Interact with People when Photographing an Intimate Event
You're trying to get something that's more familiar, probably, I would say. And to pick up on the answer to your question, I probably would direct people more, because I really want to make sure I get something specific to sort of fulfill this desire to make the people happy. Generally that's kind of more what we're going for in these situations. So we're gonna go to a video, a short one. (children talking) Can I get a smile? (laughs) That's more like it. (laughs) What's the biggest smile you can give me? How about a frown? Now a smile. Thank you. (children talking) Oh, can I get your hands? Oh my god, that's so great, hold like that. Your hands are so beautiful. Hold, hold, hold, please, one more. (whimsical music) Nice, thank you. (laughs) Wait, wait, this way, this way. Really nice. Where's your smile, where's your smile? Thank you. And that girl was also kind of like a total crank monster. She's wasn't crying but she was sort of brooding and kind of not really interacting with the ...
other kids so much. There are times and I have experienced this so many times where... Where as a photographer you're actually wearing multiple hats, you're playing multiple roles if you so choose to take them on. And I generally do. Where I might see that kid is brooding in the corner and I'm thinking, "Okay, what can I do? What can I do to bring them out of the shell?" That becomes my motivation, that if somehow I can get that kid to smile, let's say in this particular situation, and maybe I can get them to be interacting in the scene more. That then that would make me really happy. It's not because I'm special or I have some special power, it's just that you play this funny role as a photographer. You're sort of a nobody and an everybody. I don't know, it's a funny role that you play. On the one hand, you wanna be invisible, right? And you don't wanna influence the scene or you certainly don't wanna get in the way. You don't wanna get in the way. But you have this other role you can play where you can, in this instance. And I've had experiences like the death scene we looked at in the first segment in West Virginia where I was the one who had to tell the husband that it was okay for his wife to let go and die that day. Talk about responsibility, because I was this neutral character and after 70 years the man could not go to his wife and say, "It's okay, Maxine, for you to die today." But it was so clear, she was so strong, she wasn't gonna let go. And it was bizarre. I went, got on my knees, I said, "Arden, go in there." And an hour later she died. So it can be that heavy and full of tremendous responsibility, but it could be something as simple as making a little kid, who for whatever reason, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, whatever reason wasn't happy, bring a little joy to them. And to me, that's amazing. So again, this idea of human interaction and... Well, I could see a scenario that would be difficult. In an intimate event, maybe a wedding would be an example of that or something where, it's high-stakes pressure within that event. And it's not chill and there's people who are stressed out. And you could actually do something as a photographer that makes the whole thing implode. (laughs) So I don't do wedding photography. I photograph weddings as part of my journalistic, cultural work. But I have observed wedding photographers and I've known some that are very close friends. And I've watched how they've had to navigate that, where you have like, whether it's the bridezilla or just very stressed out family. And you're having to negotiate the internal relationships that you have nothing to do with, but if you don't navigate them well, you're gonna fail. So there's so many qualities and so many sort of skills, talents that one needs. I'm really overcomplicating things, aren't I? He's like, "Take your camera and go and shoot," right? (laughs) But I hope this resonates with you because it doesn't have to be work. I see it as almost like self-actualization. I see it as, how do we become more aware of who we are and of what we're doing? So again, I'll come back to this over and over again. It's not just about the photographs we make. It's about the quality of experience that we have in making our photographs. There've been countless times where I've had an amazing experience and the pictures weren't so great. Or even like that little tiny, tiny example where I was photographing the little girl. I thought it was a major accomplishment that I got her to get up and put the sparkles in her hands and hold it. But then, I didn't realize that my feet were in the damn picture until I got home, back to the hotel and I was downloading, I was like, "oh." Otherwise they might've been lovely pictures. Because you know why? Because I was so caught up emotionally in the moment, I forgot the photographic disciplines. I didn't see my feet. I hate when that happens.