Photography is subjective.
One of the great “knocked down to size” experiences for a photographer is to show work he or she is proud of to someone who isn’t “into” photography and to have it flatly rejected. I asked a roommate to compare crops of this image, and she had no opinion between the two. Did she love them both madly? No. She didn’t find either remotely interesting. In a way, it’s like having something very personal taken from you. Maybe it’s like watching your child get picked on (I wouldn’t know, but that tired simile is just trite enough for my liking).
When I told her I thought this particular crop (or one very much like it) was funny, she made a face. Not a “you’re right, it is funny” face, either. An “I don’t get it, you’re a narcissist and no one else thinks your baby is cute” face.
This photo also raises an ethical issue I try carefully not to consider: This is a child. It isn’t my first candid street shot of a minor, and it certainly won’t be my last, but these always make me nervous. I know my legal rights, and this is well within them. Not only that, I can resell prints of this image to anyone I please for any price I please (as long as it isn’t destined for commercial use) without so much as a feeble attempt to locate this girl. However, I am terrified that some crazy helicopter parent is going to bash me over the head with an “I have to capture every precious moment of my child’s entire life to sit collecting dust on a shelf underneath my television” video camera one of these days (which, to be fair, would hurt a lot less than my K1000). I hope that doesn’t happen. However, I am also tired of every parent that sees my camera clutching their toddlers to their chests and glowering. There is this terrible assumption that photographs of children are used for some vaguely evil purpose centered around the great evil, the Internet. I’m not sure what evil thing I’m supposed to be doing, but rest assured, I am not doing it. I need a t-shirt that says that. In neon yellow. Any maybe a helmet.
Kodak Tri-X 400, Clayton F76+ 1+9.