Wednesday, May 23, 2007

just goes to show you

I took a break from my desk earlier to walk the dogs around the neighborhood and take some pictures. One thing that's always held me back in photography--as it has, for that matter, in most things involving actually living life--is feeling self-conscious. Instead of just shooting what looks interesting to me, I don't lift the camera and take aim because there's a car passing by and I think to myself, What if the person driving that car thinks that this picture I'm taking is stupid? What if they're thinking, Ha-ha, she thinks she's a hot photographer but if she's really taking a picture of what it looks like she's taking a picture of, she's so not hot!

Because aren't you constantly assessing people's skills as photographers as you drive by them at thirty miles per hour? I'm not either.

Today I found myself hobbled by this worry again. Despite the drought, there are all sorts of beautiful things in bloom and even though I generally avoid nature shots because I don't know how to make a flower look interesting, I was inspired to try it out. But I kept stopping myself. I could practically hear the people in their cars thinking, Oh, crap! Just what the world needs--another goddamn picture of a poppy. And then there was the sound of them crashing, they were so distraught about what they had just witnessed.

Interestingly, I took several pictures of Moxie pooping and then Harriet running over to pee on the poop just so everyone would know that even though she weighs fifteen pounds to Moxie's sixty, she's the one in charge. I didn't think twice about what anyone else might have to say. Because I knew that those pictures--those would be something I could be proud of.

Turns out all of those pictures are awful, but the one of some pretty pink flowers that I managed to sneak in when the coast was clear might not be half-bad.

1 comment:

dogfaceboy said...

This is very funny. I think I'm exactly the opposite—I ignore what other people are thinking and maybe even sometimes try to be antagonistic toward it. I might be taking a picture of some building corner that hits the sky just right, and a pair will walk by and look up and look at me and look up. And I'll look at them, thinking, "Go about your business, people!" And they'll say, "What are you taking a picture of?" And I'll say, "See how the building punctures the sky?" and they'll say, "Huh?"

Right. That's why I have the big rig. That's why I'm out here with a camera, and you're not. You don't know how to see!

You should never feel self-conscious about seeing. (Even though it makes a good essay.) I wouldn't take pictures of the dogs pooping anymore, either, but that's just me. I've done that once, per dog. Done.

I take my camera everywhere, and sometimes people feel

uncomfortable always having to be on guard, which is why I shoot nature more than people. (Of course it's more beautiful, doesn't talk back, and has pretty litter.)

I try to do things like I own them and as if no one is watching. I dance when I skate, I sing when I run; I probably look like an idiot, but it increases my enjoyment of many things if I pretend I'm the only one out there.

Maybe that will work for you? Now drop and give me thirty pictures of buttercups and tree roots.