in consciousness at the time of taking the picture.
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