Over the past few years, it’s been hard to gauge the reactions of the other people around me when I go out to shoot. Up until now, it was never for anything official, and whether I was on the side of the road stalking a meth trailer or holding my camera at chest level as I strolled through the Qmart, I was usually apologetically obnoxious about my stalkerazzi tendencies. (For instance, I always ALWAYS ask parents’ permission if kids come up to me and ask me to take their picture, if the parent is around, that is.) Some people are friendly and curious about why there’s an unintimidating stranger following them around with a camera. Usually I tell them what I’m shooting for, and lately I have the bonus of being associated with a real organization. Other people are disgruntled by the presence of a camera, but rather than voice their disapproval, they simply dive out of the way of the camera like it’s a ray gun.
When I went to shoot the playground mural at the Blankenburg School, it was the first time I’ve faced verbal disdain for the presence of my camera. Now first, let me say that I TOTALLY understood where this woman was coming from and didn’t feel slighted in the least. I was a stranger, walking into an elementary school full of, you know, children, and she didn’t know me from Adam. (Or Eve, because I am a lady.) And its not like we were hanging out in the most fabulous part of the City of Brotherly Love. I was trying to be legit by going to the school’s office, introducing myself, and telling someone I’d be on the playground taking pictures of the walls. She was trying to do her job by scolding me for not having a contact person at the school who knew I was coming and that I was only allowed to be out there in between recesses. We both handled our situations the best way we could, and I still took some pictures I really love.
My very own photographer’s bonus is that I now get to say I’ve totally pissed someone off with the power of my camera. Job well done.
I’m dedicating this post to Olivia, because despite every blogging re-attempt where I sit at my computer and tell myself, “Nobody cares, this is a portrait of shameless self-promotion, seriously, you’re not that interesting,” she reads my momentary thoughts on every single social network I frequent and still alleviates my doubts by telling me, “Keep blogging.”
So I will.