The thing that drew me to photography when I first started taking pictures was the sense of excitement that I found in trying to capture a person’s character and personality on film. It isn’t an easy thing to do. Most of us react to the knowledge that we’re being photographed by changing the expression on our faces – so sometimes photographers have to be very quick! (although the result needn’t be negative – and can be used to very good effect).
This might explain why I used to prefer taking photographs discretely. I liked the greater scope that it afforded for showing people as they really are. Perhaps, in truth, many of us don’t want to be photographed as we really are. We want to prepare, to do whatever we need to do to ‘look our best’. But I think photography is usually more captivating and more real if we don’t adapt to the knowledge that the shutter is about to click, and instead allow ourselves to be ourselves. Candid photography is one route to achieving this type of photograph.
This shot is one that I took the other week of Rachel Hayton during a training session. Rachel didn’t know I was photographing her, so I checked with her afterwards to make sure she felt OK that I had done so. I took a lot of photographs that day, but this one is easily my favorite. I don’t know Rachel very well, but she’s usually around at Aspire, working hard in the background or modeling herself (something she does brilliantly). I love this image because I feel I can see a lot of Rachel’s personality in it. It’s one of those photographs to which the adage ‘right place at the right time’ applies – but it was also a great lesson on the importance of being sensitive to what’s happening around me in the moment.