recently i’ve been following several online discussions that have to do with restrictions on photographers. it seems that more and more photographic content is becoming off limits for commercial use; the louvre exterior, the lighting of the eiffel tower, municipal buildings ‘belonging’ to the city of london, n.y. subway and many other locations. that’s where editorial photojournalistic photography has an advantage.
some of these online discussions have been suggesting using tiny spy cameras to get the shot you want in spite of hounding security personnel. this reminded me of a tactic i once used to get the shot i wanted – ‘blending in’.
this was during a course i did last year in photojournalistic documentary photography. one of our assignments was to tell a story in three frames – a story with a beginning, a climax and an end. after contemplating the assignment guidlines for some time i came up with the story i wanted to tell.
the first frame would show the beginning of a love story. i wanted a young couple displaying buds of love. that wasn’t to hard to get. i went off early one morning to ammunition hill in jerusalem, where the army drafts its new recruits. it didn’t take too long to get a female soldier escorting her boyfriend on the morning of his draft.
i think the special look in his eye says it all!
2nd frame – love blossoms to marriage. that shouldn’t be too hard – go to a wedding and shoot the bride and groom. this is where the ‘blending in’ was usefull. after several evening of trying all the wedding halls in jerusalem only to find them empty (this was in november which is not popular for weddings here) i finally did find a wedding. the only problem was that it was a very religious jewish wedding. most of the male guests wore traditional black and kept seperate from the women. i was really anxious about going in and taking a closeup shot in such a crowd.
i decided to ‘blend in’. i walked all the way up front during the ceremony, looking like it was every bit my business being there. the event photographer gave me a few looks but no one asked me anything. i was right there in front ready to get my shot. but the religious nature of this wedding was something i had never before encountered. the bride and groom did not even exchange glances! so where are the blossoms of love i wanted to shoot?
at the end of the ceremony, for one very brief moment, it came.
a glance and a smile (forget ‘you may kiss the bride’!), recognition, potential for future love. that was good enough for me.
the point of this long story is that if i was there at the ceremony with a covert miniature spy camera, either i would not have captured this rare moment or i would have been kicked out for crashing the wedding and acting suspiciously before this moment even occured.
oh, the 3rd frame … what do you think? first puppy love, then a wedding, then … a baby perhaps?
this couple is walking in to family court – a lovely beginning … and then the end!