Need a helping hand?

The image for today was taken two minutes after the one posted two days ago – click here to see that previous image.

Street photography is not easy and I’m not entirely comfortable taking candid shots of people. Everyone has a right to privacy and I have no desire to make myself appear intrusive. The coward’s way out is to use windows as reflectors so that the people who feature are completely unaware they are in the frame.


I spotted these hands of male mannequins in a shop window and lined them up for a shot when this couple’s reflection drifted into view. Instinctively I took the shot. The problem is that the couple are not as sharp as they should be. The camera has focused on the window display rather than on what was reflected. There was no chance I was going to shout: ‘Hold it right there please while I take a second shot, if you please’.

So here’s the image. But how do you title an image like this without resorting to stereotypical clichés? Your thoughts on that would be most helpful.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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16 Responses to Need a helping hand?

  1. Sometimes a cliche hits the spot Andy, as in this case.


  2. Perhaps the title could be “May I carry your bags?” Ah, street photography! I am generally not a great fan of street photography and I know the different arguments that people have about it. I do think it can intrusive and that the subjects of photographs have no control over what happens next. They may not wish to be defined in a moment that has been captured. Homeless people are often subject to the lens of street photographers and somehow I think the photographer is also taking their dignity. Occasionally people will feature in my photographs but I will try to make sure they are anonymised by shooting from behind the person or taking their shot in profile so that it will be difficult for anyone to recognise them. I am not shy of taking photographs of people just as I have no problem lying down in the street to get the right shot. If the person is not anonymised I will have spoken to them and asked about taking their photograph – perhaps someone protesting or campaigning. I once saw some images of female street workers and drug users. The photographer felt these reflected aspects of our society and he had spoken to the subjects and even offered them a small amount of money to help them. I feel that those people may move on in life and yet part of their life will be anchored in images of times when they were down on their luck and struggling. Those images were published and could come back to haunt them or be seen by family when they would prefer to keep those darker times private. I realise I am talking about people who may be regarded as being on the fringes of society but I think similar arguments apply to everyday street photography. I think also with the advent of face recognition software there are even stronger arguments for people to approach street photography with caution and to consider privacy in light of technological developments that may intrude in ways that we have yet to know about! I raise these points not to be critical but to add to the debate about street photography. An alternative title for your image might be “Big brother is watching you!” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photographs, best wishes, N 🙂


  3. oneowner says:

    I’m also not a great fan of street photos, either, unless there is implied permission of posed for. I took a photo of a girl (most folks thought it was a pretty good photo), posted it and it came back to bite me. There are photographers that are good at it and some photos are exceptional but I would not like my photo taken when I was unaware for personal reasons. I’m not trying to scare anyone away from street photos but to just be aware of the subjects wishes about it and how they might be perceived.


  4. I do like street photography and have gotten more comfortable with it myself over time. If the subject is a street performer and I take their picture I always leave a little something for them. If they are homeless or asking for money on the street I always raise my camera and silently ask permission. If I get the nod I take the picture. I think you did a good job with this shot and I do like the title.


  5. Jimi Jones says:

    Very creative shot, Andy. Nice job on this.
    I like street photography but tend to shoot from a distance. If it’s a festive type atmosphere with lots going on it seems an easier takes because no one is certain as to what you may be shooting. Like you, I don’t want to make anyone feel that I am intruding.


  6. ShimonZ says:

    I like street photography, and liked this one too.


  7. ehpem says:

    Very nice arrangement and use of reflections. I wonder if this shot might work better in black and white with those wonderful white hands.


  8. I think it’s a great image. It took a second for me to realize that it is a reflection. That’s how good your shop window images are, Andy. They are superb. The best I’ve ever seen. Carry on, Mate! 🙂


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