Perhaps a little too influenced by the work of French artist Sophie Calle, whenever I'm in Paris, I have the habit of following people around.
Though I don’t go as far as Sophie Calle did (she once attached an angled mirror in front of her camera lens in order to sneakily capture people sitting behind her), I usually go for the simpler ‘shoot from the hip’ approach.
There’s something about the pace of walking in Paris that makes the city a particularly good one to take sneaky shot-from-the-hip portraits of people. Maybe it’s all of the beautiful public parks or the wide streets, or the well-dressed people, or the delicious coffee and pastries I’ve just ingested that make wandering aimlessly around with a camera so enjoyable.
Whatever the reason, I admit I find myself slowing when I see somebody who seems to be enjoying a walk down the street. It’s usually an old man in timeless garb and a jaunty hat. I guess I have a type.
Parks and gardens seem to be a good place for this, my favorite being the Luxembourg Gardens. I take a seat in one of the chairs in front of the large, grassy lawn until I see somebody that looks interesting. I follow for a few minutes or turn around the fountain, and then I turn to a corner and wander ’til I find someone or something else that catches my attention. I always wonder what the person is thinking about and where they are going but never get the courage to approach them, I just hang back and sneak a few shots.
I should mention though that this all sounded way less creepy at that time.