Last year I went on a local photoshoot in Grapevine, Texas with a bunch of other photographers doing some street photography. It was part of a world-wide photoshoot. Photographers from around the world got together in local groups and we all went out and shot together. Sometimes we even shot each other. It was a lot of fun.
One thing that I noticed is that most of the photogs that I met were really shy about approaching any people. They’d rather take photos of shadows and streetlights. I’ll include myself in this category as well about being timid. One area that I wanted to push myself on was in taking pictures of people; compete strangers literally off of the street.
It takes a bit of moxie to muster up the courage to ask someone if you can take their picture. One of my secret fears is that because I identify myself as a photographer, I never want to do anything that might cause someone to think of me as the creepy guy behind the lens. Some of this probably comes from the fact that as a father of two daughters, I take a lot of photos of them but also their friends. At least these kids and sometimes their parents know me. Asking to take a picture of a complete stranger is a whole different story.
I had some relief because an army of about thirty of us swarmed over the North Texas town all at once. We were pretty obvious. Everyone had an expensive camera, camera bags, tripods and all of the other stuff that you would expect. A few people asked me what we were up to. I got photos of four sets of folks that I was pretty proud of. Terry the biker dude rode up to a popular biker’s watering hole, Willhoites. I asked if I could snap a few photos and he said sure and asked if it would be okay if he smoked a cigarette. Super nice, super cool dude.
There was a girl sweeping the sidewalk in front of a restaurant and I asked her the same thing. My creepiness fear kicked in but it was unnecessary. She was really nice and asked if I wanted her to do anything different. What she was doing already was perfect.
There was another biker dude with the full face helmet and full leathers on who himself was snapping a photo of the street with a tiny point and shoot. I asked him and he said “go for it.”
There were a couple of guys on break from their manufacturing job just relaxing on a bench. I didn’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English but, with some pointing and waving we communicated and they let me shoot them. I think that they actually enjoyed the attention.