Friday, 3 August 2012

Urban Cowboy

I spotted this gentlemen relaxing on the village high street yesterday. I thought he looked a little out of place in his Western hat sitting on a quintessential looking English village street complete with quaint village signs and red post boxes. But he was far too observant not to notice me aiming my camera at him, even though I was standing about sixty feet away behind my open car boot and pretending not to be photographing him. Even the small visual footprint of the Leica wasn't enough to make me invisible. I don't think he realised he was my subject, probably just curious as to what I was doing. 

This raises a question. Should I first ask his permission? There is no legal need for me to do this of course, as everyone in a public area is public by default. However, if I did ask his permission, the spontaneity and naturalness of the scene would vanish. Become staged. And capturing a street scene is all about capturing the scene as it is. Unfortunately, this shot is the poorer for his awareness. He's looking right at me. I would have much preferred him interacting with the scene, and not me. But I didn't have time to wait around and my invisibility cover was blown already. So the chance was gone. But I still like the textures and colours of this scene.

Street scenes are fun because the moment passes so fast. If you want good shots, you must have your camera in hand, not in your bag, with your mind working and looking for visual opportunities. Just the fact of having your camera actually in hand, makes you want to take shots. If it's in the bag, it's often too much hassle to get out and you end up with nothing.  
Leica M9 90mm f2.8.

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