I've had the wonderful opportunity to meet hundreds of people on my journey through Europe so far. This May 3 marks the one month point! It's getting real now!! Throughout the past four plus weeks, I've tried to engage with as many people from as many different walks of life as possible. Occasionally, I am on a mission to ask complete strangers if I can take their photo. Easy right? Well, not so much. I am typically a social bird, but when you are faced with asking a complete stranger to capture an image of them and take it home...well...sometimes that just pushes the boundaries for me. Not only is there the fear they may say no -or- wonder why some silly guy with a camera wants their photo -or- or a myriad of other things going through their mind...I now have to add on the language barrier!
That said, I'm pushing myself out of my normal comfort zone and it's really making me a better photographer for it. I'm working through awkward situations where people didn't leave their houses planning to be photographed. It's giving me the ability to ease into shooting a portrait. Learning how to talk more effectively to others in order to make them less aware of the camera. Getting personal with them before putting a big lens in their face. It's helping me slow down and make meaningful connections before telling their story in a few photographs. Not only does it make the subjects more comfortable, it enables me to create more genuine stories with the photos I capture. It opens up people's personalities and expressions which makes the product of my photography more real.
Being on set with a model, a patient to shoot their story for a healthcare campaign or a corporate exec for a magazine spread on his company...those are my normal playing fields. I do pretty well there. That said, being forced to slow down in this manner, I can see how it's going to impact my workflow. It's going to help me make even more genuine work. Making deeper connections with the subjects. Building a relationship before we get on with the work at hand. I can't help but feel that it will give the subjects I'm working with a sense of working together to get the shot vs. me working "around them"
So here...meet a few of my new friends...I call them "Happy Humans". This only scratches the surface and I'm sure there will be more, so stay tuned!
Happy Humans Project - Travel photography with the Fuji X Series
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