It is a phenomena I’ve noticed many times at public events: Carry and shoot with an obviously “real” camera and most people will get out of your frame or stop themselves from walking into your frame until it becomes obvious that you’ve completed your shot. That doesn’t always happen, of course. Many people are oblivious in general and some have no proximity sense whatever. But more often than not, people will adjust for you if you are shooting with an SLR or DSLR. My Yashica TLR is the best at producing that effect.
The photos in this post are from Cars and Coffee, a weekly car and motorcycle show held in Irvine, California. The show, held on Saturday mornings, is typically quite large, featuring two to three hundred cars and fifty to one hundred motorcycles.
When I had the brief conversation with the beautiful woman that I mentioned in Beauty and Beauty (Beauty Driving Away), she glanced quickly at my Nikon SLR, then asked if I was a professional photographer. Because of the camera I was carrying, I apparently appeared to be serious.
The above photograph is of my 9-year-old grandson shooting with his Minolta X 700 SLR. During the show, I watched numerous people stop or get out of his way when he lifted the Minolta to his eye. It didn’t seem to matter that he was “just a kid”. The most important things about his appearance were his use of a real camera and his manner.
The photograph below shows a man shooting with a DSLR. Seconds before, he had been one of a half-dozen people standing on the sidewalk looking at the Triumph. When he lifted the DSLR to his eye, the small clump of people around him quickly cleared.
No One Cares About Your Phone Camera
The other side of this is the use of phone cameras and small digital point and shoots. If you are holding your phone out at arm’s length and squinting at it, or peering at the rear screen of a point and shoot (P&S) while grasping it in the stinky baby diaper hold, you’ll only be worthy of being ignored. No one will care what you are doing. The rest of humanity will simply be of no help while you insist on playing with toys.
I’m not saying that you are playing with a toy. Many of the phone cameras and P&S cameras produce very good technical photographs. But I am saying that you have the appearance of playing with a toy. No one is likely to take you seriously when you’re making snapshots with your phone or P&S, and you are also not likely to receive any assistance with that endeavor.