The Invisibility Helmet

Taking pictures is an important and enjoyable part of our hiking trips. My husband is the one who really is into photography, not me. He tends to focus on wildlife, architecture and landscape. He has his favourites: buildings have to be strictly medieval, and landscape strictly deserted. If people inadvertently get into the scene, he patiently waits for them to be out of the way.

I, on my part, don’t mind including them, because their presence makes my photo unique. This is especially true when the object of interest is a well-known site or landmark. I obviusly delete the pictures spoiled by the passage of random tourists or passerbies, but sometimes a human figure just fits well in the composition. It could be the backlit shape of a couple romantically walking through an alley, or a tiny distant hiker in an alpine setting that emphasizes the size of a mountain further in the background. A friend of mine used to say: there’s no point in taking pictures without people. I agree: they are nothing but postcards.


A minuscule human figure in a painting by an artist of the Hudson River School makes nature look immense by contrast.

Like Stefano, I also like to have nature as a subject, but I “specialize” in details: I love taking macros of vegetables and insects. Most of the time, we end up shooting the same things. Of course the pictures are taken from a slightly different point of view – deliberately – but I often fail to achieve a high degree of personalization. The result is that my photos look like a lower quality version of his. It doesn’t have much value if not as a backup copy.

If I had the time, drive and equipment to seriously pursue this hobby, I would rather make an attempt at street photography. I’d like to portray people while they work or in the act of doing something, not posing. The hard part is, you have to be good at approaching people and establish a contact with them. Not only because of privacy issues and the need to ask permission, which doesn’t require brilliant social skills. You have to be a good communicator also because once they’re aware you’re photographing them, they won’t look natural if you can’t make them feel at ease. I wish I had an invisibility helmet, so I could skip the interacting part and people wouldn’t be posing stiffly in front of the camera.


11 responses to “The Invisibility Helmet

  1. Pingback: Daily prompt: Pick your gadget | The Wandering Poet·

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    • Thanks. To be honest, I didn’t have to think too long about making up a story. It was a lucky coincidence that I was thinking about how to take pics unnoticed the day the prompt came out!

  4. Pingback: I Have Got It! | Mayur Wadhwani's Blog·

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