People are Strange.

Pretty regularly I stare at people. Girls, boys, men, women, short, tall, fat, skinny, black, white, and everything in between interests me. I’m looking for things about them to photograph, in looking for beauty. The interesting thing is that while you’d think that the simply “beautiful people” would be my favorites – and don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to photograph folks who are easy on the eyes – but it’s the folks who are not traditionally attractive who are the greatest draw. Heck, aren’t there more of us than the beautiful people anyway?

The thing I haven’t quite nailed is the pitch. I know photographers who just walk up to people and (apparently) get say the right things to make those people comfortable enough to have their images made.

A buddy here in Richmond shoots (get this) nude male bottoms. She can just walk up to guys, produce a few 4x6s her purse, and voila, guys are there for her. I wonder if it’s because as a woman, she’s not threatening to the guys she photographs. Granted, I don’t wanna do anything that risqué, but I kinda feel like just sauntering up to people (especially women) and asking for a photo op is a little disquieting.

Bryan Miller is a friend up in Maryland and he says he manages that kind of thing all the time. Heck, he says that he manages to pull folks from MySpace. His portraits are almost haunting. His subjects and their connection to the viewer are amazing. It doesn’t hurt that he’s using a big ol’ honkin’ camera so they know he’s not kidding.

On a visit to see Rodney Smith (courtesy of Jim), I was told that even he sometimes wrangles people out of crowds. His images are both clever and staid and timeless all at the same time. He said a bunch of other stuff about the way his images get made during that visit, but this was one of the most profound.

I guess time and slowing working through the people I know are the only cures to the issue.

Hey, wanna be in pictures?


1 Response to “People are Strange.”

  1. 1 J. P.
    April 16, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I would have thought that there would be an inverse relationship between the size of the camera and the level of intimacy, but I guess it’s not necessarily so!

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