Sontag identifies many truths about photography but none more honest than this: “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have” (Sontag, 14). Before any photograph is ever taken, you learn everything you need to know as a person. Looking through a camera lens can often be the clearest you will see someone. Some people react to a camera as if it is a threat against them, immediately recoiling at the sight of it. They act as if they’re naked, trying to hide themselves from the camera and fearing how exposed they are. Those people want to be ensured about how the picture will turn out before it is even taken and they don’t realize that, like so many things in life, results cannot be guaranteed.
It’s a different situation entirely when someone steps in front of my camera and in an instant I know that they trust me entirely; sometimes it’s not the people you would expect. I have taken some of my greatest pictures of people I hardly knew and it made me realize that perhaps it was not me that had talent for photographing at all. The people that photograph the best are the brave and the trusting.