It had to happen. We had already seen the mirror, disguised as a long lens, to put in front of your normal lens. I had tried it on one of my Nikons, back in the 80’s. It was a metal tube that looked like a tele, but it had a big round hole in the side, through which the lens could look at an angle by means of a mirror. Awkward construction. It took ages to point right and you had to use a long lens to avoid vignetting! No good for me, it was not quick and made me feel sneaky and frankly, like an idiot. This disguise was for scared people (as is the hipshot, so popular with certain so-called “street photographers”) and far from being invisible, it attracted the attention.
Now we have the same kind of construction for the camera in your cell phone etc. A snap-on with a tiny mirror which enables you to take photographs without “pointing” (i.e. holding it up in the usual vertical position) which is signalling “you are being photographed”. Now you can pretend to use your phone for anything but taking pictures, while you are doing exactly that, because you can hold it horizontally, the lens looking forward by means of the tiny mirror underneath. Sneaky indeed. I can tell you I don’t like it. I’d rather just point, put the camera to my eye as I have always practised, be able to compose the image, give people a fair chance to indicate they object, if they feel that way. It’s o.k., gives me a more honest and self-confident feeling about street photography.