I agreed to take photos of Lia and her friends before they went to the prom knowing that I could royally screw up. As usual for prom night, everything was running behind schedule. I was actually fifteen minutes late and I was one of the first ones there. Or thought I was. I didn’t recognize the people who I was going to be shooting a) because I’d never seen them dressed so well and b) because they were made-up and coiffed and c) the ones there ahead of me, I hadn’t seen in at least two years.
While waiting, I had the experience that I’m sure every photographer has had. You’re getting in the groove to shoot. You’ve got your camera out and you’re pointing and clicking randomly. A gentleman approached me and asked if I’m from a newspaper. I told him, “No.” And he hit me with, “You can’t take pictures of that girl.” I’m new at this so I just said, “I’m sorry but this is a public park.” He lobbed back, “What do you mean?” So I added, “Anyone can take pictures of anyone in a public park.” He became bellicose and said, “Without their permission?” I just meekly said, “Yes.” Then he added, “Well that’s my daughter and I want you to delete them pictures you just took of her.” I just said, “Sure” and deleted them in front of him and added, “No hard feelings” and offered my hand to shake. Which to his credit he did. People.
Anyway, the shoot went ‘okay’. I’m not fantastic but I got a few decent ones. I remembered one phrase that my friend Richard has used in the past. I used that phrase a lot while shooting that day. “Get closer than you’re comfortable with.” It’s makes for better shots, I think.