So if you've been reading this "vertical photography magazine" a long long time, you might remember a piece I wrote explaining why I'm not a photojournalist. I described coming across a perfect and very newsworthy picture and not being able to take it because it would have been intrusive to others. I'd link to it, but I can't find it. (An increasing problem. I really need to do a book of "The Best of TOP" so all that stuff is in one place.)
[UPDATE: Here it is; thanks to Roger Bradbury for finding it. This isn't even the first time I've lost that piece—I did the same thing once before. Oh well. —Mike]
Anyway, take another look at that crowd shot from Ned's memorial posted on Saturday. It was taken from an open mezzanine or balcony area above the main reception hall at MYAC. I realized at some point that I could get a good establishing shot from up there, so I went up and took the picture you saw the other day, and some others. But here's the funny part. As I was standing there snapping away, I was thinking how great it would be if I could just get everybody in the room to look up at me for twenty seconds.
And then I looked to my right...an arm's length away there was an open mike. The mezzanine had been set up so that the musicians in the family (there are a number) could play for the crowd later on, which did indeed eventually happen.
All I had to do was step to the mike, say, "Uh, excuse me...", and ask everybody to look at me.
Why not? Because I'm still the same guy I was all those years ago at the Wall....
Where you go, there you are.
Seeing, in sequence
And while we're on the subject of how we shoot, I thought I'd show you the rest of the shots from the sequence that ended up with the portrait of Lillian and Rebecca (Becky) that I posted the other day:
The next shot was the portrait; just the one.
All spontaneous. (That family is used to me, present for the camera but not self-conscious in front of it.)
And it's funny, but it you look again at the first picture in the sequence, you can see why I thought maybe the picture that was about to materialize was going to be a portrait of Becky and Jim. Didn't turn out that way.
You go with the flow, of course.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Nigel: "I'm a documentary filmmaker and would happily, even enjoyably, have gone to that microphone to get the crowd to turn round. In the past I've even jumped on stage at a live event and asked the audience to help me and my crew out, and on assignment once thrust a microphone in the face of one of your ex-Presidents (my boss told me to get the interview, so I did). And of course in public I'd shoot individuals in all sorts of ways and get clearence afterwards if needed.
"But with a stills camera, on my own—which is always a strictly amateur thing for me—I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I often think that if I pretended I was on assignment when with a stills camera I would now have shots I really miss not getting, along with others that would have emerged during the process, that I didn't even try for."