Monday, 20 February 2017
My camera is a social tool
Look at the photo above. It was taken at a cafe where they serve third wave coffee (research it if you love coffee) and this guy suggested us a Brazilian blend as we were talking to the guys behind the counter. After taking a seat I pulled my camera out and took the image above. He was drinking his coffee like a monk and he contemplated over the whole thing for half an hour. I pulled my card out and walked over to his table. I already transferred the image to my smartphone and did some retouching to it with snapseed (it has curves!). I showed him the photo and asked him if I can use it on my Instagram account. He looked at the image and his face was delighted.
He said that he loves the photo and that he is a design student from south Germany and working on a special project for a new coffee brand. We were ending up in a little conversation about his project and my style of photography. We exchanged our contact data and I wished him maximum success with his great idea and told him that I will support him with more photos if he needs further images. A great contact and we both shared some insight into the things we do.
I does not mean that you don't need to talk to strangers. This photo was the result of a birthday party me and my wife were invited to. I took some photos of the event held in a billiard saloon and tried to capture the event like documentary photographer would do it. I shared the resulting album with all the persons present and received a lot of good feedback for it.
There are many ways to interact with people you know and people you don't know through your camera, if you want. You learn new things and a great portrait etc. can always be a good starting point for a nice conversation. It also makes the camera appear less technical. Just think how most photographers are perceived by the public: nerds with lots of equipment who just ran away after taking a shot. And modern digital cameras offer a way to show your photo after you took the shot.
Photography is not a one-way-road
This goes even with landscape or nature photographers. People can show you places and the stories that are tied to them. When you explain what are you doing you give interested people a better understanding of your story and a new insight into your understanding of arts. An example: maybe you see a great castle in the Scottish Highlands and you notice that there is someone taking care of that building. After a little conversation he let's you inside the building to take some photos and you sum up the whole thing by taking a portrait of him and creating a story out of the shots.
Don't think that photography is a one-way-road and street photography has to be candid. The shot on top of the article also was taken candidly but I spoke to that nice fellow afterwards, because it was'n meant to be a portrait.
But what if you get a rejection or some is angry at you?
That's fine, because a bad experience is also important to improve your social skills. How will you react to someone who is rejecting you? Can you deal with it? Can you calm down angry people? You can learn a lot from bad experiences if try not seek them or risking too much. It is always good to stay out of trouble, but if you are in such a situation you can always learn something new. Trust me.
Don't be afraid and use your camera as a social tool. You are not alone...