Ever had doubts of approaching a stranger you wanted to photograph? Where you walk for several hours looking for someone interesting but when you finally see that someone you immediately felt doubts and discouragement? Let me share this short story that actually happened to me.
So I was walking on a weekend afternoon looking to shoot street photography. I was taking a couple of shots in front of a mirror and frame shop when I turned around, I saw this man. He was skinny, yellow jeans cut just above the ankle, shirt neatly tucked under his pants. Fashion dude, I said to myself. I knew he's my guy but something about him stopped me. I think he's drunk.
He was crossing the street almost in a zigzag fashion. Almost walking without direction. I took one shot. I wanted to chase him. I'm very interested by now. But my alarm was ringing telling me not to follow him.
"What if he's drunk and starts saying words no one will appreciate?"
"What if he caught me taking his photograph and he then swings his arms towards me?"
I convinced myself and let him walk away and let my feet take me somewhere else.
Probably half an hour later there he is again! We crossed path once again! This time we're physically closer to each other. About half the distance of my first photograph. And from that distance, he sure looks quite sober. He was holding a plastic cup. Must be water. I hope it's water and not another hard liquor.
I told myself, you know what, let's just follow him and see what happens. Low profile style.
I continued following him until I get the right view. I'm still cautious but a little courage is there pushing me. The plan was to avoid taking photograph with his back facing me. I want to capture him ala street portrait.
So I walked and I followed until one intersection, I assumed he'll cross the road, but suddenly he turned around and walked to a different direction. I abruptly stopped.
I think he knows I'm following him. But I shrugged the thought off and went to his direction. We were both walking, me a few feet behind him when he suddenly stopped again. I though I was busted! So I decided to call it off, just walk passed him. But as I was about to walk pass him, he started walking again. Now. We are walking side by side. He sure busted me.
"Nice camera!" He said. I thanked him. Then he continued. "Where are you from?"
"Philippines", I said. "You should buy your cameras there, not here(Singapore), It's expensive here."
He was still talking about cameras and other stuff but by that time I was half listening and already speaking to myself. "Dude, he's not drunk, he's fine! He's actually friendly." At this point we were walking together when I saw a street convex mirror. "Take his portrait NOW!"
I asked, "Can I take your portrait with this?" He looks shocked but he's smiling. I took three shots, thanked him and parted ways. Funny but, I think we were friends at that moment.
Sometimes we doubt ourselves. We overthink and it slows us down. That doubt chains us and clouds our goals. But once we get passed that. Conquered fear and gathered our courage, we'll realize that what we were thinking was miles away from the reality we expected. We create scenarios too vividly that ultimately pins us down. Stop doubting, stop procrastinating and do what you got to do. See you on the street!