Sometimes it's quite easy, other times you may seem to struggle forever, and still miss to capture something even close to what you had in mind.
It's still fun though. And interresting to see how different people behave in front of a camera.
I have learned that people generally get used to it. And I have somehow learned that some never seem to get used to it.
The younger generation just couldn't care less should you put a lens, or even a double lens of a TLR, straight up their nose. Worst you'll get is a couple of flickering eyes after the deed is done, but most of the time just nothing. No questions, no nothing. The reason might be that they usually seem to use a lot more energy looking at some screen than take on board that they just were snapped onto some good old film. So, the youth is quite OK to work with if you want to test things. Test you know the film, light, what works and what's definately not working. Things like that, use the youth if you like to make things simple.
I could probably get closer if I wanted. The bad thing about these snaps is that it's more or less impossible to get eyes on film. It's all about that center of the universe, the screen, you know! Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we removed all these phones for a day or two...
1957 Rolleiflex 2.8E on some well outdated early 1980s ORWO NP22 film.
Then you got the tiny bit older ones. Say around 30 or something. This bunch is usually, for me anyway, my colleagues at work and a few figures back home. They can be tricky at times, wondering and asking questions. You know, why they were snapped and what use you think the final thing is going to get. Internet? Facebook...? I usually leave the answer a bit blowing in the wind, prefereably underlined by a more or less noticeable shrug of my shoulders. On a few occations I hope they stay away from searching the net for any blogs I may have written at some point. People in this category will be able to find out if you did this or that, which can be good and bad. Weird thing is that they may feel it's quite OK to put more or less anything on facebook, but in the same time feel that you have done something close to horrible if they find out you have posted something they have not seen before onto some odd web page no one has ever heard about.
Anyway, the guys at work has stopped noticing when I silently walk around with some camera. I have done the same thing now for years, and they have not seen anything on the web they did not like as for yet, so they just leave me to it, probably thinking that the film is not working or something like that. Weird, huh?
Easy! This guy got used to my behaviours with a camera through the years we worked together. A swedish master of the karate sport, so I would think I'd find my cameras in bits and pieces some day if he thought it was not OK. Then again, these karate guys got an extremely long fuse to burn out before they pop! I know stuff like that. Don't ask, please! Here he's testing his mind and patience on some unsolvable puzzle. He made it in the end though, ofcourse, finished the puzzle off and everything. He got another job not to long ago. The puzzle thing was found to be burnt just after he left...
The majority of people shots, or portraitlike snaps I've done up until now, has been of people I know and who has been very aware of me snapping away in their direction.
Then I have also been out there walking the streets with my camera ready, but never really got to it. Not in a real way, if you see what I mean. I have taken photos, but have not been able to get anything special out of them. They need to look authentic, somehow. They need to tell me something, but I have not been able to do just that. As for yet, anyway. I am curious to the process, and need lots of more training to get it right. If I ever get it right. We shall have to wait and see, obviously. I think you will need to look at things with the right eyes, and I think you need to pick the right sort of people and situations. I also to some degree think you got to have it in you, or you just will not be able get it done in a good way.
Then it's the elder sort. Not necessarily old, but a little bit older than myself. Let's say 65 and older, just to have a starting point. As always the limits of where you go from being middle age to old is very individual... just saying. And it's tricky, because it seems to move a bit along with your own ageing...
Well anyway, this category is a bit different. The majority of them would not be able to find their photo unless you printed it and really forced them to have a good look at it anyway, so no danger here! They never seem to think you would use the snap for anything at all, and would act more or less like the youth. Oblivious to the whole thing. Well, not in all situations and maybe that's just as well. We want to capture some kind of expression, don't we?
I love this one! It's part of a series on a few snaps I was able to get a few years back. I was sitting very close to him, wearing a FM2, or maybe the FE2, and a nice old 50mm lens. I am quite sure this was some Delta 100 film. Not my favourite thing, but that does not matter much. One have to use what one can fish out from somewhere when needed. He was a bit curious in the beginning, but after a few comments around film and such, he found better use of his time and started chatting like I hoped he would. Turns out this is one tough guy. Throwing himself on a bike pedaling like 5-6 hours more or less every day. Participating in long races he does as well from time to time. The Trondheim-Oslo race is the longest one in Norway. Some 540 km in one go. Crazy man...!
OK, and this will be the bottom lines and my conclusion of it all, I promise. Best snaps of people will usually be the ones done when people act as normal, more or less, or when you get some sort of expression you're after. And I think part of my conclusion is that people at all ages will be able to do just that, but not all of them. Not with a camera lens stuffed up their field of vision. Some people you will never be able to get a decent snap of, no matter how hard you try, while others will be an easy match.
But you will always need to be in the right position there and then, everything ready set to just hit the trigger at the right moment. And that's the tricky part. Some times we make it, more often not. And we need to practice to nail it. It's as simple as that, really.