I used to make fun of my ex-finance and secretly judge her shyness (note the “ex” part….) She would have these photography assignments for people in various settings and was always so reluctant to just walk up to people at shoot them. Now that I am learning about photography, in situations where people are the center-focus I am now the one who gets shy and doesn’t want to approach folks. Even at events that I’m throwing, I still get nervous about just getting in someone’s face and shooting them. The funny thing is, I’m a PR person, it’s my job to talk to people. But somehow, I feel creepy sometimes taking their pictures.
Not that she’s reading this but for posterity: I GET IT NOW AND I’M SORRY.
That said, I met this couple at Slide Rock when I showed up there super early to photograph the creek. I had been there about 45 minutes, getting further and further upstream. By the time I was finished there were about 15 people there and this family visiting from WisCAHnsEHN were talking about how and where the sliding actually occurred. I pointed to the creek that was right in front of them and said, “that’s it right there.” They raised their eyebrows and realized that the slide WAS the creek.
“It’s called Slide Rock for a reason,” I explained how the slide progressed over the twenty or so feet. It kind of shoots you over these smooth, slick rocks. It’s also exponentially slippery around the banks – I’ve seen more than my fair share of folks land on their asses trying to get in.
The husband and wife had a brief discussion about who would go first to test obvious safety issues. Their kids were pretty little – too little (in my opinion) to navigate the slide part on their own. It gets kind of deep in spots, even for adults. After two sentences in low tones, it was obvious he lost the argument. I exchanged a few glances with the wife and noticed her camera would get only one or two shots of this event. I got my camera out of my bag and took a position near the bottom of the slide. I got a series of shots of him getting in and coming down and sent them to her that night after I got her email address. The funny part is she thought I was a part of the park – that I was going to get these great photos and then try to sell them to her. (!)
Photographing strangers isn’t overly difficult but it’s that initial distrust that most people (inherently) have of strangers that’s the hard thing to overcome. I’ll get better at it.