Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/12/20

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Subject: Re: [Leica] More blind shooting discussion
From: Steve Hickel <>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 11:37:25 -0500

One could construe that Eisenstaedt used his rollei while looking through
the finder here. It does not say he guessed his subject. I get the image he
stood still with his head done looking into the finder. That is what a Twin
Lens reflex was good at. Not to throw a wrench into just one of many fine
unobstrusive techniques for "carpe diem."

At 09:33 AM 12/20/97 -0600, you wrote:
>Eisenstaedt DID on occasion "shoot blinded" (your term).  I quote from
>his book, "Eisenstaedt's Guide to Photography", copyright 1978, Viking
>"It is always a challenge to take pictures of people unobtrusively.  For
>the photographs on this page I waited in front of a cafe-bar in Paris
>with the camera hung around my neck on a short strap.  When I saw an
>expression I wanted, I just pressed the shutter release without raising
>the camera to my eye as I did not want to draw attention to myself.  I
>use a wide-angle lens for this technique because it gives better depth
>of field and, since I can not compose in the viewfinder, its wide angle
>of coverage allows me to crop unnecessary details in the final print"
>"The flower vendor, opposite, was one of many people I photographed to
>illustrate an essay on the Parisians.  While walking along a street
>looking for candid photographs, I often carry the camera in my hand
>rather than around my neck where it may attract more attention"- A.E.
>Eisenstaedt also used a similar technique with his Rolleiflex to
>photograph departing soldiers at Pennsylvania Station (NYC) during WWII.
>I quote from the book, "Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt" copyright 1985,
>"To photograph American soldiers saying farewell to their wives and
>sweethearts, I used a Rolleiflex 21/4/ X 21/4, not a Leica, because you
>can hold a Rolleiflex without raising it to your eye; so they didn't see
>me taking the pictures.  I just kept motionless like a statue.  They
>never saw me clicking away.  For the kind of photography I do, one has
>to be very unobtrusive and to blend in with the crowd" -A.E.
>This term, "blind shooting", pertains to those who do not (can not)
>connect what they see with their mind, emotions, and physical control.
>Waiting for an action or expression is not blind shooting.  This comment
>of "having the balls to raise the camera" is about as stupid as I have
>heard in aong time.   Succesful pictures are not about machismo, it's
>knowing when to fire away.  The technique we use to "fire away" is as
>diverse as we are.  What matters if your are a photojournalist is that
>your photo editor is left with photos that can used.  What matters if
>your are a gallery photog is that your work sells.  What matters if you
>compete is that your photos win compeitions.  So on and so on.
>Re-read Eisenstaedt's comments.  How he shot was not "blind".  He saw,
>and captured.
>David Miller
>(resident Eisiephile)