Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/04/27

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Human Traffic
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 15:50:54 +0100

on 27/4/00 2:11 PM, Ted Grant at wrote:

> They invariably turn their head to their left to see who I'm shooting .
> And with a tiny amount of body language you can make it look like you
> really are doing just that, shooting someone behind the main subject.  :-)

Right! Those of us with eyes which inconveniently point in the same
direction can often achieve a similar feat which goes something like this...

PROBLEM -- someone spots you as you shoot them. They are slap bang in the
middle of your frame and there is no doubt you were shooting them and them
alone. It looks like they may have an 'issue' about it from the way they are
staring down the lens and bunching their fists.

SOLUTION -- you remove the camera from the eye and as you do make sure your
viewfinder eye is focused on something BEYOND them and a few degrees off, as
if you were shooting a tree or something about ten feet behind them and two
to the side, and haven't even noticed your main subject. Ted's body language
tip is a good one here. IMPORTANT do not under any circumstances make eye
contact during this phase of the process or you will be in danger of blowing
the whole thing.

If there actually is something there it's even better but it is not
necessary for this trick to work. The subject will automatically look behind
them to see what you were actually shooting. To add to the illusion, you can
look all around you and frame some other stuff up as if searching for
another shot... all the time completely ignoring your main subject, who by
now will be annoyed that you do not find him/her as interesting as everyone
else. Now you return to your non-existent tree, check it out once more, and
put the camera back to your eye.

It is embarrassing how well this works. I always feel a bit ashamed, but

- --
Johnny Deadman