We have to sometimes wonder whether it is best to be noticed when we are out and about, or whether it is better if no one ever pays us any attention. After all, some of us do spend a little bit of time color coordinating, placing the hair just so, and making sure that there is not much out of place before we venture into the open world where self-anointed fashion critics lurk around coffee shops and sidewalk restaurants to mercilessly critique our threads and the way we wear them. OK, I’ll admit that this is a bit overstated, but hey, that’s the way it feels sometimes. Of course, I must admit that I’m using “yours truly” as a point of reference, which is all I’m an authority at, and that most of you out there are quite the head-turners (in a good way, that is). But be that as it may, the point is that while some people do deck-up so that at least someone notices them, other folks couldn’t care less about the unwanted attention. That’s a pity, because being noticed reminds us that we are alive and that we are part of the great human story of our times. So go out, strut your stuff, notice and be noticed. Take it all in, because these will be the memories of your life.
Excuse me, would you mind if I took your picture? Innocent enough, right? Well, let’s face it, while photographers see themselves mostly as artist practicing their innocent trade, some people out there see them as the biggest nuisance they have had the misfortune of encountering on any particular day. This “get away from me” reaction is perhaps the single-most feared reaction by anyone contemplating the genre of street photography. I can tell you from personal experience that it is not a good feeling when someone gives you that evil eye, or worst still, when they start publicly (and loudly) chastising you for taking their picture, even when they were not the object of your photographic composition. It does happens from time to time, but I’m glad to report that these reactions are more of the exception than the norm. In fact, I would venture to say that most people don’t care at all, provided you are nice about it. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at the “Touching Strangers” project at Richard Renaldi’s site. And here’s a great video describing this incredible personal project: Touching Strangers. Wonderful stuff.