Stealth mobile street shooting – lesson one

One of my goals for 2012, I decided quite suddenly last Saturday morning, is to become more stealth. In the photography sense. To take to the streets and unleash my inner Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank with the hope that the output is a bit more bearable to look at than an update on Kim Kardashian. (It makes me mad that I even know who Kim Kardashian is.)

So without giving the latest goal on my 2012 list any more thought, I grabbed my phone, hunted down its earphones that had never been used, and headed to the streets.

I’ve had a phone with a camera for a little over a year now –yeah, I’m always a bit behind the times, I know- but I never used it much. Until this past weekend, I took less than a couple dozen photos with it over the past 13 months. My Nokia C5’s output isn’t great which is why I chose to ignore it: the biggest images I can get are 1944×2592 at about 1.5 MB, and the color quality and control leave way too much to be desired. And I almost always have either my DSLR or handycam with me. Everywhere.

But this time those stayed home. Stealth meant shoving shiny like-new earphones into my ears and finding a wall to lean on where I would pretend to listen to music and gradually transform into Senor Incognito. And it worked. It’s quite remarkable how people ignore people who wear earphones. It didn’t occur to me until then, but I’m exactly the same: I never wear earphones in public and always ignore those who do. In the fleeting moments when they are momentarily noticed, I generally look down on them in a scornful, loathsome sort of way they  quite likely don’t all deserve. Maybe they’re actually stealth street snappers taking pictures of me.

Anyway, I had fun. The shutter release on the phone is a bit awkward, so I probably blew my cover a few times. That could and will be solved with a new phone, something I’m currently researching.

I decided on just two rules: that all the images be black & white and that the final crop will be square. Rules are meant to be broken but I will try to stick to this for the rest of the year and see what transpires.

The first target was a beggar, an easy one. There are so many around these days, and they’re multiplying. Especially on sunny weekends.

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