Personal space is more than 35mm

I’m doing a Street Photography course at the moment with an on-line photography school.  I can’t remember what they’re called, The Chappaquiddick School or Motoring or The Zapruder Film School something like that. Our first assignment was to take a wide angled fixed lens into the streets and shoot faces.

This is not as simple as you think.  I’ve always done Street shots using a 50mm lens and been outside the abuse zone at about 15-20 feet.  I don’t do meters so that either 0.0001m or 11,000m.  In the past 3 years I received about 2 V signs or threats to insert large objects in my fundament.  Saturday was different.

We were tasked with working within 10 feet.  At this range you are well within spitting, shouting and thumping range.  In the two hours I was out I received 2 V signs, a single finger salute and invitation to visit Turkmenistan to photography beautiful women and a job request to appear in my next ad.

It’s a strange world we live in in terms of photography. It is estimated that 2,700 photographs are taken every second not to mention the 4.2m CCTV cameras in the UK but walk down Oxford Street with a digital SLR and people think you’re either a paedophile or a paparazzi.  I tried to look like a tourist but was greeted like a terrorist.  If you want to feel really welcome loosely fill a rucksack with marzipan and old wires and get on a bus or walk down a busy shopping street with a large lens.  Both will make you realise what a warm and hospitable bunch Londoners are.

Next week we’re going to be tasked with ‘getting in people’s faces’.  That should be fun.  Crash helmet (check), suit of armour (check), extra padded cricket box (check), medical insurance (check)…………


One thought on “Personal space is more than 35mm

  1. It’s a pain, for sure, yesterday I was on the concourse outside a shopping centre (Churchill Square in Brighton) where a band was about to start playing. Security came and told me that photography was banned there. Despite the fact that the area was swarming with tourists… in the space of 15 minutes I must have witnessed 200 pictures being taken, but the photographers were ignored by security because they were using camera phones or compacts. The SLR obviously makes me a pariah.

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