Don't be embarrassed for seeing something others don't


It was a beautiful day in the Ozarks. Winter was largely over, the sun was shining, and a high pressure system meant no clouds and deep blue skies. I was carrying my camera with me, as usual, and suddenly something caught my eye. The combination of the blue of the sky and the red of the sign attracted me, before I knew what I was doing I had my camera up and started shooting. I took a couple shots and then moved into my van, hoping to use the windshield as a polarizing filter. I finally had the shot I wanted.

When I got out of my car I noticed a couple of guys looking at me with smirks on their faces. I couldn’t tell whether they were really looking at me or not, but it certainly felt that way. From their perspective, I had just spent five minutes taking a picture of the sign to a flea market. I can see how that would be funny; it’s not like this place is a tourist spot or even remotely famous. Why would someone take a picture of the sign (unless they ran an apostrophe abuse site)?


Being an introvert, my natural inclination is to avoid being noticed. This makes photography in public kind of hard because most people notice a guy holding a camera taking pictures of buildings and stuff. There are times that I’ve been in the middle of a great scene with perfect lighting but I did nothing because I was paralyzed by fear. I was too afraid of what the people on the street would think, people that would notice me for a brief moment and then never think of it again.

What I need to learn, and what I did learn taking the flea market picture, is that I should never be embarrassed for seeing something other people do not. When I saw that sign I saw a picture. I had an image in my head that I wanted to photograph and I worked to get it exactly as I wanted it. A hundred other people, even other photographers, might walk by and not think a thing, they might not want to shoot it. But I did. I saw something that spoke to me and I made it.