I carry a camera all the time because you never know when something interesting is going to happen.
Like today, for instance. I was walking through the construction zone that is Bank Street, when suddenly I spotted, walking towards me, a man pushing a stroller with a grown up dwarf in it. I think there was a baby or a toddler in the stroller too, but it all happened so quickly I barely had time for a double take.
My hand automatically reached for my camera, but then my eyes met the dwarf’s eyes and I couldn’t go through with it.
I suppose when you take a picture of a complete stranger with their knowledge, you’re saying “There’s something unusual about you.”
And that ‘unusualness’ could be anything: beauty, ugliness, deformity, eccentricity…..anything.
I think I would feel funny if I was walking down the street and a stranger suddenly pulled out their camera and took a picture of me. I’d wonder why. I’d probably feel paranoid.
But I guess if you’re a dwarf in a stroller, you probably already know you look a little unusual, so maybe it’s not a big deal if somebody whips out a camera. At least you know why you’re visually interesting.
I’m self-conscious on either end of the camera. I am a far worse photographer because I won’t take the pictures head-on; I end up taking them from a safe distance or from a safe angle.
What is it about photography that makes us feel so self-conscious?