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That feeling when looking through a view finder at a person

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Maroon, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Maroon

    Maroon Well-Known Member

    When ever I look through the viewfinder at a person, I always have this strange feeling of a very personal connection with them as if I am seeing the person they are within themselves not just their physical being if that makes any sense.

    This doesn't happen if I am taking photos while looking at the camera's display, only the viewfinder.

    Can anyone relate to this at all?

    ..or am I just some weirdo..
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  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Not me.
  3. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    The best portrait photographers, and probably people photographers in general, are reckoned to have an connection or empathy with the subject. Not sure I've ever seen it discussed in terms of the viewing mechanism though. One could argue that feeling a personal connection with the subject through a viewfinder but not through a live view screen may be down to the similarities between the live view screen and a television where one is largely a non-participatory spectator and therefore feel less of a connection with what's on the screen. On top of that of course with live view you aren't isolated from the surroundings so much whereas with a finder most of the outside world is excluded from your view and isn't a potential distraction.

    That said I'd not think too much about it but just make use of it in your picture taking.
    Maroon likes this.
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I can only say I get a shiver when I know I've taken the one I really wanted to. Yes, there is something about looking through the viewfinder. I think it's because the person being viewed has lost the feeling of looking at 'you' and is suddenly looking at themselves? Difficult to put into words. I feel I'm looking at 'them' when I view through the viewfinder. That instant when they become themselves. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, that's the shot.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Not in that way but there is something engaging in looking through an eyelevel viewfinder. One step in developing technique is learning to not be mesmorised by the main subject but to look all around the frame. Certainly using a waist-level finder is a more detached process than using an eye-level one. Electronic viewfinders are less "real" and I tend to get distracted by the TV look. I don't use the rear screen.
  6. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Nope. Haven't noticed that.
  7. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    My oldest and most used dSLR (Sony a900) doesn't have a rear live screen but does have a big bright 100% optical viewfinder which is an absolute delight to use. I feel much more "connection" when using that than when I use the live screen on my other cameras.
  8. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Me neither, but in my club competition days I would know a 20 pointer when I saw it through the rangefinder and get a buzz. Could be a person or other scene.
    Catriona likes this.
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I often see an image in the finder and think it's just right. Then I start sorting through the pictures and find it's a different shot that captured what I was after. That's what keeps me interested.
  10. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    You are quite right Andrew some people do see an inner picture of people that they photograph especially with strangers! I often take pictures of people I don't know quite often but there is a gut feeling that I have which tells me that's the person I want to take a picture of, and there maybe other people standing right next to the person in question and when the picture has been taken there's a sought of sigh of relief that the picture has been captured, this does not happen all of the time mind you but it does happen......
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Yes, that happened with this photo. It was the woman in front I wanted to capture, but at the last second, she looked down. I always feel the one behind is saying take me instead!

    Attached Files:

  12. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Wow, Maroon, that is great question/post, IMO at least, and, whilst reading through the replies this has really
    got me thinking which is a rare phenomenon, indeed :eek:. My thoughts/answer is kind of a combination
    of (Roving) Mike and Andrew Flannigan. Where as, Mike, gets a buzz, on occasion, when looking
    through the rangefinder and Andrew, whilst looking through the viewfinder at a subject, on occasion,
    get a different feeling when looking at the subject after the fact, in the LCD screen, on the computer
    or at the print (if that is/was the case). For myself, when looking through the viewfinder at a subject.I
    think I realise that all subject have the prospect of making a connection or causing one to get a buzz,
    but, I rarely, if ever, have gotten that. For me, however, after the fact, when
    reviewed on the LCD screen, on occasion, but, more often than not, on the computer screen or, back in the day, when
    I saw the print is when I would get the buzz or, as Catriona states, "a shiver" or a "wooo hooo feeling in my gut" :).
    And, for me, the weird part is when shooting something or controversial and you kind of expect to shoot something
    "interesting" ... there's nothing but, when just shooting something on the street or something/where nondescript
    and you get that "wooo hooo" feeling, it's cool but, somehow, weird .... To me ;). A lot of times, when shooting
    an event, I get lost up in shooting and don't realise anything until I look at the images and, then, it's ...WOW, I shot that. :eek:

    Make of that, what you will, but, I still love getting those "woo hoo" moments and it makes want to continue to shoot :)


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  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I like the picture, but would you like to re-phrase your comment a little?

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  14. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    At my age, the only captures I'm doing is with my camera!! Bad boy! ;)
  15. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    Several times just the opposite; someone perhaps photogenic and one glimpse through the viewfinder and one knows that every button push will be as waste. No spirit. The opposite can equally
    be rewarding with insights.
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  16. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    For me it is really when something just clicks and makes the picture. Long time ago, had been lined up on this tree and the crowned cranes for a whole roll of 36 and was running out of redness in the rising sun and on the last frame when they turned towards eachother. Knew it was a serial winner: https://flic.kr/p/4DJDpn The other 35 with heads pointed all over never did a thing.

    I probably have about 50 of those moments that existed for a second as I was peering through the viewfinder.
  17. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    That's a beauty, Mike :). I had a shot of a very posh looking Chinese lady wearing red shiny shoes with the outstretched
    hands of a beggar visible at the side. I gotta get that photo scanned and post it. Like you, it was one of those shots that
    I just knew, after seeing the print, that got my stomach all fluttery ;).


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  18. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Ta, I had been out in the dark to get to that spot I had scouted the night before and the birds were a huge bonus. I was quite illegally out of my 4x4 of course and kept stumbling over something in the dark. After that shot I looked down and saw what hadn't made it through the night. Just found this as an old faded print, shot on the free frame over the 36. https://www.flickr.com/gp/rovingmike/GU847u
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  19. Maroon

    Maroon Well-Known Member

    Great explanation, hit the nail on the head!
  20. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I know the feeling you are talking about. It's not *always* there for me, but there are times. And it's slightly different to the 'nailed it' feeling which I also, all too rarely, recognise as well. I think the reason the viewfinder feels different is because it has the additioanl effect of removing all other distractions. If you're looking through the viewfinder you are only seeing what will be in the frame. You lose everything else that surrounds it, you forget you're looking through an apparatus because you can't see the apparatus, you effectively eliminate periperal guff so that all that's left to concentrate on is the subject of your photograph. It's a way of losing yourself and your consciousness of yourself as well as a way of making a connection.
    Catriona likes this.

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