So I guess it’s no secret that I like taking pictures.
I joined Flickr right about the same time I started travelling – some of the first photos I ever posted were of my very first trip overseas. Happily, photography and travelling are hobbies that go hand in hand.
In addition to taking pictures, I also like looking at them. Before life got too busy when I was completing my Masters degree, I was pretty active on Flickr and I followed several photobloggers religiously. And one thing that always makes me jealous?
Great photographs of people.
It’s a skill I’ve never quite acquired. No matter how much travel I do, I just can’t get those shots.
You know the ones. The ones where the photographer has so obviously connected with the subject. Whether they’re close-ups or environmental portraits, I’ve just never had the courage to interact with people and photograph them at the same time.
I feel like I’m intruding.
So I take my photographs from far away, or I take them of people’s backs.
Rarely do I get up the courage to ask for a shot, like the one below.
Even in India, a photographer’s dream, I was timid.
And I look jealously at the photos of others and wonder just what it is they’re doing to connect with people that I’m not. I wonder where they get the courage to snap their pictures.
So, for my upcoming trip to Latin America, my challenge to myself is to shoot more people (you know what I mean!).
Maybe I’ve not chosen the best place for this – I hear there are particular communities in South America who hate having their picture taken. And I’m of course worried about having my gear stolen.
But if I can start moving beyond landscapes and marketscapes and architectural details, I’ll be pretty happy.
Do you have any tips for taking photographs of people? Does it make you feel awkward? Have you had experiences photographing people in Latin America? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE: I posted this on Reddit.com to get some feedback from photographers – there are some great comments (and a couple of silly ones!) over here.
Some of my favourite recent people photography: