Sunday, October 7, 2012

Perspective: Shooting from the hip

As I was waiting for the train to head into New York on Saturday, someone came up to me and told me they had a giant smudge on the front element of their lens and asked if I had a cleaning cloth with me. That lead to an afternoon of walking around Manhattan and shooting street with a partner. 

I generally don't like to be with anyone when I'm out and about specifically with the purpose of shooting, it's too distracting for me. Often the other person walking to one side or the other will be in the way when a shot happens and I have to react quickly. That happened several times on Saturday. But there was a plus side to the experience for me as well. I gave her a few morsels from my extensive streettog manual, and in return I got to watch someone shoot who was totally fresh to the New York street experience. I learned from watching her. 

I like to get interesting angles on my subjects because that change of perspective can really affect the way an image transmits the feeling of the moment, sometimes by the difference of viewing the environment around the person, sometimes by how the lines lead into or out of an image, and sometimes by how the subjects eyes tell the story. 

I had the camera down low for this image. It was the third in a series of shots I took as I walked past her on Third Avenue. She already knew I had taken her picture and was looking into my smiling eyes as I clicked the shutter. It's a more interesting shot for me than if she'd been looking into the lens and had appeared to be looking directly at the viewer.

Just for the record, she smiled back at me after I winked at her. I'm such a charmer!


  1. Really nice story. There is something about you and pretty women :-) Great expression in her face.
    As you write - it´s a bit disturbing about shooting streetphotos, when you are following with someone. I offen said to my wife, when we are shopping in an interesting city: "I´ll wait outside the shop - just take your time in the shop" So many of my best street photos has been taking, waiting outside a shop :-)

  2. Hey mister Charmer,I do like this story.But something I don´t understand here.Are you so big or she is so small.See,she was looking up to the sky :-).And Gene,I would really like to see you in action,so maybe you could record a short video like Eric Kim or Thomas Leuthard did.This is just a hint.Have a very good day my friend!

    1. Darko, I'm not so big, but when the camera is down at waist level that's the perspective I get. As for the video, I'd do it if I could find someone who I trusted to do a good job on it. But then, there'd be another person on the street with me and I wouldn't be as inconspicuous and sneaky.