About Me

Sok Sobi. I enjoy taking pictures of people and places, particular interest in Landscape, People and Travel photography. Pictures and stories that bring Social Awareness and the potential for long term social change or policy are important to me. I use Canon Digital Cameras (EOS 1Ds,1D Mk1,2,4 plus Powershot G11) with a selection of Canon lenses, the 24-105 IS f4L being my favourite at present. I use Lightroom & Photoshop Elements to edit my work. Canon equipment and lenses give me just what I need, reliability and high IQ. I am now living and working in Cambodia, South East Asia, using Phnom Penh as a base to explore the region. I publish stories that are important to me on my blog but always try to give a balanced picture.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Dangers of Street Photography

One of the inherent dangers in street photography is that you are dealing with and taking photos of complete strangers. You are unaware of the mood or disposition and may soon find yourself in a difficult, if not potentially dangerous, situation. I was out on one of my afternoon strolls around Phnom Penh near Sar Ka Dah market when I came across these guys working in one of the street engineering shops. I immediately raised the camera and took a pic. One of the guys did not appear very happy about this as can be seen by his expression in the first image. I took a few more shots, lowered the camera and smiled, saying '' taught rup'' (khmer for can I take your picture) immediately the mood changed and the same guy who had looked a potential threat started playing for the camera. I continued to take a few more frames (fortunately my camera shoots 8 per second) until the last frame shown here where the guy is happy and smiling. What could have been a confrontation had now become quite friendly, diffused I think by using a few simple Khmer words and smiling. Would I have done it any other way, maybe asked first, no as that first shot is the defining shot of the whole sequence and without it the others would have had little meaning. I learned in the Army, shoot first and ask questions later. Don't miss the opportunity.
I think part of being a ''good'' street photographer is being able to judge the mood of the people you are taking pictures of, and often the mood and demeanor of those around them. Knowing when to back off is essential, and also at times being willing to continue taking pictures despite the potential risk, sometimes the risks are worth it, sometimes not.

 (click on the images for larger pictures)..

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