October 10, 2006

Tagging along on Jonathan’s photographic tour of the Beijing hutongs with the professional photographer Mr. Stone made me realize that there are core characteristics that all photographers share.

Mr. Stone was quick, and energetic. He was charming and could sweet talk strangers into smiles and into welcoming photos. He had a complete disregard for rules, blithely pushing aside doors marked “Private, No entry” and strolling into people’s courtyards. He had no hesitation about manipulating his environment for his photo – move some bikes out of the way, position me to block some uneven light, open some doors, hold up wires in the way. Being a funny guy, he even mimed trying to push a van out of the way of his picture!

It was fascinating to watch him work, creating shadows using a towel, or using light (attached to a briefcase sized battery pack) to create the effect he wanted. He carried a towel with him so he could squat, sit, lay on his belly or on his back, all to get the right shot. Need a ladder to get closer up to a roof tile? Just use the ones that are there!

I have seen all these characteristics in Jonathan, but had no name to put to them. Now I have one – Photographer. My reaction was much like when I met other Entrepreneurs in YEO – oh my god, there are more of them?!

About 3 hours into our tour, Mr. Stone glances at me, and says “My wife doesn’t like going on photo trips with me either.” :)
But I can’t complain too much – the upside is that I will have wonderful photos to remember our travels.

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