My Camera: bringing down the walls

Author: Rick Jacobi

This blog is not about the quality of your photos, composition of your image or the brand of a camera.  It’s about what a camera can do for you in the presence of a stranger.  So many times when I’m shooting so called “Street Photography”, I have found that my camera has brought down walls that separate me from that person. Once  you engage  a person by asking if it’s “okay” to take their photo and receive approval, you now have entered into their world and space. You have established a connection, a level of trust between the two of you. It may only last seconds or linger for a few minutes but it is a special time for both of you.  The person holding the camera has now been invited into that stranger’s “house”. I have this aspect of street photography to be exciting and very rewarding. It is a privilege and an invitation that would not happen without my camera. I try to take advantage of that invitation by taking the best photos I can. It doesn’t always come out the way I would like but sometimes it is not about the photo but sharing that moment for that short time.


Recently, I was in a “take out” pizza place in Connecticut waiting to pick up my pizza. I asked the person making the pizza if I could take his picture. He said sure (very few times have I had someone say no).  After a couple of photos, he asked if I wanted to see how he cooked the pizza and invited me to come behind the counter.  In just an instance, I was learning how the coal oven worked and how he could tell if the pizza was done. Without my camera I would never had the opportunity to be invited into his “house”.   Right away the wall between the two of us came down and we shared that moment. The photos did not turn out the way I had hoped but again it is not always about the photos but the bonding a camera can bring between two people for a second or two.L1007037

Rick Jacobi is a Trip Leader and the Board President for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.