Consider these shots of Skylar and her best friend, taken at the conclusion to today's field trip to the Desert Museum. At first, they were both very conscious of the camera:It's harder to tell with Skylar, because she's so used to having me snapping away in close proximity to her person. Trust me, though, when I say that her looking away from the camera is as much a performance for the photographer as her friend's staring into the lens. It's a wonderful photo. One I will treasure for the joy it conveys. But the truth in it is stretched a little thin. Their smiles aren't lies, but my presence was too much of a factor in their shaping.
I continued shooting as I sat across from them, intermittently putting down the camera to talk to them or the lonely girl at my side. Eventually, they seemed to forget what I was doing, a turnabout abetted by the fact that I wasn't looking through the viewfinder and barely even glanced at the camera's screen:I don't want to argue that the photos I got at this juncture are better than the overtly posed one from earlier in the shoot, but they do feel deeper somehow. When I look at them I see a deeper truth. There may even be too much insight in this second picture, but I'll gladly take that risk.