My first TLR camera was the Flexaret V, a Czech camera, which, by the time I got hold of it, had the added bonus of some fantastically random ghosting to the images it made. I loved that camera for all the usual reasons photographers love their TLR’s. The large negatives made for beautiful prints. Holding it at waist level made it possible to be very close to people without them realising a picture was being made.
It was this last quality which I enjoyed a lot, especially as I was doing a lot of street photography around the time I bought my Flexaret. You can’t really replicate the circumstances which exist when taking someone’s picture with a standard DSLR. With a DSLR, the camera comes up high to the face. What you intend to do as a photographer is clear. How then, to get that unposed, relaxed look with a DSLR? For myself, it involves being the opposite of the surreptitious user of a TLR. I get in the middle of the action. I do what the people in the pictures are doing. I don’t enjoy it, and it isn’t natural for me, but I think if you want something from someone, if you want to photograph them at a potentially vulnerable moment such as the in the middle of a dance move which may not be Astaireesque, you need to be displaying the same behaviour, too.
Picture above from the recent Vogue in the Village night at Manakau Hall, Manakau.