Have you ever volunteered yourself for something?
I had the opportunity when the topic of photographing the staff for our company intranet came up. I volunteered to shoot portraits of as many as 300 people at our New York office.
I spent three days last week hopping between my desk and a small portrait studio I created out of three feet of wall space, a high stool, and a stand mounted strobe with a large diffuser umbrella on it.
People came in and I took their picture.
I’m in charge of things like network infrastructure, and servers, and so on… so I don’t interact much with people at the company. In fact, I’m not a big people person in the sense of small talk, or making aquaintances. I shy away from parties.
I do love photography, so this opportunity seemed like a great chance to exercise some photography skills and some people skills – and also get outside my self in a new way.
Each person was unique. Some were easy – photogenic, attractive, poised. Others were very nervous or self conscious. Some weren’t sure they want their photograph taken at all.
I was able to make that small talk. I made people relax. I was able make almost every single person lose that rigidity in front of the camera; and the result really showed it. Most people seemed very surprised when I showed them the digital preview on my camera. They’d never seen a flattering photo of themselves! I’m really proud of the results.
I don’t really feel it would be ethical to post them – but perhaps after the dust settles I’ll ask a few people if they wouldn’t mind me posting their portraits online.
It was an exhausting, but wonderful experience.