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Street Photography in Toronto area

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    CandidToronto

    Would anyone care to share their experiences with candid street photography in the Greater Toronto Area? For example, how common is it to encounter people who object to having candid pictures taken of them in public?

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    25 Sep 2013 - 7:20 PM

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    banehawi
    banehawi Critique Team 10867 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2866 Constructive Critique Points
    27 Sep 2013 - 6:39 PM

    I have done some street shooting around Kensington Market, Chinatown, City Hall, and the St Lawrence market.

    I have twice in 5 years encountered onbections. One was from a Chinese woman, a street seller, who spotted me using a 200mm camera, and shouted some abuse. I went over to her, and showed her I deleted the photo.

    Second was at Nathan Philips Square, - during the open air art show, when I took a shot of a street person, who was asleep at the side of the pool. He woke up during the second shot, and waved his fist at me. I spoke with him, - he said he didnt want pictures takenl I showed him the two, and said I would pay him for them; so I gave him $5, and we were both happy. Both are in my portfolio. Again, it was a 200mm L lens, - so its obvious.

    The answer is to NOT use a long white lens!. I have the 40mm f/2.8 on a 6D, and I have no issues. My best experiences have been with a Fuji X100, pre focused to 15 feet, small aperture, auto ISO, and simply hung around my neck. I shot with it there, - so its never held up to my face. Works also with the Canon, - same this, pre focus, etc. You get some great and unexpected shots. Theres a bunch of mono shots from Chinatown in my PF.

    Some if people dont know, they dont object. If they do, you have to come clean.



    Regards


    Willie

    peterjones
    peterjones e2 Member 123934 forum postspeterjones vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    28 Sep 2013 - 10:32 AM

    Dunno about street photography in Toronto but if it is anything like London I try to mitigate people's reaction to me in various ways; I am aware that I am 6'1" tall and if careless imposing therefore people react defensively to me; some of the best street photographers are little old ladies who present no threat to strangers so be a little old lady.

    Failing the above when I am taking a picture of a person I am looking beyond, above or to the side of them but not at them; I like cameras with articulated screens the old TLRs were brilliant in this respect as you could look down in to the camera making yourself less obvious; you can use a rangefinder or small compact (I like the Fuji X100) preset for exposure and focus and quickly take your picture before moving on.

    Some advocate using a wide angle placing your subject towards the edge of the viewfinder; your subject won't realise that you are using such and won't be aware of you taking his/her picture.

    In such a paranoid nation such as the UK I don't go near children with a camera.

    Finally if you get caught out as has happened to me several times use humour; I usually get away with either showing them the picture and offer to email them a copy or tell 'em they will be eliminated in P/S.

    Just remembered another tactic I use is to look annoyed because they are in your picture.

    HTH, Peter.

    Last Modified By peterjones at 28 Sep 2013 - 10:33 AM
    AlexandraSD
    28 Sep 2013 - 12:00 PM

    I struggled with street photography a few years back, which was ironic because many years ago i wouldnt have given it a second thought, but what with all the media stories about attacks on photographers in public, it does mentally scar you.

    I kinda accidentally found a cure for myself, and i did it by just going out and capturing the town as it is, the townscapes, the iconic buildings, not even thinking about people, certainly not caring if they cared or not. I think after a while you forget the people are actually there, and it may work the other way round too, you yourself becomes slightly invisible simply because of your obvious interest in the town and not its folk.

    Thats the best time to turn your attentions elsewhere, and you can become quite bold in your approach, and actively encourage interaction with your subject, and standing your ground.

    Im lucky in that im only 5'5 in my socks, hardly an imposing figure, but i do stand out like a virgin in a brothel (too many bright coloured clothes lol), however i dont think i really pose much of a threat, and so far no one has reacted in an offish manner, aside from those two rummaging through bins whom i captured the other day.

    I am not in town to specifically do street photography per se, of its inhabitants, but sometimes a photgraphic oppertunity arises and instinct is to capture it, be them people or buildings.

    I guess as long as you dont walk around as if your hunting for prey, you should be alright, showing too much interest in passers by could be seen as a bit creepy, but showing a keen interest in everything around you, the buildings, the light, the pigeons, the traffic, the hanging flower baskets, painted warnings on roads, you soon become seen as less of a threat and more of an eccentric, which is not a bad thing.

    GlennH
    GlennH  91918 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
    28 Sep 2013 - 12:15 PM

    I've done a little street photography and I'm 6'4", which I do generally regard as a disadvantage. Occasionally I've been busted and get glaring expressions into camera. A lot of the time I use indirect street photography methods, e.g. look for likely props and backdrops and then wait for the appropriate actor to stroll into the picture. Then you have the opposite problem if the subject sees you - they'll be courteous and walk around the photo. Bustling cities are good for that tactic - you can become almost invisible.

    I've also used swivel-screens for candid photography, but people aren't generally as dumb as I look - they have a strong inkling they're being photographed (the pointy lens is a dead giveaway). I think a rubbish-looking compact camera is an advantage; then you're more likely to be dismissed as an eccentric tourist.

    Last Modified By GlennH at 28 Sep 2013 - 12:18 PM
    peterjones
    peterjones e2 Member 123934 forum postspeterjones vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    29 Sep 2013 - 9:24 AM

    Agreed that lurking and hiding around street corners, behind lamp posts or looking furtive would just draw attention to yourself, wearing bright clothing (e.g. a bright yellow fluorescent jacket) make a lot of noise people will do their best to ignore you even if you are brandishing the mother of all DSLRs; being regarded as an amiable eccentric is not a bad thing.

    Peter

    Gundog
    Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
    29 Sep 2013 - 2:47 PM


    Quote: Agreed that lurking and hiding around street corners, behind lamp posts or looking furtive would just draw attention to yourself, wearing bright clothing (e.g. a bright yellow fluorescent jacket) make a lot of noise people will do their best to ignore you even if you are brandishing the mother of all DSLRs; being regarded as an amiable eccentric is not a bad thing.

    Peter

    +1

    One of my best investments this year has been a fluorescent yellow waistcoat with "Photographer" in large letters on the back and in smaller letters on the front. (2.99 from eBay if I remember correctly)

    peterjones
    peterjones e2 Member 123934 forum postspeterjones vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    29 Sep 2013 - 4:41 PM

    Funny how wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket makes you "official" and part of authority in the public's eyes ....Grin

    saltireblue
    saltireblue Site Moderator 43917 forum postssaltireblue vcard Norway25 Constructive Critique Points
    29 Sep 2013 - 5:13 PM


    Quote:
    One of my best investments this year has been a fluorescent yellow waistcoat with "Photographer" in large letters on the back and in smaller letters on the front. (2.99 from eBay if I remember correctly)

    I'm the same...have one with 'FOTO' (Norwegian spelling) front and back. Very useful tool to have...

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