Friday, January 20, 2012

Shoot From The Hip in Paris

You often ask how I get my shots in Paris.
Camouflage(tout en noire) and shooting from the hip.
 That's how I caught this oh so French couple - an elegant Older Fr Girl and her companion wearing a Yankee's hat. (Last week an authority said French men do NOT wear baseball caps. Ha!)
 I shoot to sketch later.
The Sartorialist I will never be.
 At dinner last week a friend remarked in frustration,
'We had a meeting today with the French - their hair was unwashed, no makeup, yes they were skinny but they looked so %#@!chic!'
 The Canon PowerShot S95 is my trusty companion to shoot on the sly in Paris always set on Auto. You'll need a Richard Franiac custom grip for the S95 so you can shoot one-handed.
 I love shooting the French from the back.
 Backs can be so revealing of character.
 What's not to love about this French kid's swagger?
 The side view works too.
 I prefer not to be invasive on the street.
 I'd rather not ask permission but I try to be discrete in what I show you.
 Sometimes I get caught.
 There's no age limit to getting caught either.
I always get caught by the sharp-eyed guards at La Grande Epicerie but that will never be a deterrent ever.


  1. Wow, you are brave (and clever with your camera!). I would be fearful of getting people enraged and even if I tried I would probably capture only blurry portions of the sidewalk or of some other insignificant detail (especially when shooting from the hip ;))! Fortunately, you are great at catching these fresh glimpses of everyday life for us.

    Thank you for revealing your secret strategies...If I ever find myself in Paris (or NY), I'll keep any eye out for you! ;)
    Meanwhile, keep up the excellent work!

  2. Haha, I always try to sneak a picture at Grande Epicerie, but it never works!

  3. Geri, NJ11:28 AM

    Your sketches are great! I've wondered now and then about angry responses you might receive. I for one would be thrilled to find myself in a terrific blog post ~ now that's a question...I wonder what the odds would be of that coincidence happening to anyone.

  4. I hope you don't spot me
    I keep a low profile Astera :)

    No one has ever gotten angry with me...yet. That's not my objective.
    I would erase if someone really minded.

  5. I love these shots! Such a nice slice of life. Especially the little kid in red. Keep it up!

  6. I love this post..the humor..the candid shots..You are so good at this!

    And I LOVE that you are never mean in showing people..One thing I find sad is when bloggers take photos..of people and criticize's ok to laugh and have little jokes..but some of the comments I have read on blogs..well have made me turn it off:)Just too nasty.I hope they never see themselves in less than attractive situations:)
    Love your post.

  7. Great post. I think you always use your shots with dignity and honour. Highlighting OFGs etc, always discreet. I've done a few shoot from the hip photos at times too, it's rather fun.

  8. Patricia3:33 PM

    LOVE this post….!
    Depictions of the ever chic French, pitch perfect humor that as a would-be photographer-of-this-subject I get completely,
    and your great capturing of the diversity in chicness.
    Greetings also to beloved Bear!

  9. I love these "candids" too! A great series of photos and sketches.
    Have a great weekend, Carol!

  10. I agree with the back revealing more about a person than they realize - good actors know that too.

  11. I have a friend who thought you got a shot of her son who was living in Paris at the time. It really looked like him from the back. Alas, it was not, but it was fun to think it was.

  12. One of my teachers in art school said if you can do a portrait of the the back of someone's head, then you're really cookin."
    I feel I am a Voyeur when drawing in public, and do not like people to know I am drawing them. But those who find out are usually flattered.
    Sounds like the French are particularly

  13. I don;t understand how you ever manage to get a decent shot with your shoot form the hip - blindly- technique! Do you remember cameras in the old days with the view finder on the top? the photographer would look down onto the top to see what his lense was capturing. This would be perfect for you....just a casual glance at your hip, and then look away while you click the shutter! Of course, it wouldn't be digital and the aperture and time would not be automatic. Quelle domage.

  14. My camera is ALWAYS set to MUTE Jeanette, so no click of the shutter.

    And I make sure to focus 1st-hold down the button half way
    et voila
    Sure I miss some and I don't always shoot this way..
    it all depends on the situation

  15. You are a wonder, Carol--your pix are always fun. Love the sp sketch!

  16. Happy shooting Carol... Love your candid pics always. xv

  17. You have this down to a science. How do you keep from blurring them all? Love the older couple in the second photo. She is strutting that walk in her low neckline. :)Love it!!

  18. best thing about Europe is no one gives a shit if you take their photo.

  19. Anonymous1:17 PM

    Has anyone ever come back to you and said "that's me!"?


  20. You're a sharp (hip) shooter. But it's your sketches I love the most.

  21. Well, of course anyone who DOESN'T love Paris is very suspect. Right?

    Love your photos and your audacity. I miss Paris and just connected with someone who has a sister who might trade her apartment by Montmarte for our seaside cottage in Maine. Hurrah!

    All joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  22. Wonderful pics - thanks for showing us your camera - I'm always in search of something decent why my camera dies!

    The Parisians are oh so chic... we should all take a leaf out of their book! Fabulous post!!!

  23. I love the little kids - such swagger!

  24. You are the very best at this - capturing people in the moment - and what fantastic shots you get. Thanks for the tips, though I'm sure I could never do this as well as you.

  25. gosh thanks!
    I don't know how to 'STOP Action'.
    I've tried but it never works with my little non-SLR camera.

    The best TIP/trick I learned from Fr Girl is to stay in one place (not easy for me) and just shoot.

    The trick is to find the one place where interesting ppl walk by like a line for a hot museum exhibit etc.

  26. Stealth shots are fun to capture but a bit embarrassing if caught, esp if the subject is not pleased.

  27. Your photos are absolutely amazing. I feel like I am a tourist without even being there. You really have an amazing eye for the wonderful

  28. Hilarious technique!!! I think I'll try it but the problem is I have a bulky SLR and most of the time, people get wary of it even if I do ask permission to shoot in a cafe or shop!! Love the kids' photos!

  29. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Well the first "typical French couple" looks nothing like French to me ^^ ( or at least not "typically French). When I saw their attire it screams "tourists" to me ( I show it to some of my friends and they were more or less all thinking the same). But I could be wrong!
    The fact of taking pictures of people and then putting them on the Internet and analysing them make me feel awkward for some reason. I guess most of the people would not care, but personally I would feel slightly violated.
    Anyway, it's interesing to see Paris through the eyes of a foreigner. Sometimes it feels we are not living in the same city, it's quite cute and amusing. Keep going!
    A French girl

    1. PS
      If the French will insist on eating cupcakes, hamburgers and choc chip cookies obsessively, is it any surprise they are starting to look like tourists?
      Let's hope they don't blow up like balloons(like Americains) and lift off...

  30. Chere anonymous,
    They were yacking away in French tres rapidment.
    I see quite well-dressed French tourists on AirFrance coming from NYC loaded with American silly T-shirts and Yankee hats.
    Qui sait pourquoi?
    We do the same thing for sure.
    Eiffel this and Eiffel that.
    My sister, who knows better, brought me an Eiffel tower to stamp into my toast!
    I threw it away instantly.
    c'est la vie
    I am an extra-terestial in Paris
    I try to catch the mondaine..c'est tout.

  31. yay! I wanted to ask you this exact question~


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