For a long time I rarely made photographs of people. I’m not sure why. I just did not. Little by little I made more, mainly of family and found I really enjoyed it. I also did some “lurking” with a 300mm lens but that always felt intrusive and unwelcome and the photographs were often not great.
There is something about photographing a person head on or a scene openly that, to me, makes it more authentic and honest—”honest,” there’s that word again!
I respect and admire photographers who work closely with people. The geniuses like Dorothea Lange and Diane Arbus, among many, as well as others who are less well-known. Clearly there must be a comfort level on both sides of the camera as well as between the photographer and the subject.
There is a special magic when a photograph captures people in the midst of their stories. I watch for these kinds of compelling moments to happen and, while challenging, I see more now than in the past.
Making a photograph of a person, especially spontaneously, can be even more challenging. How do I intrude without breaking the moment? How do I deal with the mechanics—light, cropping, perspective? What do I say to the person afterward? How do I feel about it all?
I love looking through the viewfinder and finding out new things about myself. Although it can still feel awkward and uncomfortable, I’ve discovered I enjoy making photographs of people!