These last few days I was losing confidence in my picture taking; I also felt that angst again in taking people pictures. Today I watched a few videos of John Free. Not everything he says resonates with me, but his take on approaching people surely struck a chord.
After that I went shopping for some groceries (just a 5 minute walk) and took my camera with me. And there was this little kid stomping around with its feet on street tiles that act as a carillon. My urge to shoot overtook my hesitation, I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. Then her mother walked up to her, obviously telling her off for something in a language I didn’t understand. Of course she noticed me taking pictures with that big lens on my camera. I smiled at her in sort of a mutual understanding of “see how much fun your kid has”, she smiled back and we parted ways. Needless to say, my mood went up a notch or two.
What I learned from this? Maybe it’s better to wait for a good opportunity, something that makes your heart jump up, than just to try and shoot as much as possible. I practiced a lot in the last weeks in photographing people and mostly I wasn’t particularly interested in the shot. That doesn’t work. The carillon kid really drove me to pick up my camera and the thrill and satisfaction is immensely greater; it doesn’t really matter if I’ll be happy with the shots when looking at them in a week or so, the encounter itself is something to cherish.
It’s a very personal thing of course: I’m starting to lose interest in photos without people. Sure, I made some these last weeks but only very few of them make the cut. When I’m in the right mood and mindset, I see so much happening with people on the street that endears me, that good stuff simply must come out. Photographing people is a very multi-faceted thing, to me it feels like your own mind, personality, mood, character is reflected thousandfold in how people react to what you’re doing. Enticing, difficult, mind-boggling, depressing, uplifting, thrilling, all that.