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Old 01-08-2005, 08:16 AM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,537
Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

Hi, Darren, i agree with what you said.

As a pro, yes, as a traveller no: The photo taking should not be the reason why one gets up in the morning, it becomes too obsessive, an "idee fixe", and i can sense this compulsion to be a photographer first, a traveller second in a few galleries.

Notwithstanding candid shots where the subject is unaware of the photo being taken, a rapport, any kind of, must happen, and yes, i believe it should not be based on giving money. Though we may have all done it, it is a bit cheating, IMO. doing this, there is just no travelling anymore, just affluence buying non-affluence, west meet east and the twins shall never meet, as M Twain said.

It also encourages greed, as you noted.

What I really like about TE, is that each portrait of a gallery adds up to give me an idea of how the member relates to the people he/she meets or crosses, traveling. And here, i dare say that i may disagree with who is a good portrait photographer, who goes beyond the technique and the good catch. Some of the best portraits can be made by very shy people (there won't be too many, that's all), or by technically defficient people. Because it is the empathy one feels towards one's fellow being that comes thru at this point.

No matter how great the pictures are coming out, once you have a body of work from a photographer, you can feel if it's all plastique (well-shot/composed) or if the heart of the photographer was in his/her camera as much as the film/card.

I improved my approach to people by telling myself i am a nice guy, I love people and kids, and darn if i am not going to let them know!!! Just smiling helps a lot on one's shyness, and when you feel limited by this "hello, look at me" approach, you have at least acquired a "socializing" technique that can serve for more candid, more composed, more instant close-up shots. Here, it's important that one's technical chops have improved as much as one's approach towards people. This is where I lag behind, very sloppy and lazy technician...
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