I have some anxiety. an anxiety of troubling others. I don’t want to be a bother. because of this outlook, I used to be drawn to japan for this matter. most of society here is always keeping to themselves, staying out of the way and apologizing for creating the smallest amount of inconvenience to someone else. they rather take on a burden than burden others. I always related to that. I found boisterous, thoughtless people to be the absolute worst. I try to think of others because I want to be thought of in return. it’s not always the healthiest way to go about your life, as some things need to be said rather than bottled up. I am learning this slowly and painfully. I am already hyper aware of myself and that is not something I would gloss over easily in my list of flaws I will forever work on.
this anxiety also appears in my photography. one of my ridiculous worries is taking a photo of someone and they don’t like it. it’s selfish of someone to probably react in such a vain way of disapproving someone else’s art. maybe the camera tells too much truth? yes, you do look like that, with your face at that angle with your mouth open wide in that light. maybe your arms look a little fat here, but this is just a photo. would you look at the composition and the things around you? can’t you accept the photo as a picture and not as the “worst representation of your insecurities” image? people only focus on themselves.
and that’s ok. I just don’t want to make anyone feel bad, I want them to feel good… to see the beauty that I see. I have been on the other end numerous times. people who take too many shitty digital camera photos and post every. single. one. on Facebook, tagging me so the world can see the worst angle of my mouth wide open in that light. ok, maybe I do look like that in so many shitty mis-colored pixels. I know in real life I do not look THAT terrible. go ahead, internet, see me at my ugliest and most unflattering look of all time. it’s difficult to have to manage an image, so I have learned to try and accept bad photos of myself and realize that just because I am unhappy with this specific insecurity, doesn’t mean anyone else will notice it. unless of course, it’s the one photo of me blinking at the wrong time, speaking mid sentence. I wasn’t ready, that much should be obvious. everyone blinks or our eyes will dry out. that’s just life!
I use film. and I compose photos. I try really hard to capture moods, atmospheres, nostalgia and document times. happy times, good times. and if a photo of a friend makes them feel bad, I have failed. if they are unhappy with themselves and my photography, I feel horrible. I put a lot of thought, time and money into my photos, so to make someone I like unhappy scares and worries me. I’m shy to take photos of friends and strangers alike. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I want people to associate good times with me, not unpleasantness. this crosses over into “caring too much what people think about me” territory which is sooooo high school, c’mon.
because of this, I take photos of people from behind. you can’t screw up the back of your head. I like faces you can’t see, so the audience can feel their own emotion and imagine what expression could be on the other side. what story does it tell when you have a blank slate? this opens the photo up for interpretation, depending on the surroundings. if anyone complains about their head from the back (which they never see anyway, they should really thank me for showing them a whole new literal side of things), then they are insane probably. maybe it’s creepy for me to be sneaking around behind people’s backs, but I do it only out of delicate love and care. I want them to be happy I am capturing this time in our lives, to show they exist. I just want to create beautiful images that people can enjoy, that evoke some sort of small feeling. I want to give back what other photography has done for me.
I can’t do this if someone doesn’t like the way they look in the photo. that shouldn’t be the focus. so I focus on empty, inanimate spaces, usually. I don’t want to offend anyone, or disturb the peace with the sound of a shutter click. I just want to capture time, light, and feeling in the state I found it in. as natural or strange as it may be.