I'm cursed and blessed, with the gift of being able to watch people like a hawk. Seriously. I can take any situation, and from the corner of my eye, I can capture the subtlest of moments. If anyone has seen me work in person, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
A lot of people admit, when in certain social situations, or just in general, they are people watchers. It's not that they're creepy, there's something fascinating about the way we interact with one another, and the way a person interacts personally with their environment.
Ready for a primer on people watching and photography?
There is no situation more fascinating to watch, than when people get around celebrities. This is when the people watching goes into overdrive mode, a photographer goes into fight or flight battle mode. For example, consider the above photograph (click the photo to enlarge it).
What we see is:
1. A girl in shock, so much so, she is unable to raise the camera to take a photograph. Her pupils are dilated. For she is within a few feet of Johnny Depp.
2. A man seemingly reaching out over the girl, towards Johnny Depp. To ask for an autograph? To cut a lock of Depp's hair? Who knows...
3. Observe the number of cameras and camera phones, pointed toward Depp. Just to say they were there, that they were that close to Johnny Depp.
4. Finally see Johnny Depp talking to a security guard, while he refuses to stop signing autographs, so they can start the film premiere screening. Awesome.
For these people, it's not a matter of getting a good picture, there's plenty of great pictures of Johnny Depp that day, anyone can see on Getty Images. It's not a matter of being bored. It's a preservation of reality, an attempt to capture the nostalgia, so we can hang it on the wall. "Remember that time I got to being a foot away from Johnny Depp? Look! Here's cell phone picture to prove it!"
Believe it or not, the power of a photograph is exponentially more influential than you may think. It can induce the whole gamut of emotions. Fear, sadness, grief, pain, elation, joy, happiness, eroticism, the list goes on and on.
I've seen photographs so beautiful they brought tears to my eye, i'm not afraid to admit that. I've felt nostalgic joy and the worst pain you can imagine from a photograph. It's not hard to experiment with. Take a scroll thru your facebook feed tonight, watch the news, look around your place for old photographs. Take in the emotion.
Want to up your photography game? Start opening your eyes around you. That way, next time your in a crowd of 2,000 people, you know where to look. Get in tune with the emotion around you, using your intuition.