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Old 22nd April 2019
RobEW RobEW is offline
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Ad hoc event tog experience

I went to a wonderful Caribbean Easter party in my local park on Saturday. A great event. I felt I had been welcomed and embraced into a very special and wonderful diverse community, of all ages, various ethnicity including people of mixed race (led mainly by English people of Jamaican heritage I think) and with no barriers of social class, culture etc. Loads of activities especially including the many children with crafting activities, Easter egg hunt in the park, Easter bonnet parade, all accompanied by Caribbean music, food and drink. Cheryl's patties (including Scotch bonnets) packed quite a flavour impact and came with a bit of a health warning, but were delicious. And there were Caribbean main meals too. This is a community-based collective and all catering was for donation rather than payment. Lots of people were enjoying custom-made pineapple-juice based c/mocktails from pineapple shells; you could have various syrups, rum, coconut puree and other ingredients mixed in with the liquidised pineapple flesh.

I took along my E-M1 ii and 12-100 (but no flash) partly because I wanted to take some photos in the park, and - it being the only camera present larger than a phone - found myself encouraged to do something I enjoy - observe and capture some images. but informally cast in the role of an event photographer (both outdoor and indoor) - at which I am a complete novice.

I had a go, somewhat inexpertly I'm afraid, and later found my camera had somehow switched from its normal settings so it wasn't behaving technically quite as expected. I normally photograph architecture, landscapes, flora etc, not events, so I was learning as I went on. I expect there were plenty of people with very good eyes and very capable phones who could also capture great images, but somehow being the only person present with an actual camera seemed to suggest I knew what I was doing!

Where I did feel a bit more competent was in observing, noticing, interacting, engaging and clicking at the right moment. They made it very easy. People were generally not at all shy, though a few preferred not to be photographed, and one asked for a photo to be deleted.

I guess my rather improvised style of engagement as a photographer was overt but candid; i.e. it was obvious I was taking photos and there was an announcement to say so, and I additionally tried to identify and get specific permission from parents for all photos with children in, and I often showed people what photo I had taken with them in. But I usually took photos mainly of naturally occurring and unaffected images and interactions, like a street photographer, rather than posed and set up scenes like a studio portrait photographer. Some people wanted to pose of course. I also spent some of my time enjoying the event and the company as a participant, rather than being some kind of mere detached onlooker. I felt very welcomed, trusted and engaged. My intention in taking photos and selecting ones to share and the way they are presented (e.g. cropping) was always based on an underlying admiration and respect. I hope that might come though. It was a lovely event with lots of lovely people.

Many of my photos were close-ups of identifiable individuals, some of whom may be rather image-conscious, so I won't share them here.

If I did it again I'd take 2 cameras, one for outdoor with 12-100 and ISO set at 200 and Aperture priority; one for indoor with primes (perhaps Sigma 30/1.4 mainly) and still no flash as it would seem obtrusive, and ISO set at 800 or 1000 or even more.

The event was mainly run and attended by women, many of them with children. After a while I found to my surprise that I was quite naturally being much more openly appreciative and complimentary about the looks and style of strangers than I normally would be; something which in my normal circles I avoid assiduously as many of my feminist friends regard it as almost a #metoo event if a man offers them unsolicited compliments. Lots of people (not just the women) had dressed to be appreciated. It included an Easter Bonnet parade anyway.

That was a bit of a rambling stream of consciousness ...
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Old 23rd April 2019
Internaut Internaut is offline
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Re: Ad hoc event tog experience

Recently had a similar experience at a wedding.... They wanted me to bring my camera along so they'd have stuff to share on social media. I'm glad they also bought a paid tog along with his bag of Nikon gear (and flashes). That's what subsequently got me experimenting with flash again.
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Old 23rd April 2019
RobEW RobEW is offline
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Re: Ad hoc event tog experience

Got to the checkout in the supermarket today and found myself being served by a younger black woman who was dressed, made-up and accessorised in a similar style to some of those I'd been mingling with and photographing the other day. I nearly said "great look" or "stylish" or something of the sort, and then suddenly remembered where I was, and of course didn't. She closed her till lane after me so as the transaction ended I asked if she had a break, but she said "No - different work. There aren't many queuing and I'm not allowed to sit here just looking pretty". Again I resisted complimenting and just grinned.

Comments that are appropriate in one context are inappropriate in another, and comments that are inappropriate on one context can be appropriate in another. I normally never compliment women I don't know well, as some women complain (with good reason) they get too many comments about superficials (appearance etc) and too little appreciation for their other qualities.

Photographing people is so complex isn't it! Privacy concerns too, as well as the question of showing people as they would like to be depicted or as you saw them. No wonder I tend to stick to architecture, landscape, nature etc. you can take photos of ladybirds mating and there are no concerns, but when two people are interacting in public even slightly intimately it feels a bit voyeuristic to observe closely and capture images.
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