- Candid photography
Candid photography is photography that focuses on spontaneity rather than technique, on the immersion of a camera within events rather than focusing on setting up a staged situation or on preparing a lengthy camera setup.
Candid photography is best described as un-posed and unplanned, immediate and unobtrusive. This is in contrast to classic photography, which includes aspects such as carefully staged portrait photography, landscape photography or object photography. Candid photography catches moments of life from immersion in it.
Candid photography is opposite to the stalking involved in animal photography, sports photography or photographic journalistic intrusion, which all have a focus on getting distant objects photographed, e.g. by using
telephoto lenses. Candid photography's setup includes a photographer who is there with the "subjects" to be photographed, close, and not hidden. People photographed on candid shots either ignore or accept the close presence of the photographer's camera without posing.
The events documented are often private, they involve people in close relation to something they do, or they involve people's relation to each other. Candids are the kinds of pictures taken at children's birthday parties and on Christmas morning, opening the presents; the pictures a wedding photographer takes at the reception, of people dancing, eating, and socializing with other guests.
As an art form
Some professional photographers develop candid photography into an art form.
Henri Cartier-Bressonmight be considered the master of the art of candid photography, capturing the "decisive moment" in everyday life over a span of several decades. Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, was one of the great photographers to document life in the streets of New Yorkto often capture life — and death — at their rawest edges. Almost all successful photographers in the field of candid photography master the art of making people relax and feel at ease around the camera, they master the art of blending in at parties, of finding acceptance despite an obvious intrusive element - the camera. This is certainly true for most celebrity photographers, such as René Burri, Raeburn Flerlage or Murray Garret.
It could be argued that candid photography is the purest form of
photojournalism. There is a fine line between photojournalism and candid photography, a line that was blurred by photographers such as Bresson and Weegee. Photojournalism often sets out to tell a story in images, whereas candid photography simply captures people living an event.
Equipment for candid photography is lightweight, small and unobtrusive rather than big and intimidating. Lomo rule photography describes using an old Russian point-and shoot-camera for candid photography. The larger the equipment, the more difficult to master the art of making the equipment appear to be unobtrusive to still achieve candid photography. Digital cameras, therefore, have been less popular for candid photography than 35mm point and shoot cameras. In recent times however,
prosumerlevel digital single-lens reflex camerasrespond as fast as professional 35mm film cameras.
Candid photography, unless performed digitally, requires sensitive film, as flash lights can cause cameras to stop from being an immersed part of a meeting or party, causing people to stage their photo appearance rather than behaving naturally. For this reason, candid photography often takes place outdoors, where the sun provides the light. Due to higher film speeds being required for inside photography or dark photography without flashlight, candid photography can feature grainy, high contrast images.
point and shoot cameras with affordable lenses are used widely for candid photography, photographs may feature vignetting and oversaturation of colours. Due to short reaction times, lighting or focus may be off. Due to flashlight being obstructive to candid photography, pictures may show glary overexposure, underexposure, color shifts or blurring. All these are usually accepted as features of candid photography.
* [http://www.apogeephoto.com/apr2001/bernstein4_2001.shtml "Apogee" magazine article on candid photography]
* [http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/lester/writings/chapter5.html "Photojournalism Ethics": Chapter 5, "The Right to Privacy"]
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