The binoculographer.

Misty, 2005, from Soth's Niagara series

I interviewed photographer and 2004 Whitney Biennial artist Alec Soth in his St. Paul studio recently for the Walker blogs. A taste:
Photography... is this permission slip that you're given to go into the nail salon or to walk up to that person at the bus stop and say, "Can I stare at you for 30 seconds?" It's an incredible luxury. We could do this without a camera, but it'd probably be even more awkward... I used to joke that I was going to become a "binoculographer." I'd just go around staring at people with binoculars. Kind of performance art... I feel like a large part of photography is like a performance. And the photograph is like a document of this performance, of this encounter with the world.
Read the whole thing.

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