Candid camera

 You need to be brave and bold to take photographs on the street of complete strangers.

I’m a little reluctant to have human subjects in my photos, so this is a real personal challenge.

I was on my lunch break at work and saw this very unassuming man standing with his placards outside BBC Television Centre, the news hub of the organisation.

It was Holocaust Memorial Day, which probably explains his roughly-painted messages. He just stood there passively, silently.

From a reasonable distance I took this candid shot, not willing to speak to him. But that is the nature of candid photography, merely to observe what is happening without being spotted.

It left many questions unanswered – what was the motivation for his lone protest, and did he hope to make a point or even make an appearance on BBC News?

Far from White City, I was spurred into taking several candid shots in Morocco, partly motivated by a fascination with the faces I saw there.

It’s a place where you need to be very discreet, as some Moroccans don’t like to have their picture taken, while others will use it as an excuse to exact money from you.

My solution was to hide behind the tour group I was travelling with, blend neatly into the background and pretend I was pointing my lens elsewhere.

There are many photographers who make their living by taking shots without permission. Is this the only way to catch people at their natural best and frame some of the best human moments? Or is it wrong to wield the candid camera?…



Click on first image below to launch the gallery

12 thoughts on “Candid camera

  1. As a photojournalist, I take many photos of people without them knowing. I prefer to take the “moment” shots when people are concentrating on whatever it is they are doing, instead of feeling nervous and stiff about a camera pointed their way. I do nearly always make contact wtih them after I’ve shot the frames though, to get their names, opinions and other information. I’m with most everyone else as far as street photography, however. It feels sort of invasive of people’s privacy, although at times I still sneak photos.


    • I’m interested that you sometimes make contact with your subjects afterwards. I guess that’s not needed if it’s photography to capture the moment. Sometimes it’s more compelling to construct your own story around the frame. I still need to do more apart from when subjects wander into shot – that doesn’t really count!


  2. That’s a really great photo. So true about taking photos of strangers. I have a hard time with that too.


  3. Yes, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Wish I could be bold when it comes to street photography. That’s a challenge for me to overcome. Liking your Morocco shots – very nice.


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