Having looked at Walker Evans’ subway series (here) and Hans Eijkelboom’s People of the Twenty First Century (here) I wanted to try working with a concealed camera. Using a small mirror less DSLR hanging from my neck and a remote release hidden in my pocket I spent an hour in a local town. The end result was disappointing at several levels.
- It was very difficult to keep the camera straight both vertically and horizontally. Evans worked sitting down and probably could hold his camera under his coat and Eijkelboom has manufactured a mounting plate that holds his camera level in both planes. One or other strategy would have at least allowed undistorted and level pictures.
- Perhaps I selected a poor location and was too early in the morning but the available subject matter was very limited. If I had not been experimenting I doubt I would have taken any photographs at all.
- At a technical level this type of photography probably works better on a bright day to enable a fast shutter speed and small aperture which are really the idea combination when you cannot focus the camera and have people moving nearby.
- The shopping centre of this particular town is remarkably uninteresting, a archetypical non-place (see here) if ever there was one so it should be possible to develop a series that explored people’s relationship with the area but nothing inspired me.
I will probably try this again but in a busier and more inspiring location, perhaps Brighton or Portsmouth but I first need to engage in some DIY to create a stable platform for the camera.