Kristina’s most recent post made me think about myself and how I respond to strangers asking me about my work. And I respond quite similarly to how she does, although maybe for slightly different reasons.
I too prefer to photograph alone. Sometimes with my boyfriend in tow, but he’s often paying attention to other things. That, and he’s not a photographer or giving unwanted input, so the act of photographing still, in a sense, is solitary.
While I’m mostly a studio toy photographer, I sometimes venture into the great outdoors. When I do so too close to home, my neighbors get curious. “What have you got there?” “What are you doing?” And when I answer, admittedly probably down playing my passion, I get confused nods and oh okays. I very rarely will show a photo straight from my camera – the photo’s only mine until I review it, edit it and deem it time to post it.
Socially – Not Having It
It’s not that my neighbors or miscellaneous strangers mean anything, they just don’t quite get why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m fairly sure if I spent more time talking with them, while there’s no guarantee they’d find it worthwhile, they’d at least come to some sort of a mild understanding. That though is asking a lot of me as I’m severely introverted and a bit socially anxious. Aren’t I painting a great picture of toy photographers? But in reality, I’m great at small talk, I’m just not great at talking about me, unless I’ve known you for a while (or I’m posting on the internet). So strangers asking me personal questions gets me tense.
All that, and while I’m actually very proud of my images and how I’m progressing in my craft I haven’t always had the most supportive circle. Some people close to me brush off what I do as a self-therapy. And yes, art and the act of creating can be very therapeutic. For me however it’s worlds more than that, so it’s difficult to have this act I pour myself into be diminished.
Because of this, with those I don’t know, I just assume they won’t try to understand or see the merit in what I do – especially when I don’t have a final photograph to show them. While I’ll go on and on about my passion to those who seem genuinely interested, if an immediate positive interest isn’t shown from a person I come across while I’m photographing, I just don’t try.
Good, bad, somewhere in between? While sure I should spread my joy in toy photography far and wide, sometimes it probably keeps me more sane not to. And with any situation, I think its okay to pick and choose what we share about ourselves.
And as long as any uncomfortable feelings that creep in when it comes to talking about what you do don’t keep you from actually doing what you do, than so be it. Mitchel Wu is probably right in the comment he shared on Kristina’s post “the more you do it the easier it gets.”
How do you respond when someone approaches you while you’re photographing?