Friday, January 21, 2011

A problem that should not be such a big problem

Here are some more pictures from my first Diana Mini roll. The first three were taken at the Hawaii airport, and the rest are from the yurting adventure on the Oregon coast. Overall I am pretty happy with how they turned out, and I like how I can do overlapping exposures with this camera easier than with the Holga. Plus it's a very pretty camera to carry around!
Anyway, you may notice that I never post photos of Toronto. (Well I mean I have pictures from going around different areas with Kara and Rifqi and stuff, but never any actually decent photos that I put thought into). Even though I almost always have at least one camera in my bag, I can never seem to stop, take it out, and fire the shutter. WHY?!

One thing I have noticed about Toronto is that most people seem to be either in a rush, or very concentrated on getting where they're going. Usually both. So I think I kind of got into a fast-paced habit like that too. When I'm walking to class I always look around and see and think about the things that are weird or pretty or in any way remarkable, but I keep up my pace and walk on by. Now that I'm used to passing though and seeing things on the move, it takes a lot more effort to stop and think about a still frame. Sometimes I'll turn on my ipod, shove my hands in my coat pockets and arrive at class without even having thought about photography.

Another thing is that there are actually people here. A lot of people! Everywhere!! And it makes me self-conscious and paranoid about taking pictures. I am certain that no one will care or think about it for more than a second if I stop and take out a camera. Even if they did think it was weird or something (why would they?), why should it matter to me? And people take pictures in Toronto all the time, anyway. Plus you are more anonymous in a city than anywhere else! But these reasonable arguments can't stop me from thinking:
"They'll think I'm stupid for taking a picture of a tree!"
"I'll look like a tourist!"
"If I take a picture they'll think I'm stalking them!!"
"I'll look like I'm trying to be arty and they'll think I'm all pretentious!! OH GOD, AM I PRETENTIOUS?!?!"
I love looking at street photography in particular and it's something I would really like to practice, but these thoughts are kiiiind of getting in the way.

I'm also not used to taking photos in such a dense area. Things seem to be all smashed together and it feels more messy and less natural. Also, I know that there are tons of amazing photographers swarming around Toronto, so I feel like everything I could shoot has been done before, and better. Maybe the fear of coming up with terrible pictures is subconsciously keeping me from trying at all, like people who procrastinate because they're perfectionists and so they sabotage themselves so that later they can say "I only did poorly because I left it until the last minute." But it would actually be kind of good if my pictures turned out bad, because you have to suck at something before you can be any good at it. So I'm not taking pictures because I'm afraid I'll suck, but I suck because I'm not taking any pictures?!

It's the people that are most interesting in the city, but I never really got the hang of photographing people. I think it takes a lot of patience and intuition and some luck too. And the best street photographers are the bold ones who can get up close to strangers and, like, not freak out or apologize or anything but just take a picture and move on. That is something I'll definitely have to practice.

This sounds totally crazy and like I'm over-analyzing things! I should just throw all this away and go take some fucking pictures! I've already tried that though and all this shit keeps coming back to me so that's why I wrote this post, so I can stop it from cluttering up my brain and get it organized. Now my anxieties are out of my head and onto my blog. This was probably a reallllly uninteresting post to read but at least it is over now! Thank you for reading, or skipping to the end! Baaaiiiiiii!!


Always Something said...

I go through the same stress when it comes to picture taking! But people are much more laid back about it in Halifax... so come visit!

or if you don't at least don't stop taking such beautiful pictures <3

mom said...

I hope this post helps you work through your thoughts about taking pictures in the city.
I love the look of the pictures that you take with the mini Diana!
All your pictures are so interesting and beautiful!

Claire said...

i love your new camera!

you shouldn't be so self conscious about photographing things, it gets in the way of your incredible talent! maybe you could start in less rushed, calmer areas like side streets or special places you find (uh, please no dark alleys at night..) and work your way into the people river. I bet there are millions of opportunities with that much scenery and people!

pretend you are in pokemon snap! just press A to do it, Erin!!

Anonymous said...

maybe if you were ever on skype or still had your facebook or i had someway of knowing you're alive we could talk about these things since you're in canada and we can't text or talk or things