Sunday, May 15, 2005

CF5 600 - Flashless - 14 Lamppost Number 4[Er... Blogger's losing it. Again. This time clicking on Create to start a new post, opens a copy of the previous one. Most odd].

Two weekends down, one film done. Oh dear. I've got between now and Wednesday after next to get two films done, one on sports photography (Sports? Me? Can you see where I'm going with this? Although I did see people windsurfing on Friday, but they wouldn't have come out, and I suspect high speed a mile off is not quite what my tutor had in mind) and one using possibly pre-fogged infrared film, for which I've yet to buy a filter. It's going to be fun.

So today, I had to go off to a land far away and take pictures of people I didn't know. I chose a land far away, one to avoid all the "Hi, how are you?"s (like that would happen. Normally it's seeing people dive into the nearest available shop, and develop a keen interest in, oooh, I see you sell shoe laces, and, er, umbrellas, no I don't want any keys cut, or shoes glued back together thank you, and is he gone yet?), and so if it all goes badly wrong I can run away to a different town.

I think I got sunburnt. I may need to be become a bit better at taking photographs of people at slightly more than three an hour (slight exaggeration). The first few where surreptitious shots, but it's damn hard to be surreptitious with a big black camera attached to a big black lens, held by a big, er, black-haired (well I claim it's dark brown, because it goes gingery in the sun, but French teachers tended to try correcting me when I used marron) guy. And by big I mean tall, and a bit gawky, and sodding hell, does everyone have to be under four foot today, I'm standing downhill from them and still I'm higher.

If doing surreptitious camera work, and one needs a lower camera angle, put your bag or camera case on the ground, and frowning at your camera, put it down. You should now continue fiddling with things on your camera looking bemused, and occasionally flicking the camera up to focus on the prey, bringing it back down to frown, teeth-suck and fiddle once more. Then swing it back up, take your picture and move on. This assumes your intended subject hasn't just gone into M&S after your charade has demoted you to the position of street furniture.

But does no-one ever stand still? I think I have a heck of a lot of pictures of people sitting, squatting, leaning, as they drink, they smoke, they tell a joke, they misquote lyrics, they eat, write letters, read papers, magazines and text messages, phone their friends (in the case of the woman in green, she was still walking round town, still on the phone, two hours later, having been seen repeatedly in-between).

And why do people have an unerring ability to ensure they're not in the shot? I know it looks like I'm aiming at the clock, but that's all a cunning ploy to point the camera in you direction without arousing suspicion so if you would kindly stop walking off to one side now it won't work oh never mind.

What is it with sunglasses? People, if I'm trying to take surreptitious shots of you, I don't want to see me. And also I can't tell if you've clocked the camera yet.

Basically, I'm more Peperami than Paparazzi (and I don't even like Peperami. It's a bit of an animal. Wow, you could have fooled us. So which bit?). Does that previous sentence even make sense? Who cares, if it sounds good?

But taking pictures of people is bloody hard work. Even when I started asking people it only seemed to get harder. Their faces changed. They look like studies in acting normally, looking relaxed, complete with eye in the corner of their eye checking out if I'm done yet. Either that or they are really stupid and pull faces (not that I'm thinking of one guy in particular here. What does one do? I can't really pretend to take a shot without doing it, as he might notice the lack of clatter. Oh well, the tutor did mention she was interested in the reactions we would get. Cinema verité and all that). There are also a heck of a lot of people whose response to being asked if they mind being photographed, is "why me?", followed by some comment which dismisses them. Do people really think that little of themselves? Having said that, I probably would fit into the why/are-you-sure category.

I've got very orange sun shining on my screen. It's getting round to setting behind that hill, not the other one, again. I think it's dropping hints.


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