Monday, May 6, 2013

May I take your picture?

For some reason this is a difficult question for me to ask. I don't want to intrude upon another's personal space. I fear they will be suspicious of my motives or annoyed at the interruption of their thoughts or just embarrassed to pose for the camera in a public setting.

And so my photographic work to date has been primarily landscapes and still lifes and family pics and moments in time that don't need to be asked permission. But I am tiring of this work and am now making some effort to get over my reluctance to photograph some of the many interesting people I see.

This man is standing on Bleecker street in NYC just outside the Blind Tiger Ale House where I have sampled a few with friends. We were celebrating our completion of the Five Boro Tour. We are unlocking our bikes from a tree as a steady flow of pedestrians and cars go by on this simply gorgeous sunny Sunday. I look up from my task to see him quietly smoking and taking in the scene and for some reason do not hesitate this time.  I ask, showing him my camera and he nods with a small smile. I got a very "cool gentleman" vibe from this man.

2 comments:

Pat Swift said...

Hi Stephen, I took a class in 2007, how to use my (not sophisticated yet not PhD) digital camera. Your question was one of the weekly assignments. After explaining the nature of the assignment to my hoped-for subjects, adding a charming lil smile,, I received only a few demurrals. Knowing that i was a student let people dispose of the usual self conciousness. I'll send a few along if mydear old chemo'd brain can remember to. Thanks to your post, I'll remember how satisfying it was and take more people shots.
PS I lost my dad in 9/2011, having had just a wonderful visit w/ my folks several weeks previous, my first permitted trip after stem cell transplant in 8/2010. Having written about him from time to time, and still missing him, I resonated with the pieces you posted about your mom and of this new cloak of genuine grown-up that settles round our shoulders.
Keep writing, keep posting, its real good shit Stephen and acts as a spark in the carburetor for more friends than me, I'll reckon.

Stephen said...

Thanks for your encouraging words, Pat. I'd love to see some of your portraits.