Cameras VS Strangers
GEESH! Year and a half since I've written here? Time fly's when your busy makin pictures!
Years ago, before I started pointing my cameras at people for money...well let's just say I was scared. Scared of being yelled at? Scared of being arrested? Scared of being punched? Yes. Your invading, your intruding, rude/interrupting possibly comes to mind? I'm a pretty strong/ outgoing guy, heck I even acted in several high school plays. However this concept of photographing people tied my stomach in knots more than waiting off-stage for my turn! This is not a tutorial on "how to". Duh, if your NOT getting paid you 'ask first', this is more of how I got comfortable, or at least better at it. The odds are with you in the fact that people like photographs. Or liking GOOD shots of them at least. Each session I did I had to remember, I was the dude with the camera, I had control and people actually liked it when I took it. To be honest it wasn't me remembering that, it was my beautiful, supportive wife telling me...time and time again. When I started shooting bands for fun you could see how different the musicians acted when you raised your camera...anyone does for that matter. I've walked into many places/events that I shouldn't have, because after a while I knew I would make a stranger a friend. Because of confidence? Maybe. Because my beard scares people? Maybe. Because I had a camera or two? Definitely.
Below is an example of me making friends...with my camera...eh the little flower helped too :-)
So about 6 months ago my father-in-law passed away. Him living with his Mom and dog, we swiftly inherited both! Life changed quickly for this photographer and new Beautiful Bride who usually just jumped up and ran to wherever tickled their fancy! Spontaneous road trips, date nights, going to see a new band, even the run-around-the-house-naked-dance changed. I know right, TMI? Things have to be planned now because Grandma and the dog need assistance. This is not by all means a "crybaby", "poor us", story. Just a story about things we have both learned. Knew, but now have LEARNED!
"You come into this world the same way you leave" Ya'll heard this right? I have a brand new beautiful Grandson, 8 months old. Every time he is over, this sentiment screams in my mind. He needs to be fed. Laughs at silly things. Amuses easily. Doesn't care about materialistic things...nor has any, needs help with bathroom issues, gets off balance quickly, etc. Walking is stupid. One week I bought a stroller for him and a the next a wheelchair for Grandma. Both have their own language. "ppssssssbbbbgrrrrr" is 'hungry' for one and "Corker" is 'exceptionally good' for the other. The comparisons on how you come into this world and leave this world is very spooky when you live it...and it makes me think. Live "the middle life" with passion, gratitude and kindness. Because having someone love you and take care of you is really how we came into this world and how we should leave. Below is my oldest love and new...
Plan, plan, and plan more. Research, research and research more. The crazy stuff you do as a photographer (or just someone with OCD). Make your list, Google the weather, check your settings, grab the correct lens, take your backup bodies and wonder if you packed enough batteries!
These things and more are ALWAYS on my mind before a shoot. However (in my opinion) the majority of my great shots have been made with the worse of luck. A lot! No I didn't say ALL.
I think life should be taken like this as well. Are mistakes really mistakes? When a stupid cloud comes from nowhere and "rains on your parade" how do you handle it? Or if you drive hours to a remote location and a freak wind storm pops up, you waste hrs and turn around pissed to just go home? What happens when the road you Googled just doesn't exist anymore? Google Maps can't be wrong! Yes, all and more have happened to me. My temper explodes, I shake, get cotton mouth, I wanna give my clients their money back and cry!
You have to learn...teach yourself to be calm. I know it's not human instinct to do. You have to get a different mind set. Ha, I know coming from me that is funny thing to say, but being aware is half the battle right? EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Quit, please STOP asking "why, why me?" You honestly don't need to know...is it gonna change what just happened? Sometimes, in these instances, it may just give you a great shot...
"Spend your life and your money traveling...one day you won't have either." Ya, that's my quote, you can use it, if you believe it. I'm lucky. I've always traveled. Starting young on the back of my Dad's motorcycles, hiking in the AZ desert, cheap camping in the mountains to expensive European trips. Very lucky the stuff I've seen. However according to Tripadvisor my 100K+ miles traveled is only 17% of the world! It's funny to me how spending only gas money on a road trip or 8K on a European trip has the potential (and is most of the time) just as fun! Ya some of you may argue that. Only 25 bucks a week gets ya 1300 in your yearly savings right? (ya I went to AJHS, ha) I'm not saying spend ALL your savings/retirement to travel but there is a compromise. The people that pinch ,horde ,hide ALL their extra money so when they are OLD to enjoy it all? Never understood that. Getting out once and a while and seeing something other then a TV, tablet, computer or that "smart phone"... THAT becomes a part of you. I'm sure you have seen on a billboard, magazine, etc. a trip that you have been on right? Someone ever talk about a place you've been or comment on a different culture that touched you? You cant wait to jump in and share! Thoughts, smells and memories come rushing back. I't doesn't make you a better person just more enlightened. More informed. More stimulated. NEXT year you wont miss that 300 bucks you spent on that awesome road trip THIS weekend! Remember my first quote here and really take it to heart. Just get out and see what you can while you can...and don't forget a camera!
Sitting here contemplating about how many things this sentiment can be applied to. Almost maddening. Bill Rose was just in that mirror and I saw a thin younger version! Where did my Favorite breakfast place go called Bill Johnson's Big Apple? My Mother was so fun too. The memories of...hmm mm, memories fade too? Not MY memories, Ha! Where does true/ unconditional love and your faith go when you loose your memory? Look around...where did your kids go...you'll ask that question if you have 'em...no matter what reason. There is a lot of talk from all generations about how everything disappears. Usually older folks, ya we understand why, but you should think about it...at all ages. The expression "shit happens" should probably be "shit disappears?" Remember the Beeline drag strip? That stupid tower stood for years and one week before I could go shoot it...GONE! The 4-wheeling through the Salt River...Goodbye. You say your Youtube progress bar won't disappear? Ha! Gimme a bat. I dare you, think of one thing...yup that too disappears. So take as many pictures possible and SAVE them. Put them on a form of digital format to enjoy, before your memory, loved ones, beliefs, architecture you know disappears . Make pictures, save pictures. My new motto.
Sometimes I was lost in this word. (ya my A+ in English is paying off) Besides for my children...lost. See the light here, lose it there, laugh from your smile, yet tears in your thoughts...passion winning the battle every night. Something I should be writing about? Why not. I think you've read worse somewhere else this week. No? Well I guess now you might!
I love through the night. Love from my heart. Love from my mind who out-speaks my tongue, always.
Conditions you always have dreamed of don't apply. Try to make sense of it...I dare you. It will always happen when you've planned the least for it. I guess what I'm trying to say is... find what I have... someone who burns your toast and makes it taste outside of this world and tell them to make it with ONLY you...everyday. BTW here she is...
WRITE MORE...THEN PICTURES
Make pictures others haven't, I say. Sure you have to do the usual and sometimes mimic thier shots to learn. Ya, get a classic shot of say Horseshoe Bend, Superstition Mountains or the Eiffel Tower (don't do that one at night though) and feel great that you "got it" I have. Nothing wrong with that... If you wanna stay comfortable and be like everyone else. You must move on to be better. When you go out to shoot pictures you find yourself around others trying to get the same shot? Move. Go over there, sometimes WAY over there. Look at all the "other angels". Lay down. Climb a tree. A rooftop. Or someone's shoulders. Cover your camera up and run into the rain! Make your pictures provoke something. Anything. Even if it just makes YOU happy. Like this one...my youngest daughter. Hope she listens to me when I'm not there.
Two little girls rode their bikes by today... The sound of " Ice-cream man" in the near future. I laughed. Here comes trailing Dad, I thought, walking fast, not running. They were probably 5 or 6 year old sisters. Well I would guess. He let them ride way, way to far ahead of him. A car backed out... it stopped fast as they road by. Then Dad walked faster and faster, around the corner they went...out of sight. I know he wanted to yell out. He didn't. They were smart and strong, he knew it, I didn't. I couldn't see the ice-cream truck or the girls anymore... just him. He slowed his pace and the little " truck jingle " stopped. We heard them laughing hard and say " did you see Daddy chasing us, he's crazy!" Then I thought...yup...Dads are crazy.