Cherish the moment – Instagram meetup

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I headed over to Grand Central after work to meet a fellow Instagram follower. She told me she was meeting with a group of friends to tour the city and snap some quick ones. I thought, “Hey, why not”?

We met up around 6:30pm and then took the 6 train downtown. There were about seven of us in total. I had never met any of them before but they were all very friendly and some of us immediately exchanged Instagram names and began following each other.

As we took the train some of the guys began shooting. I thought since it was my first meetup I would just watch and see what everyone else did.

I’m usually very discreet when it comes to taking pictures. I’ve learnt this discipline from the hundreds if weddings I photographed in the past years. Some of the shooters I met couldn’t care less. I mean they just walked up to people and pointed the camera literally inches away from strangers noses to catch at best a scary looking mugshot. I’m no Henri Cartier-Bresson but I don’t think that’s what street photography is about.

The person who invited me to the meet up was a lot more considerate and just snapped what she thought was interesting. That makes sense to me. No need to capture what has already been done 100s of times. Why not think of something knew? Challenge your mind not your nervous system. And if you do chose to be brave and shoot a complete stranger at least ask them before you proceed to do so. I mean, yes, it will ruin the spontaneity of the moment, but you can’t expect them to have a nice reaction if you blatantly point the camera at them.

I snapped some shots as we walked but I felt the better shots were the ones I took on my way back to the train. I caught a couple outside on a cold night looking at some paintings in a storefront. Compared to the craziness going in around me I felt there was something special about that moment.

When I got into the train I took a photo of a man painting. Right after I took the first shot he managed to look back at me and said “Hey, don’t worry, you can take some shots”. I guess I appeared more startled even though I was the one trying to sneak behind him to take his picture. He kindly asked if I could make a donation and I did. I also took that opportunity to take a bit more of a creative shot of his as he was painting.

Overall I enjoyed this photography session. I feel that it was a learning experience for me. On my train ride home I looked at some of the profiles of the people I met with and I have to admit I did see some tasteful work. Most of the guys had a creative eye, but some of them were just a little immature while shooting (Jumping on passing cars, unnecessarily cursing, getting too close to pedestrians to get their picture).