Going Candid and Not Getting a Blackeye

Ronquillo Street

In our age where the cellphone has become the most widely used camera and where a number of breaking photos and videos come from cellphones it comes as no surprise that there has been a rise in the incidence of violence – from fisticuffs to death – among wielders of the cellphones equipped with cameras. This is not surprising the camera ever since it became more compact has became a useful tool to capture and freeze moments in time.


The Ermanox was marketed under the slogan, “ What you see , you can photograph” was a small camera that had a fast lens (f/2) that could be shot without special lighting. The camera allowed its user to take indoor shots and capture intimate moments. Under the hands Erich Salomon the Ermanox. Of course Salomon often disguised himself and crashed diplomatic events. Several initimate moments in politics at that time were captured.


In 1933, Eisenstaedt was covering the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva and he saw Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels seated on a chair in the garden he took a shot from afar … but was not satisfied with it. He eventually went up to Goebbels who was surrounded by his aides and took a snapshot of him. At the exact moment of the shot, Goebbels looked up and saw Eisenstaedt and gave him a menacing look. This photo became famous for its representation and foreshadowing of the evil and menace of Nazism embodied in its Propaganda Minister. A few days later Goebbels’ aide went to Eisenstaedt’s apartment and told the nervous photographer that Herr Goebbels wanted free copies of the photo.

And now with the cellphone everyone can be a Salomon, Eisenstaedt. Eugene Smith and even Bresson if one had the skill and style to do it. As in all things this may come with consequences some of which would be unfavorable.

Like being frowned upon by your subject

Like being chased by your subect or subects who believe you have captured their spirit.

Like losing one’s job.

Like being beaten up by those annoyed.

Like being killed because you are in the line of fire or in the danger zone.

So many things could happen if one is not careful and respectful.

Of course it depends on the situation but in general and perhaps it would be best to be unobtrusive or blend in when taking candid photos, Henri Cartier-Bresson use to cover his camera black to hide it from his subjects. Also, like others before and after him Bresson also took time to talk and get to know his subjects to the point the were comfortable with him Thus coming up with very candid and intimate pictures of painter Henri Matisse. Salmon blended in the surroundings with his Ermanox. Of course Eisenstaedt did take that one shot of Goebbels and survived but one can imagine what would have happened if he became obnoxious like a buzzing mosquito around Goebbels.

A Wed Afternoon

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