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Are you talking to me? Are YOU, taking to ME?! I didn’t THINK you were F***ing taking to me!

These few words famously delivered by Robert Dinero in the movie Taxi Diver perfectly describe the type of looks I get from most of the people when I first approach them to take their photos when traveling abroad.

Trust me I get it! If I had some strange, sweaty, funny looking foreigner, approach me with a camera in front of their face wanting to take my photo, I don’t think I would be too receptive either.

Ah, but that is the exact space that I love to live in. I seriously love this moment of tension between me and the person I want to photograph. Normally, I have been draw to the person for some unique reason. Could be their clothes, their eyes, the light, an emotion they are expressing, might be anything but, I saw it and in a flash of an eye, I want to capture it!

Now here is the really hard part… Once someone is observed in their “natural” or “honest present state,” it disappears the moment they are made aware of it being recorded. Sometimes if you are fast enough you can capture it. On very rare occasions that person may present me with a gift and keep doing whatever inspired me. Most times, the wall of tension presents it’s self immediately between us.

It’s in this moment that things shift and becomes 90% psychology, and 10% photography. Although I use a variety of approaches to connect to people, the greatest thing that works for me is showing personal confidence. Some how through my facial epressions, words, sounds or body lanughage, I let that person know that they can feel confident that, their emotions, their moment, their story is safe with me to share.

Now, if only I was confident enough to get Robert DiNero in front of my camera.