So, I’ve already talked about what got me in to photography to start with, wildlife.
As a child I wasn’t really any good around people. I couldn’t talk to them, I never knew what to say or how to respond. I would rather of shut myself away in my bedroom playing with my puppets (yes, I was one of those children) then sit in a room with people.
As an adult I’m still not overly comfortable with a large group of people, but I make myself do it. I do however love spending time with small groups of people or just sitting and chatting one to one.
I discovered what my skill was – it was listening. I love hearing other people’s stories. I don’t feel that I have to talk at any point. I’m comfortable with silences, and I’ve found that people are usually happy to fill them for me.
I find people fascinating. I don’t judge people on their looks, or their religious beliefs or their sexuality. When someone sits in front of my camera, I just want to see them as they are and take the best picture of them that I can.
Sitting infront of the camera doesn’t always come naturally, and you have to remember just how vulnerable it make people feel. My job is to try and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Alot of the time there is a lot more chatting then there is photographing. The photos kind of happen.
Depending on the person will depend on the shoot. The lovely Julian, above, for example is an amazing model, and in amongst the casual shots we tried various things with studio lighting and props from around the house. Not everyone is comfortable enough to make a fool of themself, and so I’ve learnt to never push anyone too far from their comfort zone.
When I’m at my own home, it’s not unusual for the face paints to come out or for me to throw something at someone and say “Let’s see if we can make this work”. I like to challenge myself as much as I do them.
I have learnt over the years that even the perceived handsome or prettiest of people are as insecure infront of the camera as people who consider themselves not to be photogenic. So let me get this down in writing – I never refer to people as beautiful or ugly when it comes to looks – both of those are internal traits – and so far everyone I have met has been a beautiful person, it is what drives a person on the inside that makes them beautiful on the outside too.
Julian wasn’t the first person I had photographed, and was one of only three people I have ever photographed who had experience of modelling. We spent almost a whole day together, and we laughed a lot. This photo shoot is an incredibly happy memory.
This is why I love photography. I get to spend time with people, some of whom I’ve never before, and we get to chat, laugh and find out about each other. I’ve had some wonderful people stand infront of the camera, honest and open people.
Photography changed many things for me – used as a therapy on myself, but it has helped me learn to be comfortable around people.
And people are amazing.
It has taught me to never judge someone I don’t know. You never know who someone is until you’ve spent time with them and learnt what they’ve been through in life. How hard they’ve worked, pushed themselves, the struggles and the joys they have had.
I hope to have more opportunitites with more people in the future.
As this blog continues I’ll share some more of the amazing people who have sat infront of my lens.
Don’t be scared to be vulnerable.