Last month I started teaching photography at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, California. I love teaching, but I miss being a photographer. Fortunately, I was able to be a photographer last weekend when a friend asked me to photograph her family. We met at Mills College in Oakland, California for a portrait session with her husband and three children.
When Libertad (Libby) Rivera asked me if I were still available to take family portraits, I had just started my new teaching position. At the time, I did not realize that I needed to take pictures more than Libby needed to have her picture taken. I did not need the money. I needed to know that I could still take a decent picture.
Sometimes I know if I have taken a good picture before I see it on my monitor. Last Sunday, I did not know if I had any good pictures, but as soon as I saw the first photograph uploaded to my screen I felt alright. This is a simple photo of a child’s sandal, but it reminded me that I knew how to use a camera AND interact with people. If I could get this one right, the others would be OK.
I am always surprised that people seem relaxed when I take their photo. If I were to guess at my secret power it would be that I am more nervous than the people I photograph. Somehow, my nervous quotient relaxes people. People feel at ease around me, because I am so uneasy. That is my best guess.
Oh, and I always feel incredibly grateful to take a person’s picture. Here are more pictures from the session.