I enjoy photography but - as the bloke commented - my strength currently lies in landscape work. I seem to have a natural affinity for its composition. I learned all the rules long ago when I last took photographs with any level of seriousness, but what I really want is to take pictures of people. Not posed studio work, but candids.
The problem is that I find it hard to just lift up my - very small and unintrusive camera - and shoot a complete stranger. It feels like I'm being invasive, of their personal space or private time. I don't get close, nor do I use a massive zoom lens, but still I feel inherintely uncomfortable. I'm not sure if I should ask before taking, check after taking, or do nothing. I've just no idea of the etiquette.
I recently decided to just be brave and shoot. If anyone looked annoyed or upset, I would offer to delete my shot. This new approach would be put into effect at a classic car event at Mercedes World Brooklands, with a full range of enertainment laid on - food, pimms & cider tent, live music, stuff for the children of all ages. There were some wonderfully interesting people there - one band all dressed in red and black, and wearing hats. I snapped away happily - at dancers off in their own world, striking individuals, beautiful hair, stunning tattoos, interesting faces, unusual outfits. I had a ball and no-one complained, or even looked slightly unhappy. It was positively liberating ...
When we got home the bloke showed me a blog about a festival where the photographers have clearly crossed the line: Whitby Goth weekend. I cringed as I read it and immediately mentally re-visited my own actions that afternoon. After much heart searching, I was content that I caused no upset, but maybe that's because it was clear I wasn't after the shot at any cost. I had made a conscious decision to genuinely delete if anyone was the least bit unhappy, also I never sell my stuff as stock photos - these pictures are taken for my own pleasure and my own learning process. Can the purity of one's intent come across? I've always liked to think so. The more practical bit is that I'm an older, grey-haired woman and smiling is my default expression. I imagine it helps that I'm positively comfortable to be around and not the least bit intimidating. Whatever it is, I plan not to waste it!
How do you feel about having your photo taken by a stranger in public - even if at a distance? Would you find it intrusive?
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