Overcoming and Being Able to Overcome


In which our hero shares an intimate secret concerning his fear of asking others permission to take their photo. He also shares his encouragement to overcome such obstacles.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve yet to become comfortable speaking 5 little words while carrying my camera about: May I take your picture?

I’ve tried, oh yes I’ve tried. But, in general I’m far too bashful or scared or whatever you want to call it. I’ve taken a few shots of strangers. One of which I asked the gentleman permission, which wasn’t so bad. The other I just sort of snapped the shots. It was an older man who was cranking a music box at the botanical gardens for patrons. After the second shot he looked less than pleased about the situation. Asking my wife to pose for a picture or two doesn’t take much effort. She’s usually very amenable to my wishes. But, as she’s a photographer too she is sometimes apprehensive to be on the “wrong” side of the lens.

I’ve shot 5 rolls of film thus far. It was still hard to ask my sister-in-law if it was okay to take she and her fiancee’s picture. I should hope that others have this difficulty as well. It’s one thing to shoot inanimate objects or sky. They don’t talk back. They don’t ask you why you want to take the picture. They don’t look at you with a horrified expression on their faces, obviously assuming the worst of you.

I’d really like to get over this obstacle. One thing that’s encouraged me to make more attempts at it is the 100 Strangers Project. It’s fairly simple, you take pictures of 100 people you don’t know. Get to know them a little. Profit. I like this notion of getting to know someone. I like hearing their story. As a writer I find people’s stories to be a great source of inspiration. Because, really, the truth is always much more intriguing.

So, I’m doing everything in my power to best this shortcoming. All I’ve got so far is: Don’t be a chicken, just ask. I haven’t gotten to employ this tactic just yet, but in the coming weeks I hope to put it to work.

Do you have a similar difficulty? Feel free to share it and what you did to best it in the comments below!

written by rrohe on 2011-07-13 #lifestyle #stranger #fear #permission


  1. nural
    nural ·

    I tend to go with shot from the hip, rather than asking because I just can't! Or I act like a tourist, which sort of makes me bolder!

  2. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    great article, thanks for sharing :)

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