I have a love hate relationship with crowds of people. I love to hate them. I get anxious around large groups and begin to feel penned in as my personal space begins to shrink. I look for an escape route and a place of refuge.
I can speak with one or two people who I don’t know. Three tops. That’s when the camera comes in. It’s the perfect blind. Put a camera to your face and people stop talking to you. Sometimes, they’ll even run the other way. I’m fine with that. This feeling of discomfort is something that I think about at times when I’m shooting.
I know how to put people at ease around a camera when I want them to be relaxed. Every tutorial on portrait photography seems to want you to put your subject at ease. However, as a photographer, there are also moments when I want them to feel the same discomfort that I feel in a crowd. That’s the emotion that I sometimes want on their faces. Not all portraits are meant to be pretty. Some portraits are meant to stand out from the crowd.