Don’t Ask Me To Take A Picture

Originally Published January 20th, 2019

It’s 8:16 on a Sunday night and I’m debating whether I should write or post something that I’ve already written.

I should probably explain, I have a new goal—write & publish a new blog each day for 30 days.

This is day 7.

I understand that life is crazy and some days I’ll have more time to write than others. Therefore, I’m allowing myself to gather a “rainy day” fund—a surplus. I was going to use one today but I realize that’s a lazy thing to do seeing as I’m still awake.

Sorry for the long intro, this is my way of warming up—here’s a mildly coherent attempt at a “late” night rant.

Don’t Ask Me To Take A Picture—A Rant

 

Nothing kills a decisive moment like someone slapping me on the shoulder and saying, “HEY, take a picture!” {….pause} “Oh, you missed it!”.

Allow me to explain.

Photographers Fail Every Day At Every Moment

First off, as a photographer—I’m always missing photo opportunities. I believe there’s a photo to be made everywhere. At any moment, any location, with any subject—there’s a photo to be made, you just have to be willing to look hard enough. Therefore, I’m forever stumbling around town like the lady from Bird Box missing all sorts of potential photos.

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Trust me, I’ve got a mile long list of disappointments—missed opportunities, failure to properly use my gear, 100,000 derp faces, or just me sleep walking through life. One example that I always think back on happened a few years ago. I was driving home from work when I saw dozens of creepy mannequins lined up outside of a storefront that was going out of business. I went straight home and got my camera, made my way back to the mannequins and just like that—they were gone—instant regret. I can still see the photo I was going to make in my mind.

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As photographers, we’re going to fail at some point—it’s going to happen. We’re not suddenly special because we have a camera strapped around our necks (or in my example, no camera).

My goal is to always be exercising my photographer’s eye, keeping present & in the moment, and of course always having a camera with me.

But I’ll still miss shots.

Pointing Out A Photo Usually Ruins The Photo

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If I’m in a situation where something interesting is happening and I don’t catch it—that’s my fault. But when someone points to me, being the only person in the room with a camera, and says, “Hey, take a photo.”—99.9% of the time that ruins the moment.

The decisive moment is no longer decisive—it becomes forced or looks completely fake.

I don’t like fake photos. 

I realized a long time ago I didn’t want to make fake photos. That’s why I try so hard these days to go unnoticed. I usually shoot with a small, quiet, black camera. I get all zen and turn into a fly on the wall.

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My business is in catching the raw, the visceral, the genuine.

Once someone stops, looks strait into the camera and cheeses—it’s no longer real.

Obviously there’s a time and place for snapshots. I got nothing against snapshots. And as a disclaimer, I’ve had people point out photos and I’ve captured them because they were paying attention and I wasn’t.

My point here is that if you see a genuine moment happening and I don’t capture it, slap me in the face! Telling me to take a photo isn’t going to help—just punch me. Or better yet, take the photo yourself. I know you’ve got a camera in your pocket!

Keep your eyes peeled—life is happening all the time.

-Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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