Who is that behind the bushes?


Reading this article this morning, originally printed in Deadstate.org, made me think of how wonderful it would be for those of us who have a love for all things photographic, to have the freedom and courage to simply walk up to any subject head on and do what we love to do most – Interact, fully engaged, with the group of people or person that drew our creative attention in their direction in the first place.  Face to face.  Not from around a corner or hidden behind a tree.  Not from a safe spot, hidden in the middle of some shrubbery.  Not from the subject’s backside (good grief, how boring!!)  And, most definitely not while pretending to take a picture of something over the subjects shoulder.  I mean, c’mon people! – I think everyone is on to that tactic.

I’ve gone through several steps of uncomfortable growth to get to the point I am now in my (very) amateur photography hobby.  I’m still not completely where I want to be in learning to just *go for the shot.* I tend to end up feeling squeamishly uncomfortable and as tho I’ve somehow invaded someone’s invisible bubble of privacy.  But I’m getting there.  One day I hope to feel comfortable enough to walk up to anyone, anywhere and take the shot.  I just might end up with some amazing captures like these!

In 1974 a photographer met two mimes, only years later realizes who one of them was


Back in 1974, photographer Daniel Sorine came across two mimes in New York City’s Central Park. Something about them caught his eye, and he immediately began to snap pictures.

Years later, Sorine realized that one of the mimes was a then-unknown Robin Williams and the other was author Todd Oppenheimer.


“What attracted me to Robin Williams and his fellow mime, Todd Oppenheimer, was an unusual amount of intensity, personality and physical fluidity. When I approached them with my Pentax Spotmatic they allowed me to invite them into my camera instead of me having to chase after them.”

take a look:





It’s hard to know if these amazing shots of a young Robin Williams were captured because the photographer was confidant enough to simply walk up to his subject and shoot the picture or if it was simply a matter of Robin’s big personality, generosity and love of attention.  But, I do know, that you have to step out from behind the bushes.



16 thoughts on “Who is that behind the bushes?

  1. I like this post a lot, Maz!

    I am in the process of becoming a professional fine art photographer… I do simply ask people [for street art] if they mind me making images with them. Sometimes I do it in a way that their faces are not shown [don’t have to worry about model releases/waivers, etc].

    I love candid art making. Thanks for sharing this today. =-D


  2. Oh m. Isn’t that something. I’ll bet those pictures are worth a bundle right now. And you’re right about having to come out of the bushes. That’s true for most kinds of artistic things people do, but so much more so with photography because it does seem like an invasion of people’s space. Good post.


  3. I’m an intuitive, professional photographer and I this is exactly how I operate…

    I’ve been in the weirdest situations, places, even “trespassed” following my eye on a shoot. I’ve always been ready to “explain” my actions and the art that drives me; even so far as carrying my professional business card and press pass.

    Funny, NEVER have I been asked, confronted, or stopped from doing what I do. Exactly the opposite actually, doors have been opened and the way paved. (I take that as confirmation I’m following my calling)

    If you’re afraid to get out there or that you’ll be stopped for doing whatever you love, whether it’s taking pictures or singing in the rain-I say GO FOR IT! Follow your heart and don’t apologize! Stay in the bushes if you want to, but the sidewalk is more fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I love this advice and encouragement. I have often wondered i how often someone is truly stopped or turned down from taking a picture. I don’t have a press pass but I’d be happy to explanation any invasion of privacy on my part if asked.

      Great advice! Thank you.


  4. that traveling nurse

    I love street photography! I don’t do blatant street portraits because like you and most of us, we are quite shy in approaching people to ask for their photographs. I have yet to develop a courage for that. 🙂 Lovely post about Robin Williams.


  5. Walking in the Old City in Jerusalem one day, I heard a “scene” behind me. It seemed a young man had taken a photograph, and a cleric in full religious garb was berating the young man for taking a picture of him. The boy insisted he was taking a picture of the street and in those pre-digital days no one except the boy would know for sure. The incident has made me sensitive to privacy issues in photographing. Where do one person’s rights begin and another’s end? Certainly an age old question extending past photography. I’m sure if the gentleman in question had been approached for permission he would have denied it.


  6. This piece is a good metaphor, Peggy. Coming out from behind the bushes can be difficult in a lot of new and scary situations. I like it. I will keep it in my mind as a mantra, “come out of the bushes, Genny. What are you so afraid of?” Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If folks were aware of how many times they were on camera in any given day, they wouldn’t believe it. No matter where you go today, you are being ‘shot’ by security cameras, so why would anyone pitch a fit about an artist doing so? Maybe it is better not knowing perhaps?
    I think most people, once asked, are flattered that you’ve chosen them as an interesting subject. I remember asking an old woman in Italy if I could take her picture – she was iconic. She said she was too old and I should find someone younger, but I told her she was beautiful (she was!), I think it made her day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Margaret, Good advice whether taking photos or just seeing someone who might be an interesting person. Living in Williamsburg is great that way. We have all those street interpreters, sometimes doing a scripted act, other times just walking down the street or sitting on a bench. At first I feared that if I talked to them I’d be interfering with their “act.” Later I realized that if they weren’t actively acting a role, I could ask them anything. And I often do, asking who they are, and what they are doing in our new Capitol City. Thank you for those photos of young Robin Williams. sd


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