updated 5/16/2012 12:59:01 PM ET 2012-05-16T16:59:01

It's fun to photograph people in poses, but candids can be even more fascinating. Many of the street-life images by photo artists such as Cartier-Bresson capture the real character of people and the vibe of society as no posed picture can.

At the same time, being on the other side of the camera and discovering you were the subject of someone's  secret photo can be quite disconcerting.

A new iPhone app released today (May 16) is frankly and disturbingly named "Stalker," and it goes to some lengths to mask the user's photo exploits.

Rather than requiring you to conspicuously push the shutter button, Stalker shoots at regular intervals: every one, two or five seconds, depending on how you set it. Meanwhile, you post a dummy screenshot to the app interface — say, of your email inbox or the iPhone's Music app — so no one knows you are actually using the camera. Stalker also recommends that you turn on "mute" to disable the iPhone's shutter sound effect.

(The settings also allow you to turn on the flash, but it's hard to imagine that not defeating the purpose.)

In our tests, the performance of Stalker was so-so. If you and your subject stand still for a few seconds, you may get a fairly good shot. But since you're looking at a dummy screen, you can't frame the photo before shooting. And you don't even know for sure when it is being shot, since it's on a timer. Nor can you set the focal point.

Most of our photos came out a blurry mess because they went off while we were walking around. And with a shot every one to five seconds, there will be a lot of duds to sift through in the iPhone's photo roll in order to find a good one.

It's hard to judge Stalker. Though it can be used for good — capturing insightful glances of real life — it also can be a very power full tool for… well, a stalker.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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