Downtown London with a Rolleiflex

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by apostolos_tournas, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. I visit London for monthly-long stays a lot; so far, I routinely shoot with small format. I never dared use my 2.8GX in the streets, even at tourist areas. What's the situation nowadays? Will I feel an odd-man-out? Will I draw remarks? Will I remain unnoticed enough so as to concentrate on shooting? Any experience?
  2. I never dared use my 2.8GX in the streets, even at tourist areas.​
    Why? Are you thinking it will get stolen? I wouldn't worry about that. I can't think of any modern street thief who would be interested in such "antiquated" gear. You will be the odd man out, but if you want to take shots with it, what other option is there? You should not worry so much.
  3. Embrace your odd-man-out-ness!
    I believe the best of men are the odd men out. ;-)
  4. Apostolos, you are a lucky man to visit London regularly, so you must know that Londoners love odd-men and women-out. They will love you and you will feel welcomed even more then when walking the streets, like most visitors, with a small format, as I mostly do when I'm in town.
    Good luck! Hopefully we will se some examples of your shots here on Photonet!
  5. My own limited experience of taking pictures in London is that no-one takes the slightest bit of notice. Especially with a quirky classic like a Rollei, you will be regarded a slightly eccentric but harmless. Just go for it.
  6. I have shot in London with a Rolleiflex T and with a Mamiya C330, the public either don't notice or are somewhat amused by the antique camera.Once when there was a security scare I had my name and address noted by a policeman for taking pictures of the houses of parliament with a "Powerful Camera", but that was a one-off.
  7. I've enjoyed using my Rolleiflex and Yashica TLRs, and an old Agfa Isolette folder, for the same reasons folks have given here - the novelty is usually regarded as charming and non-threatening. I've even had people ask me to photograph them, with no expectation of ever seeing the photos. But I rarely encounter any objections anyway, so I don't choose cameras solely for that reason. I just happen to enjoy using those old boxes.
    I have only a few examples of prints scanned from those, and some folks have seen these before. I need to scan some negatives too since my enlargers are packed into a closet at the moment.
    These are both from my Rolleiflex 2.8C, although one has been cropped to fit 8x10:

    Baby shower.
    Baby shower too.
  8. I shot with a Yashicamat 124G for a time (a wonderful device!) and it was always the surest way to spark up a conversation with a stranger. As noted above, it's something that is so out of time and place that it draws a certain friendly fascination and genuine curiosity. "People still use those things?"
  9. I've used my 2.8F occasionally out in the street in London, and as several people have already said above, generally folks don't mind you shooting them with it, some who would probably baulk at a DSLR are actually willing to let you if you use such an ancient camera, and you'll probably get several people who are fascinated by the camera (and may even know something about them) and will want to chat with you about it.
    Go for it! You should have great fun.
  10. Londoners are too busy rushing from one place to another to notice anything. I was walking through the city of London and an old chap, just dressed in his underpants with a umbrella... was walking through a street with hardly a cursory glance from anyone. I think he was doing it after losing a bet on folk are strange like that.
    Our Police do even wear are probably in the safest place on the planet to take photos...
  11. No reason it wouldn't be great. I have a friend that used a TLR in LA for quite a while. She would carry that and a 35mm. I used to use a Hasselblad in Venice and Newport Beach, and people didn't always seem to notice it though its pretty loud. I think the TLRs are pretty quiet.
  12. As a Londoner, I have taken photos all over London for 50 years with a range of cameras including DSLRs, some with longish lenses, Leicas, TLRs, etc., with no problems whatsoever. People just don't take much notice If you are looking down onto a Rolleiflex, people will hardly know what you are doing!
  13. Thanks to all of you who responded to my post; much appreciated.
    One final remark, though. I, unintentionally, may have given the impression that I was worrying about my equipment. I have never felt threatened by the people in London.
  14. I don't think you gave that impression. I have never felt threatened in London either. Normal precautions are of course necessary, like in all bigger cities of the World.

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