This section is from the book "Uncle Alberts Manual Of Practical Photography And Guide To The Reproductive Processes", by Powell Perry. Also available from Amazon: Uncle Alberts Manual Of Practical Photography And Guide To The Reproductive Processes.
Although this branch of photographic endeavour is cruelly limited by Mr. Gladstone's "Street Nuisances and Performing Animals Act" of 1884, it is still practised - even if somewhat furtively. And so, once again, I turn to the Hand Camera Manual for moral support and technical weight. ..."For ordinary "landscape and marine work - as a rule, at all events - there is but little need for "any concealment of purpose. But in the street it is desirable for two reasons "that the camera should not be detected. Firstly, because of the attention it "will attract, and secondly, on account of the set poses that will follow.
"Every endeavour, at all events, should be made to prevent the people in the "scene knowing that they are ' going to be took,' or else they will all be found "standing like plaster images staring at the camera for all they are worth. In any "study of street life, character, or incident, natural grouping is essential. If it be, "say, a fruit stall with customers, it would not be well rendered by each figure "therein being represented as looking straight at the camera. It is not natural, "it is not business.
"Upon this subject one word of advice. The beginner must not trust to any "attempts at concealment in the design of the camera itself. The day is long "past when even a plain black box or a bag will deceive the public.
"No, rapidity of action and secrecy of movement will effect the purpose in a "more reliable fashion. The camera should not be raised or pointed until the "exposure is possible, and this is where quickness of action comes to the front. "If something intervenes to prevent the exposure, the camera should be dropped "at once. Above all things, the worker should endeavour to forget that he has "anything of the kind with him, because if he pays attention to the camera, other "folks will do the same very quickly.
"There are many little wiles and tricks - in fact, the up-to-date hand camera "man should be a deceiver of the deepest dye - such as lighting a pipe or cigar, "buttoning a coat, taking off the hat to wipe the forehead, blowing the nose, "looking into a shop window, etc., etc. Anything and everything in fact to cheat "the public, to deceive them as to purpose. A friend to talk to is also occasionally "useful, but nine times out of ten he gets in the way, and is better left at home "to mind the baby. It is also a mistake and a very common one, to regard the "scene or objects too long or too fixedly. The worker should avoid being seen "to possess an interest, though he may keep the matter under close observation. "' Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth.' " (Verily - Ed.) .