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  #21  
Old 10-19-2006, 02:01 PM
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Darren Darren is offline
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Default Re: negative reaction from potential models

Hi Herve,

Just an impression from me. I would say that the thinking that it is easier to take street portraits in SE Asia than it is in Canada and Australia is largely overblown and just not near as true as people think. I haven't posted many such shots from either place, but it is not because I didn't take them, but more because the ones I did take were just not interesting, especially to my western eyes. I had actually believed that myself, up until my last visit home a little over a year ago. When I was back, I proceded to take very much the same street style portraits I often take here, with my subjects giving me pretty much the same reactions as I get here in Taiwan, or anywhere else I have been in Asia. The seem surprised that I am interested in taking a photo, but their reactions are generally positive. The odd one waved me away, but that happens everywhere. Quite honestly, I was surprised that the reactions were as positive as they were; I believed the myth as much as anyone.

My experiences in Australia were exactly the same. I was out shooting with some Ozzies one day, and they were all shocked at how confidently I would go up and take a photo, but they were more shocked at how positively people reacted to me. Literally, the first two times they saw me approach someone, they winced.

Now, I know that I don't have any such photos posted here, but that is more because I didn't really take good ones, and because I think that to be honest I find more interest in a vendor in a traditional market than a hot dog vendor in Vancouver. I shot both though.

I think there is a lot of confidence required to take such photos, and if you don't have the confidence your body language will show it. Bad body language on the photographer's part leads to negative reactions I think. Maybe it was easier to gain confidence shooting in SE Asia, but if you have it, you can shoot anywhere.

Anyways, I am not trying to argue or anything, just throwing my opinion/experience out there.

BTW, please don't get me wrong. I do not feel I am a master of street portraits in any way. Quite frankly, I am trying to move away from street portaiture as much as possible, but am having difficulty with that.
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  #22  
Old 10-20-2006, 04:02 AM
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kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: negative reaction from potential models

Actually, i think alike that there is a right approach that can remove many obstacles in the west too, my own problem is that I do no trust myself to get across as well quite yet, and I know excatly what it's about, definitely my personality and my usual take on people in general. I can be both warm-hearted and a loner, and avoid contact as easy as I get a point across. I really think we photograph with the whole of ourselves, and the 50 (for me) years in one's skin come into account everytime we raise, or would like to, the camera.

Still, this is not a myth. people in the west have a much more acute notion of the private space than in Asia, especially non-western Asia, I can enter a temple in Thailand or Burma if an ordination, is happening, AND become part of it, even thanked for the honor of paying interest and being a guest, but it would never be obvious to do that in a western church here or in France, when teenagers are finishing Sunday school for the big Communion Day. Likewise, while in Paris, chinese wedding parties do not see much problem in taking shots of their party, but even if you can, a french wedding party would not understand you barging into "their" Special Day. It can happen to be invited, but I call that great communication skills, a knack to "sesame" your way into the privacy of others, not just mutual warm-heartedness as with asian ceremonies and strangers dropping by.

H
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  #23  
Old 10-20-2006, 07:47 AM
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Darren Darren is offline
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Default Re: negative reaction from potential models

Most certainly there are differences between shooting in temples in Asia and churches in the west. I have no doubt about it, although I have never tried taking shots in a church in the west; maybe with the right approach, the differences might not be as great as one thinks. then again, they likely are as great. I was just thinking about more normal street shooting, where I really don't believe there is much of a difference between the two cultures at all, even though I did at one time believe they existed.

I have been pulled into wedding ceremonies/celebrations in both Thailand and in India. You are very much correct that a stranger would never be welcomed into such an event in the west. It is a humbling and heartwarming feeling when it happens.
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  #24  
Old 10-20-2006, 08:29 AM
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kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: negative reaction from potential models

yes, and truly you are not just tolerated, but asked to join as a guest, and most often, placed next to the family head. It happened to me in Cambodia, and this was a funeral. I was visiting this temple in Kompong Cham, and saw a gathering with flames going up from a low-lying pyre.

Well, I approached discretly, and I took pictures of a few things related to the temple sights, not the ceremomy, just so they would acknowledge me by sight. Soon, some smiles came my way, and not long after, permission to shoot as I wished, which I correctly interpretated as being invited to join the gathering in respect to the deceased. As you know well, there were both solemnity and laughters as it proceeded, and many times, I was reassured i was not intruding and my presence was considered an honor (wow!). Afterwards, I joined all in the family home, everyone trying their english on me, asking me why i was not married, and filling my plate as soon as it was emptied, etc... And was invited to a more important funeral ceremony later in the week, where all the neighborood would be. sadly, I had made plans to leave town, but before I left, I found a Konica shop that could print digital shots, and I made a collection of the shots taken the morning before and gave them to the family head whose mother had died.

Just one day in Cambodia!
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  #25  
Old 10-20-2006, 12:52 PM
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adam_k adam_k is offline
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Default Re: negative reaction from potential models

I can see no problems in taking pictures in churches in Europe (I mean actually Poland here but probably other countries as well)... The thing is to learn when you can shoot and when not: disturbing people during the holy mass is likely to be frowned upon but if you behave decently and respect others it's ok. I think
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