Voyeurism

As photographers, we can't help ourselves. When we see another photographer raising a camera to their face, taking a shot, things cross our minds...

Am I missing out on an opportunity?

Should I take the same shot?

If I don't take the shot, will I regret it?

Am I just being a copy cat?

Inevitably, the answer to all of these questions is the same: yes. A thousand times, yes.

If you have a camera, any camera, the answer is to take the shot. It doesn't matter if you're copying another photographer: maybe you can capture a different angle or get different lighting. Whatever you do, you're making the shot your own.

I don't think any photographer has said, "I regret taking that shot." But I'm positive that many have regretted not taking it.

A couple of weekends ago, I was at a photo shoot for a couple of dancers that I have known for many years, who want to capture their last year at the dance school and create a portfolio. So we met at the Mackenzie King Estates, and I captured them as they posed in several outfits at the many sites on these NCC grounds.

It was beautiful and sunny, and the leaves were at their autumnal peak. And I wasn't the only one with a camera on that day. Myriad tourists and other photographers with their own subjects—models and engaged couples—stood in the gardens, around the tea house, and at the ruins. Though it was late in the season, the Mackenzie King Estates still proved a popular attraction.

At the Abbey, as my dancers stood atop some of the ruins, a man approached me and asked me if he could take a couple of behind-the-scene photos. I was about to say that I preferred he didn't (I felt a bit protective of these girls and it was my photo shoot), the girls echoed their consent. The man gave me his business card and promised that he would send the shot if I contacted him, and I nodded my okay.

A few days after the shot, I felt John Wenzel's card still in my jacket pocket, and I went to his Web site. He specializes in dark fantasy, and plays with light and special effects. I reached out and waited to see if he would respond.

He did, saying that he hadn't looked at the photos but would send me the shot he took within a few days.

This weekend, DW, my girls, and I spent a weekend in Montreal, visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends. The ladies and I checked into the Intercontinental Hotel, where we stayed a couple of years ago. It's a very nice hotel, situated on the edge of the old city. We were a short walk from the Old Port and a comfortable walk from the heart of downtown.

On this particular weekend, we saw a couple of brides and their maids, dressed for either their ceremony, their reception, or both, in one of the ballrooms at the hotel. As we stood in the lobby, I spied a photographer with a bride and groom, and I couldn't resist.

I didn't ask. I was well back from the shooting zone and wasn't about to move closer. My camera was already in hand, and I didn't hesitate.

Photographers always regret the opportunity they didn't seize upon. Never, the opportunity they availed themselves of.



Later, at dinner, an e-mail announcement chimed on my phone. It was John, with an attachment.


Photo courtesy jjWenzeliMages
Another voyeur.

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