The introverts guide to photography
Most of us can’t claim photographer as our day job. We do other work which pays the bills — but that work often drains us.
Many of us are also on the introvert side of the introvert/extrovert spectrum.
Introversion is usually defined in relation to extroversion.
Extroverts are energized by other people. That is, their life energy has an outward focus.
Introverts find other people draining and are energized by spending time alone, an inward focus. Some of us (and I’m one of those) are a 50/50 split. (True! My Myers Briggs Type Indicator score confirmed it.)
Although extroversion is still lauded as ‘having good social skills’, introversion has moved from being seen as less developed than extroversion to a just-fine way of being.
Introverts aren’t deficient; they’re just different!
So, what does this have to do with photography?
As I said above, many photographer are on the introvert side of the spectrum.
But, photography inevitably includes interacting with people. People are interesting to photograph — and they’re everywhere! Documenting events — whether for fun or for pay — is part of the photography gig.
In my experience, people often assume that photographers are extroverted.
Think about the cartoon image of the photographer bouncing around behind a tripod, waving a bright pink stuffy, saying “Say Cheese.”
But many of us are not. Social situations, and in particular paid photography gigs, can be draining for us. If you’re the paid photographer, reward yourself later with a solitary photowalk — or even just a walk without your camera!
If you find large groups of people sap your energy rather than give you energy, using your camera as an escape may be your saviour.
In what could be energy-draining social situations, offer to be the photographer.
Document the event for rest who are busy socializing. Sure, people see you, but you control the interaction. You can get up from your seat, move around, and no one will think you’re being rude. You can talk to people — or not. This getting-up part helps if you’re both an introverted and an ADD photographer! Afterwards, you will have been there, you will have participated, and as a bonus, you will have a wonderful gift for the organizer — a set of your amazing photos.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a social situations where you just need a little break from the people you’re with.
You like them but hours of together time can be a bit much.
Fortunately, you never go anywhere without your camera.
A photo break can be just the escape you needed to catch your breath and carry on. A number of years ago, I was exploring Fort Edmonton with family of family —people I enjoyed the company of but didn’t know all that well. Photo breaks during that excursion both gave me some introvert time and resulted in some images that I now use on cards. Win-win!
If I’ve just described you — go get your camera and appease your introvert self by quietly making an image. (I did just that when I didn’t know how to wrap up this blog post.)
Or, I suppose, for you total extroverts, call up a bunch of your friends, arrange a meet time, grab your camera and capture some people people people moments.
Photography is for all of us.
The Introvert Advantage (Marti Olsen Laney)
By Ruth Bergen Braun
In my day job, I’m a professional counsellor in Lethbridge, Alberta. (See my professional website: ruthbergenbraun.com) I work with clients who have a variety of life struggles — depression, anxiety, relationship issues, bereavement, trauma, and past and/or current abuse.
I have loved photography since my darkroom days as a teenager — long before we ever imagined the fun of digital photography. I joke that I’m so old that I took my first photography course B.C. — before computers. I have taken and enjoyed Marlene’s courses, both the Ruzuku format and Marlene’s content. I often recommend her website and online courses to people who want to learn more about both the art and technology of digital photography. I also have recommended her courses as “a gift to yourself” and thus, the idea for our course on using photography as self-care was born.
Follow my photography journey on my Facebook page.
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