From the bottom of the lowest underground lair (the subway) to the top of the highest skyscraper, there's something crazy and wonderful about shooting from the hip at every level in New York.
There are many reasons to shoot from the hip (short people, animals, unexpected results, etc.), but I usually reserve my hip shots for sneaking photos of people I pass by on the street or on the train. Sometimes I’m too shy to ask to take a portrait, or I don’t want to disturb the moment by asking for a photo, so I lower my camera hip-height, shoot, and keep on walking.
Part of the fun of the hip-shot is not knowing what an image will look like until you develop the film days, sometimes weeks later (or even longer if you have a tendency to misplace things like I do).
Sometimes the results can be disappointing (you did take a shot from your hip, after all!) but sometimes, you somehow manage to take an incredible shot that you never would have been able to frame had you looked and planned it through the viewfinder. It’s for those few magical images that I keep taking hip shots, despite the proliferation of blurred feet photos added to my collection almost daily.
The people and backdrops in New York are so vast and diverse, that grouping hip-shot portraits together can look like a compilation of portraits from around the world. Add in different films, cameras, neighborhoods, and the crazy, unrehearsed angles from a split decision hip shot, and the images can look like they span decades, countries, and even photographers.
Lomography has always been about the beauty of unexpected results. Hip shots only add to that beauty.
I shoot from the hip because I love the mystery. Why do you?