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Reflective Commentary

Having done the research, I had concluded that my methodology would follow that of a bird watcher and a clandestine photographer such as a private investigator. My parameters were, to shoot from the back of my truck and to use a long lens so that the subject was unaware of my presence.

I considered the location very hard, my initial inclination was to either shoot from the multi-story car park in town or to park up at the side of the road as I had done for DPP, I have to admit I chickened out of this as it seemed a little too easy for me to be challenged.

I eventually decided that I would try Farnham Great Park as the subject area, there are lots of people walking and enjoying the view. But as Sun Tzu says the best plans only last until the first encounter and the great general is the one able to completely change or adapt them when the encounter begins.

Sitting in the flat bed of my truck with a tripod and a long lens did not work, the subjects were too far away even with a 400mm lens and the range of subjects was limited.

I left the truck and set up in the long tunnel of trees, I decided to use the advice from the clandestine photography website and try to look like a bird watching or landscape photographer.

I wanted to appear to be taking arty pictures of the tunnel of trees, looking through the view finder using a 400mm lens so that the actual subject was a long way from me.

With this method I was able to capture the subjects either before they were aware of me or after they had passed by and forgotten me.

I changed location a couple of times to give the impression of making a body of work in the park, the subterfuge seemed mostly for my benefit, as the people in the park were unconcerned about a man with a camera particularly in that setting. It probably helped that the location is relatively close to Farnham UCA and there are always lots of photography students messing around in the park. I even captured a group making a video, though they were cut from my final edit.

This exercise and the whole experience made me feel somehow unclean, I did not enjoy the process of taking images in secret, I am far more enthused by working with a subject and crafting an image than hiding and making covert imagery. I appreciate the learning from this exercise and am glad to have done it however, it reinforces my desire to have been there with a couple of assistants and a lighting rig, makeup artist and a willing model. Each to their own it was very successful as a learning exercise my favourite image was the Dad and his son walking away from me as the pose keeps their dignity and some of their personal identity to themselves.