They materialize out of walls, step from behind bushes, and appear beside me when I’m running. They shadow me from tree to tree at the edge of campus with expensive telephoto lenses and cameras that make noise when they take pictures, they shoot from behind, distinguishing themselves from the face-happy Facebook amateurs.
I noticed six of them on my run this afternoon. One was firing from the hip as I ran past him, maybe to disguise the fact that he was taking pictures of me without explicit authorization. But the huge National Geographic style camera gave his ploy away. I spotted another trigger happy sniper shooting from behind a pine tree as I passed. Do I have such a striking figure that people can’t resist imprisoning me in a photo? I think not, but it could well be the blue sky and white peaks backdrop. Any subject looks spectacular in this setting.
While running I thought of the guy I met in the library last week: “Mind if I take a few pictures?”
“That’s OK, but wha…”
“Oh, we’re on an hour long photo shoot,” -like it’s the most natural thing in the world to be doing.
With that a tripod and massive camera emerged and began to move all around me, clicking and whirring and zooming.
“Just relax and study like normal.”
Like normal? With a huge camera covering me from all angles? Study like normal during a low angle shot of my stocking feet propped up comfortably on the table? I wonder if the bottoms of my socks are pure white like they should be…and what about that huge zoom lens and tripod? Can I trust this guy to use such powers conscientiously? My hair isn’t combed and –Mister, just don’t take too many zoom shots of my body, please. I flip apprehensively through my textbook, my mind thinking of everything but the communication paper I’m supposed to be working on.
So, while waiting at a crosswalk this afternoon I turned and looked around and—there was another guy down on one knee behind me, framing me in the peaks with a thousand-dollar camera. I asked him point blank, “What do all you guys want?”
“Oh, we’re on an hour long photo shoot.”
“But you’re the third person who’s shot me in the last few minutes…”
“Actually, our assignment is to practice approaching people, start a conversation, and get their names and permission to take a photo.”
Aha! So that’s what they’re after. I don’t mind that. What’s creepy are the guys in bushes with cameras that have foot-long zoom lenses, whirring and clicking as I run by. I don’t mind when people make conversation and tell me why they are taking my picture. Good luck in PHO class, guys!