I have become self conscious and it scares me

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by hoffy, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber

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    Happy New Year!

    I have noticed something of late when I go out and photograph - I have become self conscious and quite often the camera stays in the bag OR I don't take the shots that I want to take.

    I remember back when I first starting taking photography seriously as a hobby. I'd have no issue what so ever pointing a camera at anything in any situation. Now I have this feeling that people are wondering what this round bellied middle aged man is doing taking a photo of that....

    Has anyone else been through the same? Am I actually normal?

    Cheers.
     
  2. mark

    mark Member

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    Me too. Something we just have to get over. I also look for places where no body is.
     
  3. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I'm a very big guy with long hair and a beard so few want to confront me. Doesn't mean I can or would do anything just works in my favor. Kinda enjoy it.
     
  4. calebarchie

    calebarchie Member

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    Ignorance is bliss..
     
  5. OP
    OP
    hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber

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    Yeah, sometimes ignorance is bliss. I have a friend who has started doing Street (digital) - he is 10 years older than me and does a real good job. I suppose it comes down to confidence, something I lack in certain circumstances.
     
  6. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    The reality is that people don't care. Unless you're pointing the camera at them / their wife / their children / their car / their house, they don't care even though they may be curious.

    Last time someone asked me what I was doing was in 1972, when I made a photo of the tailights on this guy's '59 Caddy. Wasn't a problem.
     
  7. peter k.

    peter k. Subscriber

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    Yeah, not quite the same as you, but got a little of that yesterday.
    Down on the ledge, right next to the creek at Grasshopper Point, we wanted to take a water shot of the 3rd small rushing water fall there, but had not brought the tripod. So laid down and set up some rocks on the ledge, to steady and level the camera, so we could shoot a f11@ an 8th image, using my old 3x4 Anniversary speed to see if we liked it, and try it again later with a tripod.
    Concentrating on that, didn't even realize what appeared to be a teenage son and his father just ten feet away! Fishing! No one was anywhere near, when we started the set up, and didn't even hear them.
    Sat back up, got up, and suddenly discovered them.
    Wooo.. Ha... surprised, and asked, as we do of so many of the tourists here, Hi, where ya from?
    The older gentleman, eyeing my funny black box that we had been lying on the ledge making love with, and trying to ignore this strange apparition before him, gave me a dismissal side line glimpse, with a not anywhere near you look, and answered Phoenix.
    Phew.... we were outofthere...
     
  8. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I think when I started I was more self-conscious but had a more open eye, experimenting a lot more than I do now. Now it's the opposite - I don't think I shoot as much, or try new things, as I used to, but I'm usually not self-conscious about taking photos. However, I attribute that largely to living in Japan, especially here in Kyoto, where it's not uncommon to see people with cameras all the time. That said, I am more self-conscious about using a tripod, especially during the day, but I don't do it often.
     
  9. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Subscriber

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    I set up the 8x10 camera on a tripod one night in downtown Denver, and can't count how many people asked me to take their picture. I had to decline every time, I was taking 20 minute exposures!

    It can take some nerve to aim a camera at a candid subject. Many won't notice, most of the others won't care. I tend to ask. Have rarely been refused.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    What's worse, being self-conscience or ignoring oneself? I don't know! I had a fun week or so in Kyoto (early December). Camera or not I stood out! Nice city to bicycle in, the Brooks Veriwide100 in the front basket! Freshly home -- time to develop the films!
     
  11. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member

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    I have this weird theory that people feel threatened by cellphones and black dSLR but feel comfortable with cameras which stand out (Silver SLR, Folding, LR etc etc).
     
  12. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber

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    I suppose the key is to probably get out more. I do find, though, that this self consciousness is often not conducive to actually taking photos.
     
  13. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Seriously? That's great news for someone into street portraiture like me. Might have to try it.
     
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  15. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    You were here? It would have been great to meet up with you Vaughn! In any event, can’t wait to see your photos.
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Times have changed. Looking back at my photos from the 1970s, children sometimes appear as a subject. They were part of the environment I photographed, generally in groups playing ball, or whatever. It never occurred to me not to include them in a scene. The first time I was self conscious of doing so was at a village fete about ten years ago, where I became aware of people watching me photograph a children's event, in a way they hadn't with adult activities.

    Carrying a small camera candidly arouses suspicion in a way professional looking cameras does not. Walk round with a pair of (D)SLRs and 2.8 zoom lenses, with a flash and reflector snapping everything, and people assume you're official. It's sad but that's the Orwellian world we live in. The other difference is kids rarely play outside in the kind of places I photograph, in the way that was once common, so they don't appear in the pictures.
     
  17. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    I had this problem a few years ago, before I started using the older folders and other cameras, I always felt that people were thinking not another one, when I had a big Bronica with a long lens, or 35mm slr at my eye,then I discovered these wonderful old timers, folders, tlr's Ect now I find that I don't feel at all consious of the camera, after all, more people want to talk to me about the camera I am using, even younger people, many have never seen these type of cameras, or not for many years, after all some are 60/70 80 years old, some remember them from their early days, even the digi photographers want to talk about the cameras I use, and most people don't mind letting me take their photo with my old timers, only a week or so ago I was somewhere with my Leica 111C and asked someone if I could take a photo, yes, lovely to see an old camera, a few minutes later the same persom was approached by a DSLR with a big lens Etc and the said no
    Richard
     
  18. OP
    OP
    hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber

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    I tend to find the opposite. Get out a Cell phone and all is good. Get out a SLR an you're a perve
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  19. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The important thing is not to look surreptitious or sneaky, because people pick up on those things quickly. I agree on the smart phone point, especially since some have lenses pointing either way. The idea you might be a chronic narcissist taking selfies is considered normal, the idea you might be interested in other people has become suspect.
     
  20. Hilo

    Hilo Subscriber

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    You need some kind of relationship with people who you photograph. For me photography has moved on from "taking shots of people who are unaware". It is a good thing. So talk and ask. Or establish some kind of a relationship. When it does not work, when you see people are uncomfortable, just don't take the picture and explain. After that it can still be yes or no . . . And it hardly matters which it is
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    As soon as someone knows you want to photograph them, they strike a pose. That's fine, but you'll get a portrait, not a candid shot of how people normally look.
     
  22. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I do very little street shooting, at least, of people, but like @R.Gould I have noticed my TLR and my folders tend to draw some comments and attention of a very positive nature. Last year as I was snapping a shot along a local trail with my Ercona II -- an early 1950s 6x9 -- a guy walking by stopped and dragged his kid over to look at it with a "There, now that is a real camera!" comment.

    And several times I've been out on WPPD with my 8x10 pinhole camera people have stopped to ask all sorts of genuinely curious questions. Of course that sucker is hard to miss! One year a small group of young guys, maybe only high school age asked about it, and asked more questions based on my answers. Said they thought it was really cool, thanked me for explaining it, wished me a good outing with it -- and called me "sir" an embarrassing number of times. This was on the fringe of a car show near the Bethlehem Steel plant (my actual target). "My {father/uncle/grandfather} had a camera like that" is another common remark about the folders or TLR.
     
  23. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I don't get too self-conscious, as an analog SLR doesn't look a lot different from a DSLR at a quick glance, while a 35mm point-and-shoot looks not unlike a small digital point-and-shoot.
    So long as you're not intrusive (and avoid children, of course), most people are not interested. Many have their own digital cameras and smartphones and some older people still don't bother taking pictures of anything and everything.
    A 10x8 camera could be expected to attract attention, of course, but a lot of folks would assume you were a professional, or be genuinely interested. (or. perhaps "Hey Mister, are you from the Telly? :smile: )
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  24. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Everyone's different. Some people change over time. I'm still oblivious / fearless when I shoot with my yellow Hassey.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I did a fair amount of "wander and shoot what is interesting for the university newspaper" type photography when I was a teenager, so I developed a fair amount of ease with the process. What was particularly helpful was the fact that the newspaper preferred to identify the subjects of the photos that were published, so generally speaking after taking the candid photos, I would approach the subjects and ask if I could have their names and faculty in case we decided to publish it. Once you do that a few times, you get comfortable with it.
    The paper published three times a week during the school year, and I took a lot of photos for it over several years, so I had lots of practice.
    I also photographed a lot of weddings, and took particular pride in my candid work - more practice again.
    If you make eye contact and smile, most people are happy to have been part of your photographic day.
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I prefer that my landscapes and architectural photographs do not have people in them because the clothes date the photograph and the people are often distracting. Especially when traveling I have no choice but to take the photograph with people. However I do not do street photography for the sake of street photography; I take the photograph because there is something that I want to photograph. I do not enjoy taking portraits of strangers while I have no problems of taking portraits of friends and family. Hence I can fully understand the OP's point of view.
     
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