There are about three different reactions you get from people when you show up to an event and become focused on finding your subject through your lens and start taking pictures — particularly if people don’t know who you are.
They are: turning away and avoidance of being in view of the camera, apprehension and suspicion ranging from mild to confrontational, and apologetic for thinking they got into your shot.
And the majority of the public may very well not recognize me or know what I’m doing taking photos at events.
The point of the matter is, it’s been a while since we could gather together and I feel like even though I’ve been the editor of the Ponoka News for nearly two-and-a-half years now, that I’d like to re-introduce myself to the community.
For the first year, I was just starting to get to know people in the community and there are still people I have yet to meet in person, and since COVID-19 restrictions began 18 months ago, I haven’t had a lot of face time with people.
So, while we’re still able to meet in large groups, particularly outdoors, I’d like to say “Hello from the outside” to borrow a line from Adele.
So hi. I’m your friendly neighbourhood newspaper editor. I like to take photos that show the vibrancy of the community and what’s happening in our town and tell the stories that matter to readers.
Now that things are picking up and more events are happening, you’ll likely see more of me.
Generally, at a public event I will quietly go about taking photos unobtrusively as going unnoticed tends to be the best way to get candid photos. It’s also not required under privacy laws to obtain permission to take photos in a public place. However, I do try to be sensitive when it comes to children and if there is a close-up shot I’d like to use, I will try to locate a parent and ask if it’s alright. That way, I can also get the child’s name and age for the photo caption, as identifying people, when possible, is always preferred.
Although I’m very comfortable writing and taking photos, I’m less so with initiating contact in person, and I’m likely rusty coming out of the “other side” of restrictions. So please forgive me if I’m a bit awkward or look like I’m hiding behind my lens.
While things are getting busier and we’ve been able to hold in-person events for the first time in what feels like forever, I have enjoyed being out among people and observing some of the things going on in our town.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in Yoga in the Park, watching the excitement of children industriously digging for pennies at the Penny Carnival, seeing the improvements of the newly completed Old Hospital Rotary Park, taking photos at the Ponoka Youth Centre’s 20th anniversary celebration, and watching events at the Ponoka Stampede Grounds during the Wild West Chuckwagon Championship.
Seeing the energy and dedication that community members put into hosting an event, and the enjoyment it brings people, uplifts me and makes me proud to call Ponoka home.