Photog Third Wheel

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So, we’ve all had times as photographers where we’re the only one interested in taking photos. We’ve gone away with loved ones and been up before dawn to get the shot, then proceeded to walk around all day camera in hand picking out compositions in the world around us, and even had to plan dinner around the shot you want to get at sunset leaving your partner or group hungry while they wait for you. Us photographers are told time and again how good our photos are, but quite conversely when we’re taking them we’re the most annoying people to be around! Perfectionist personas come through and our loved one’s patience is really stretched.
It can take time to plan a shot, to get to the right location, set up, wait for the right light, the right moment, and there’s the age old adage that there’s no such thing as just one last shot! A feeling us photographers can get is that it’s as though our partner isn’t understanding our passion. That they aren’t respecting the art, nor are they appreciating that you want to bring back your own special memento from your trip across the country or around the world.
But here’s the catch. They just want to enjoy the trip! They are quite happy taking snapshots, and they’ll put up with us taking ‘proper photos’ but there’s a limit, It’s finite. There’s so much they can take, and only that much. We need to understand that, for the sake perhaps of the relationship!
I remember finding a balance in Paris. I wanted to shoot the morning twilight, catching a more unique view of the Eiffel Tower than every other tourist was getting. My partner at the time was understanding, but not an active participant! The balance was quite simple – the alarm went off in a dark hotel room and with my cat-like reflexes I sharply hit the ‘shut up’ button. I carefully, with all my agility, slid out of bed and got out there on the first Metro to Trocadero to get the view across the Seine to the Tour D’Eiffel. I had my ‘me time’ to shoot the early blue hour, and with that under my belt I now had the whole day left to be a tourist, to strike a happy balance, and so I returned back to the room with a croissant and a hot chocolate to make up for my absence and everything else that followed photographically that day was more of a bonus.
That’s the thing about us photographers. We just don’t always appreciate that our intentions vary so wildly from those of the person or people we’re with. Us being busy and getting that shot means the people we’re with standing around waiting, and it’s a damaging part of out profession or hobby that we must take into consideration! This separation, lack of engagement, engrossment in the photography rather than the company is something to be mindful of. After all, being on the cover of National Geographic versus losing friends or loved ones over your apparent lack of interest just isn’t worth it, right? Knowing the difference between a holiday and an assignment, and knowing when to call it a day and pick up a beer or sit down for dinner is an important part of the balance I’m highlighting here. I know from experience that putting photography first can be socially disastrous, and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
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