Am I as comfortable in front of the camera as behind it? This prompts two stories from my past.
In front of the camera…
My most awkward times have to be posing for photographs. I am a large lady (no denying it) but I don’t feel it. Not inside. I still run and do everything I need to. My size never stops me from doing anything and should I be squeezed into a small situation I am always shocked that I might find it a bit tight.
You see I have been massive – and compared to what weight I have been I am a slender reed. So I am always shocked when people tale a photo and it shows me. I think, oh… do I look like that. And then my self-confidence takes a hit.
So I hate being in front of the camera… it can be a frightening and strangely humbling experience.
Behind the camera…
I once worked looking after a golden eagle nesting site in Cumbria. Now I wasn’t using a camera as such, but I was using a telephoto lens. I am an artist, or at least I was and I was drawing one of the eagles. Anyway, there was a tap on my shoulder and I turned to look. There was a pair of tourists.
“That’s good,” they said. The wife in particular praised my drawing. A little embarrassed I smiled and went back to work. Next minute a large and much rougher hand grasped my shoulder and pulled me around. My quick reaction saved me from the lens which would have given a hefty bruise as it was bolted in place and about 2 foot long.
“My wife said she liked your drawing,” the man said.
I just blinked, wondering what he wanted.
“Well, aren’t you going to thank her?”
“Um… Thanks you,” I stammered. Totally out of my depth I was feeling quite harassed and very small.
“No,” he yelled. “Not me, my wife!”
He then dragged me over to her and I had to say thank you to her. Throughout this everyone was watching but not helping. The wife just looks at me. “So rude,” she says and then to her husband. “You’d have thought they would know some manner.” Anyway they stalked off.
It took me a while. They weren’t calling my uniform as ‘they’ but my colour. You see I am Asian, half Indian. I turned and saw my ‘friends’ and work colleagues all shaking their heads too. I felt insignificant. I wanted to hide.
And that was the last time I was comfortable behind the camera.