The event drew about 100 people, which is my guess and a last minute change in weather from the morning’s clouds and sprinkles to the afternoon’s warmth and sun. It was a perfect evening in lovely Olympic Sculpture Park with views of outdoor art, the dazzling Olympic Mountain range, sparkling blue Puget Sound, and what appeared to be at least 3 wedding parties taking advantage of the environment.
I don’t have a chance to participate often in community photo walks. It seems I’m either out of town or madly trying to finish up a creative project on weekends, which is when most walks are scheduled.
Photo walks are about community: let’s shoot photos together. These two things, photography and conversation, are challenging for me to do together. Shooting with multiple photographers is challenging. When a subject sees 4-5 people snapping away at an object (or at them) it alters the scene. The photographers become as interesting as the interesting moment, which is odd. I usually take photos alone, especially candid street photographs. I’m also an introvert, specifically an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs tes. I am naturally shy and quiet. I am especially so when I photograph and when I write, quiet that is. I’m in my head.
So, I’ve learned being in my head and being on a photo walk are hard to do at the same time, like chewing gum and walking. The community aspect draws me out of my head-space, and sometimes that can be uncomfortable. But, I always have a good time meeting others who have a passion for what I do. Our conversations are jump-started in that respect, because there’s little translation required of the type sometimes necessary with others who aren’t as knocked out by walking slowly through the city taking photographs of what appears sometimes to be nothing all that special.
In the digital era, there’s also excitement about meeting people I’ve perhaps only known via social networks or their photographs shared on-line. Shaking hands or hugging strangers who aren’t really strangers is a powerful feeling: familiarity and newness all wrapped up in one. What I like especially is looking through event tags after-the-fact to see how others captured the day on their cameras, whatever their cameras are. Same place, same objects–widely different photographs. The multiplicity of experience and perception is astounding, at least to me.
So, here’s to making more room on my calendar and my head-space for community photo walks, pushing myself to develop as a photographer.
Photo: “Untitled,” Seattle Sept 2013 with iPhone 5 at Olympic Sculpture Park
originally posted Sept 10, 2013