I stand there with my big, nerdy camera and they look up at me—straight at me. Their glare goes right through the lens and then right through me. I shiver. It's my least favorite aspect about photography. I am probably the shyest, most self-conscious photographer in the world.
The frustrating thing is that I love photographing people. However, most people hate having their picture taken, at least when a stranger comes poking around with a big, black camera and lens. If only I were invisible or in a bubble. Shyness is a curse.
I've gotten more skillful over the years at being unobtrusive yet respectful (at least in my mind) about photographing in public. Sometimes people notice me, the stare back, smile, or stiffen up. That, actually, can result in marvelous images. Other times they go about their business, ignorant of me in every way. Life being lived.
Serious cameras are just too big and obtrusive. They separate us photographers from the world and turn us into skulking paparazzi. There are too many buttons, beeps, clicks, whirrs, and protruding appendages. More times than not I feel more like a dork than an artist. It's like those well-past-middle-age guys you see driving the hot Porsches—somehow there is a disconnect. They (we) are trying too hard. It isn't about cars and cameras.
No, it isn't about cameras but next camera is going to be small and simple. Then, rather than being the painfully-shy photographer with the big, nerdy camera, I'll become the painfully-shy photographer with the small, weenie camera.