I’ve noticed that carrying a camera seems to give people free license to approach me. It’s usually men, asking about what camera or equipment I use. I am not well-educated on the finer points of the technology, so these conversations don’t last. The women often inquire about more personal matters, asking if I’m a photographer by profession. I usually smile and mumble something and have to struggle with maintaining eye contact because people are “not my thing” most days. I’ve thought about telling these curious individuals that I’m interning with National Geographic, or some other story that’s just plausible enough to be believable. I can brashly fictionalize more acceptably than I can hold regular interaction.
The sudden invasion of my space is strange because, to me, photography is intensely personal.
Much like my writing, it’s a way to catch some transient thought which belongs particularly to me. It’s isolating a specific piece of the world that I saw as unique from the rest, then freezing it in time the better to contemplate it. I’m quite the opposite from someone like Brandon from Humans of New York. His work (which is fantastic, by the way) tells other people’s stories. I’m happy if I can just tell one millisecond of my own. That’s not to say my hobby is entirely introspective or self-centered. It reaches out in its own way. Like my writing, it makes a statement–This is what I feel. Then it asks–Can you feel it too?