I should have thought twice about this considering the freezing (literally) cold that had gripped New York City, but the sky looked good and I figured it was a good night to photograph the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn.
Of course, I had to get to the location I planned to photograph from a little early to check things out, and that meant I was going to be there for a while. Did I mention it was freezing cold? But I was bundled up, so I wasn’t going to worry about that (complain, yes; worry, no).
Somewhere along the way I decided to embark on a completely unscientific (but amusing) experiment. You see, for a long time I’ve been saying that photographers tend to be very independent folks in general. This is often met with disagreement, until I explain that photographers tend to keep to themselves in the field. That clarification is usually met with agreement.
So I decided I wasn’t going to initiate any conversation with any other photographers I met that evening, and see if they would talk to me.
Now, I’m a pretty friendly guy. And I tend to be pretty conversational. Well, OK, I’m just talkative. But my point is that more often than not I’ll tend to strike up a conversation with those around me. But on this evening I was going to resist that tendency.
Early in the evening I was approached by a couple from Spain who spoke very little English. This was a little bit of a challenge, as my Spanish isn’t very good (but I’m working on it!). I managed to answer their questions, and even carry on a bit of a conversation with them. But they were tourists, not photographers, so this didn’t count as part of my experiment.
Once the sun had set I was settled in at my spot, capturing photographs at random intervals. At least three other photographers settled in around me at various times. Not one word from any of them.
I was then approached by a young woman with a camera. She asked if there was any chance I had a spare memory card she could buy, as she had left hers at home. Unfortunately her camera used SD cards, and I only had CompactFlash cards with me so I couldn’t help her.
I realize you’re probably thinking this young photographer disproved my hypothesis. But I would argue that she only spoke up because she was in need of a favor, and otherwise would have kept to herself.
So, I’m going to take my very unscientific experiment to have resulted in at least a little bit of proof that photographers do tend to keep to themselves. And from now on I’m going to be sure to strike up a conversation with the photographers around me whenever possible. I just wonder how many of them will be wishing I would just keep to myself and leave them alone…
Are you like most photographers I run into, and tend to keep to yourself? Or do you like to socialize with other photographers in the field? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.