For this particular project I chose a busy area of Cambridge. I needed to find a comfortable situation in which to photograph strangers. I happened to be in the town for a long weekend and it seemed like a good place to ease myself into photographing "people unaware." The area is usually packed full of tourists with cameras and I was able to use mine easily without being observed
I noticed these men adjusting the clock outside one of the colleges and took the opportunity to capture some images. I was completely at ease taking these shots as they had their backs to me. I took a number of images and I don't think they turned to look around once.
I stepped closer for this shot and was still completely unobserved.
Photographing workmen in the street is an easy way to get used to photographing strangers. I've done this before in London and they usually just glance across and then carry on with what they are doing. This time, because I was facing them, I was eventually spotted. Again, I was comfortable in this situation - mainly because the subjects were three floors up from were I stood!
I decided I needed to get closer and challenge myself a bit more. Along the riverbank are areas where a lot of students can be found taking time out from the more crowded places in the town. I sat down on the bank and waited. I wiled away the time by photographing punts as they floated past and it wasn't long before other people began to find their own spots on the grass. Because I was photographing boats they ignored me and didn't notice that I had swung my camera around to face them.
I took this shot but then decided to try and get a more interesting composition and moved further down the bank.
The man in the hooded top and the woman in the background are unaware that I have taken their picture. I did feel my level of anxiety begin to rise purely because I was in close proximity and they could easily have looked around and seen what I was doing. I was prepared to explain that I was working on a project and if asked to stop I would have done so. My conclusion is that taking risks can certainly increase the chances of getting a better image.
My last shot is of a woman eating her lunch on the other side of the bank. She glanced up once while I was photographing the punts but then continued with what she was doing. My lens was at 200mm and I couldn't get any closer. I am aware that I need to be able to take pictures much closer than this so that the subjects expressions can be read more easily. At the moment I am shooting at safe distances and I need to definitely challenge myself more.