Prefer to work alone?
This will perhaps seem selfish, but as I get older I realize that I'm really beginning to hate being with another photographer when doing street shooting or fine-art landscape work. I can't stand comments or "advice" while I'm trying to create or —worse— when I discover something to photograph and the other photographer says something like, "Why are you going photograph that?. The bubble gets burst and ruins my impulsion to shoot.
For example, today I was walking along with a photographer-friend of mine when I saw a giant, golden-colored autumn leaf with dark-brown veins, laying on the rain-washed black asphalt pavement. I had my Rolleiflex around my neck. I'm shooting b&w, and the contrast was very striking. In color, we'd say saturated. The leaf screamed at me to come shoot it. As I rushed toward it, opening my focussing hood, my friend said to me, "there's not enough light". I thought, "Shut up, what the hell do you know? That's why God made me put this tripod in my bag". Then I kicked away some chewing gum paper next to the leaf, to avoid including it in the shot. My friend: "Ooo. A 'set-up' shot!" That was it. I couldn't shoot. I knew that even if the resulting print were magnificent, this guy would forever be saying shit like, "I was there when he shot that. He set it up". That's all I need. A "Fred Picker reputation" (I'm refering to the incident where Picker once cut branches off a tree to get a clear shot of a landscape).
Then there is the suggestion thing. Once I was roaming the warehouse district, south of Market Street in San Francisco, with a view camera. I found a stereotypical peeling paint shot. A guy comes up and says, "Hi. I'm a photographer too. Can I watch you work?" I say, No problem. But I prefer to not talk, if you don't mind". I set up, compose and focus. Meter. The guys says, "Aren't you going to include the part on the left?". I look. He was right. Argggg. I couldn't shoot it. It'd no longer be "my" photo, mistake or not. The very fact that he was there had distracted me .. and now he was pointing out the error of that very distraction. Maddening.
Worse-than-worse? When you're out with a photog-bud, scouting for things to shoot ... you see something and compose on it .... then, so does he (or she). Arrrgggh.
Truth be told, I almost wish I could post this anonymously. I feel a bit ashamed to have this attitude. Some might say I'm over-sensitive. But, damn it, creativity is a fragile thing. If a shot is bad, I accept the criticism. However, if it's good, I want full credit! Am I alone in this sentiment?
PS- The exception to this attitude, for me, is commercial work when, for example, an assistant will point out a fault before you shoot, or give a suggestion or two.
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Hear! Hear! I feel that way too.
Good Afternoon, Christopher,
I don't really find myself in conflict with someone else present, but I do find the occasional distraction leads me into errors that I don't think I'd make otherwise. Maybe that's partly because I'd probably be using the view camera which tends to require some degree of concentration.
Why would you ever photograph with another photographer? Maybe if you're in a bad neighbourhood and need someone to watch your back...
Originally Posted by Svend Videbak
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I think you're right... it's hard to work with another photographer around. Although I've had some luck with my wife around although she spent a lot of time reading in the car.
I'd never shoot with another photog. And I'm married to one.
If you're shooting with someone else along, They should have enough respect for you to keep their trap shut and vice versa if they're shooting. It is a real test of friendship to be able to do this sometimes.
I'm surprised you didn't break the Rollei hitting him with it.
Heavily sedated for your protection.
I understand the wanting to be alone thing, but some of us actually enjoy group shoots. You have to be with the right people, though. If someone is constantly giving unsolicited comments, you need new friends.
On the Texas Church Project, we actually started the project just to have an excuse to go out and shoot with each other, then the project developed (beyond ANY expectations) and now we've had to get serious. Consequently, we've had to decide that we must go out now mostly alone so that we can cover more territory. All, or most, of us going to the same locations was not very efficient. Not only were we reaching fewer locations, but we spent most of time BSing anyway ... :rolleyes:
Going on a shoot with someone is like a lot of other things: "Choose Wisely!"
I have no problem photographing with others, but I rarely invite them to look through my viewfinder or ground glass. If they ask, I'll let them look through the ground glass after I'm done, but not before.
I usually like the conversations that happen.
But it sounds like from the answers here, that you guys shouldn't carry guns. Photo Road Rage, look out. Grin.