I can be quite reserved, and I don’t think I took pictures of anyone I didn’t already have a relationship with for the entirety of my Photograhy 101 semester. Instead, I learned to balance the shutter speed and aperture of my Pentax K1000 while producing self-portraits and images centered around architecture, shadows, lines, objects or close friends.
Given that my initial impetus for wanting to learn photography was to communicate the polarity of the struggles and beauty of marginalized communities in Latin America, I eventually learned to approach strangers. But despite years of positive experiences and photographic outcomes gained by overcoming my social reticence, it remains a challenge for me to invite the participation of those I don’t know, and there are days when I revert to what comes most naturally and avoid people altogether. I don’t think those days have been wasted.