On 24 March 2014, a friend and I conducted some preliminary tests on the paparazzi idea. Though it is a much scaled down version than the actual idea, it gave some interesting results.
The following is a selection of some of the results:
#1 – Unknown couple
Expectedly they grew wary of the presence of the cameras and flash and began speeding up their walk to get away from us
#2 – Unknown lady
The lady seemed curious about what we were doing but ultimately did little than to look up from her phone to look at us
#3 – Unknown male student
Again similar to #2, but this male student was evidently more apprehensive about what we were doing
#4 – Two unknown male students
This two male students remained largely indifferent to the cameras and our picture making antics.
#5 – Unknown male student
This male student was evidently curious and apprehensive about having this photo taken but ultimately did little to enquire or approach the photographers.
#6 – Unknown female student
We decided to test a different approach, instead of trying to catch people in transit, we wanted to catch people while they were doing something. Here we photographed a female student working away in an open study area. She became aware of our presence and picture taking actions after a few shots. Interesting, she decided to shy away from the camera instead of confronting the photographers.
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Interestingly though my friend and I photographed dozen of people in an obvious manner, only 3 of our subjects sought clarification about what we were doing. This deviates from my initial expectation that people would be more shy or aggressive towards having their image taken.
An addition passerby (an unknown adult male) who saw what was happening did approach us to enquire what we were going to use the images for. Though he dispensed his recommendation that we should actively inform the subjects of our project, he too was surprised at the low number of people who actively objected or enquired about what we were doing.
There are various possible reasons why this dominant behaviour could have occurred. The safety of the school environment could possibly account for this. The subjects may have assumed we were part of the campus student reportage team.
It may also be possible that the younger generation is much more comfortable in the presence of the camera or having their images taken by others. Hence, they objected less actively to our actions.
On the end of the photographers, it was evident that both my friend and I were initially apprehensive about the possible reactions we might receive for attempting to directly photograph our subjects. In the end, we were both surprised that so few actively approached us after their photo was taken.
Overall, it was an interesting experiment. The results herein will serve as a useful point of reference for the actual shoot.