I have been getting a lot of validation from online sources these days, posting pics on tumblr and checking to see if anyone likes them. It is both motivation and a strange pressure for my picture taking process.
My style is a bit sneakster, a covert operation. I like the honesty of a candid. As I walk around I see the world in frames, beautiful creased faces, bright colors, shapes and patterns and laughter in eyes. Sometimes my whole focus become pictures I am missing. It is an easy leap from there to self criticism, of my shyness, my introversion. Last week I began carrying this guilt around, as if the problem lay in my fear of asking.
So I made a challenge, to ask 10 people if I could take their picture. I had yet to ask this question in my 6 months of travel. So I went out with my mission, nervously, and noticed some really interesting things. Of the 4 adults I asked, 3 of them were behind something, like a metal gate or a glass window, as if I needed the illusion of separation to be comfortable. One person said no. All were shitty pictures.
BUT, in the process of talking to one guy (a schoolteacher) I attracted bunch of kiddos which led into a ridiculous photo session of leaping shots and of laughing. The kids actually were the ones to ask me, but I count it anyways. It was exactly what I needed.
I realized that to get the kind of non-sneakster shot I love, I have to build a relationship with the person first. I need to be able to put them at ease so they are reacting not to the camera itself, but to the girl behind it. I can do this with kids and with friends. And with strangers if I am drunk. And that will have to do for now.