The Stakeout is one of the oldest tricks used not only in Street Photography but also in Nature and Photography Panoramas, Portraits and Reportage Photography … if we want to label the art per style and concept.
For what concerning street photography – how many times did you stop in front of a wall, captured form peculiar colours or sign, a graffiti or a crazy shop window or a strange shadow\light?
It could be not only a wall but a crowd or a group of people wearing the same hat for example (like young students in a day at the museum ) or same outfits - that I call rhythm sequence – or a street vendor… even anything that is “stable” in a hypothetic scene you have in mind and you start to ask yourself :
Does something come to disturb this elegant chaotic scene? Or a funny or dramatic connection between walls and\or characters that perform a theatrical story?
Well, when you are thinking “and IF….” in front a cool background, it starts the “previsualization” mind-process that is a great talent in a quality juxtaposition in photography. I said “Photography” and not Street photography in particular as that term (Previsualization) was invented from Mr Ansel Adams, one of the most important Photographer of past century known due to his outstanding Black and White works in the panoramic views
To clear a little more the Stake-out meaning is the concept of fishing. Standing in a place and waiting PATIENTLY (usual 5-max 8 minutes, the order does not create doubts and fall within the meaning of “stalking”) the event you previsualized to come.
It means 90% lucky and 10% skill as you have all the time to set your camera, check lights and shadows, focusing in a right place and waiting for your character order to complete the scene that you are thinking in an almost perfect way. I said “almost” as me, as street photographer (and reporter), the things have to come in a totally realistic way order recreate a “decisive moment” in camera; in fact one of the funniest Cartier-Bresson quotes that I like is “I pretend to let things to come” so the shoot has to be interest of course but DIFFERENT despite classic juxtaposition photographs and natural … so at the end … imperfect.
So I hope you enjoy my article and the photographs about my “not so evident” staking-out shoots.