Cloak Bag

Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered the “father of modern photojournalism,” would wrap black tape around the chrome body of his Leica 35 mm rangefinder in order to be less conspicious when taking photos in public.

Now a company named Cloakbags has designed a camera bag that they say would allow today’s street photographers to remain almost inconspicious.

And considering the rampant paranoia these days against street photographers, that might not be such a bad thing.

However, there are plenty of skeptics out there regarding the design as well as the ethics behind using such a product.

At least according to the comments on the Boing Boing article.

Hmmm, so tilting this rather ugly brown satchel up to my face in public is going to be discrete?

At best, it’ll look like I’m drinking out of an over-sized flask. At worst… well I can’t imagine WHAT others could think was going on. Which is the polar opposite of being discrete.

From another commenter:

Thinking of the many situations where I would like to take photos by the rules prevent me from doing so, like some exhibitions and museums, I can’t think of any way in which this gadget wouldn’t be a huge red flag to to people whose job it is to stop me from shooting things – they’re not as stupid as you think, and if you’re in a quiet space, there’s no way that bag is going to muffle the extremely distinctive sound of a SLR shutter closing.

And another commenter said it is not only indiscrete, it doesn’t protect the bag, considering it has a gaping hole on the bottom.

One should also note that this bag in no way protects the camera. Drop the bag on the ground and you’ve busted a lens. Also, I hope you have auto-focus.

And another commenter said it would only appeal to perverts or the “upskirt photography market.”

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of hiding the camera, with all due respect to Cartier-Bresson. Although I do try to sneak photos in certain situations while pretending I’m photographing something else, and that’s only because I’m striving for the most natural photo.

But I like to make it obvious I do have a camera and I am taking photos because it is not something I should feel ashamed or scared to do.

What do you guys think?