I released a relaxed exhale as we left the cruise ship and began our walk down the path to the beach, enjoying the happy laughter of our kids as they raced ahead, cool breeze flowing through my hair when…”excuse me, will you take our picture?”. I awkwardly accepted the offered point and shoot and even more awkwardly try to figure out how it works as my dear husband says “you picked the right person, she’s a PHOTOGRAPHER“.
I wanted to slap him.
I don’t know why I am so uncomfortable with the title being blurted out like that. Is it because I perceive that other people will assume I should know how to work ALL cameras as I stupidly fumble with theirs? Is it because I know in this moment, this light, this location they will get nothing more than a snapshot (some photographer, they will think when they review the photo) or is it in fear of the dreaded “me too!” As every Tom, Dick and Sally is now a “professional photographer”? Or horror – if they really ARE a photographer, are they secretly judging me by the quality of their requested snapshot?
At that moment, it was a little of all of the above I think.
Am I a snob? Maybe. Sometimes. But paradoxically I am also supremely insecure about my own abilities and wonder what my place is in the photography world. Permanently ensnared between confidence and insecurity, flowing one way or the other with the wind – I’ve heard enough stories to know that I am not the only photographer/artist to feel this way.
So the next time I’m on vacation and I am the one that stops an unsuspecting passerby with “excuse me, will you take a picture of us?”, and she looks at me awkwardly as her husband pipes up “you asked the right person, she’s a PHOTOGRAPHER!’, I will smile warmly and say “me too”.=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Tressie Davis is a portrait photographer located in Chelsea, MI. Portrait work may be viewed at www.tressiedavis.com.