I am completely fascinated by portrait photography. When I look at a portrait I often wonder what the person’s story is, what are they thinking when the photo is being snapped. I have come to believe that portraits are a reflection of the photographer, in many ways. A portrait almost says more about the person taking the photo than the person themselves. Or maybe it says something about the story between the photographer and the subject. Maybe? I haven’t quite worked out what I think about all of this, but you can see that portrait photography makes me think.
For the past couple of years I have been very inspired by some talented photographer friends (Josh and Brendan, I’m looking at you). It’s been really fun to watch their portrait projects take shape as they both have developed their style. It has made me want to try it myself. I am kind of shy though, so it’s been hard for me to begin. It’s very, very difficult for me to ask people if I can take their portrait. My experience so far has been with people asking me to take their portrait first, and not the other way around. With this last roll of film I thought I would step a little bit out of my comfort zone. Last week my husband and I visited his family in California for his mom’s 70th birthday and I thought this would be a wonderful time to capture his family on film. Lucky for me, they were very happy to oblige!
As I mentioned, I am fascinated by what the person might be thinking when their picture is snapped. So when I take someone’s picture I often ask them to think about something that makes them very happy. I don’t ask them what they were thinking, that’s between themselves and their own brain. But It’s nice to see their happy expression. Sometimes I am a little too shy to ask this because I don’t know what the person will think about such a personal question.
I think it’s a little easier to ask children than adults.
Sophia in the lavendar.
I love this photo of Sophia because it was her idea!
I had a lot of fun with this. I hope I can get over my shyness and try again soon. I think I really like taking photos of kids the best. I love their expressions. I am trying to decide what my style is – I think I like getting in close and focusing in on the face and the eyes the best. I need to play more, though, to really figure it all out.
These were shot using my Canon EOS 650 on Fuji Neopan 400.
Something happened to me a week ago and it’s been bothering me all week. I walked into a store that I frequent often. When I walked up to the counter to conduct my business a shop assistant who I have worked with often walked out of the back. Instead of greeting me with a smile, this person, upon seeing me enter the shop, immediately turned around and walked into the back again. Yep. This person did THAT thing to me. That thing where you avoid someone you don’t want to see or talk to.
I instantly felt deflated. Not in a “popped balloon” kind of way. It wasn’t so dramatic. No, it felt like someone opened up my air valve, allowing the air to slowly seep out of me. I was able to conduct my business with a smile and leave and go about my day. But this episode has left me feeling bad.
I am not angry at the person at all. I really respect this person and the work that they do. And, honestly, I don’t know that this is what they were doing. I can’t jump into their head to know that this is why they turned around to go into the back again. I think this is more a reflection on me. I have done this exact thing to other people. I did it yesterday, in fact. I avoid people when I see them coming and don’t feel like talking to them. Last week I got a taste of how it feels for them when I do this. Guess what? It doesn’t feel good. At all.
So I’ve thought about this and how I can learn from it. I’ve been thinking about why I avoid these people. What makes me avoid them? What are these people doing that is causing this aversion? Then I wonder if I am doing those things and if I am, how do I change it? Do I change? Is it even possible to change my personality to make myself less repulsive to others? Do I even want to do that? The rebel in me doesn’t. Fuck them. I am who I am and if they don’t like it, fuck ’em. Also, I am not sure it is even possible to just change instantly over night. Honestly, I don’t even know what I am doing to cause this aversion, so how is changing my personality even possible?
On the other hand, I like being liked. I do not like rejection. Rejection hurts.
I think the key is to notice how it makes me feel. It makes me feel pretty bad. I can now empathize with the people I do this to. If they are noticing that I am avoiding them, then they must feel bad. That sucks. I don’t want to make people feel bad.
I come across a lot of lonely people in my line of work. I deal with a lot people who don’t have much contact with others. I realize that I need to be more compassionate with these people. They don’t deserve to be avoided. I need to figure out how I can work with them from a place of compassion and not aversion. I don’t know how I am going to do this in some of the cases but at least I feel like I have the right perspective. I can’t expect them to change to suit my needs. I need to accept them and work with them.
Last night right before we closed the library a man was found, collapsed, in the Mens bathroom. The fire department were called. The Paramedics came. Apparently the man wouldn’t let them help him. He kept pushing them away. My co-worker had to unscrew the door to the stall he was in to get to him. As he was propping the guy up he started to lunge at my coworker. There was a bottle of Whiskey sitting next to him. It looked like it was unopened.
As we were closing I noticed that there was a jacket, gloves, and a bike helmet sitting on one of the chairs next to the window. After some discussion, we thought it might belong to the man, who was now being put on a gurney. So I went out to them and asked a Fireman if these could be his things. He said, “they probably are” and then took the things from me.
I looked at the man. He was probably about my age. In his late 30s, early 40s. He looked like anyone. He didn’t look like someone I would associate with being a drunk. He didn’t look homeless. He just looked like a normal. guy.
I felt really bad for him. He was hurting bad enough to do this to himself and I just felt really bad. The Policeman who was there, on the other hand, was less than compassionate. He laughed at him and joked about it with the Fireman. Treated the guy like a loser. I just thought it was really cruel, the way the man was treated by the “authorities.” Clearly the man is sick and needs help. Treating him like he’s not a human being doesn’t help. Granted the man was fighting any attempt at help but that doesn’t matter.
This is what I hate about the cops in this town, and maybe in general. It’s this general lack of compassion. It seems kind of common around here with people. There is a news site that allows comments on their stories and the things that are said about vicitms are utterly horrifiying. Blame the victim. It’s the victim’s fault for being out that early in the morning (in response to someone getting mowed down by a car, dragged for a mile, and dying), The man who committed suicide is a self righteous asshole for killing himself. I’m so sick of this attitude.