One of my most difficult social settings is a party where I don't know anyone.
Small talk really isn't my thing. Part of it is, I don't enjoy waxing on about my own accomplishments. I don't like to be drunk in public. And I don't care how much money someone makes. So there goes 75 percent of the conversation right out the window.
These are the times that I love being a photographer.
Instead of standing there like a statue with a drink in my hand, I can circulate through the crowd looking for interesting images. I have something to do. I can be myself.
Photography is my cure for shyness. I'm not an introvert. I actually like interacting with people. But I need something interesting to talk about. And taking pictures often opens that door.
The only thing better than a camera is a puppy. Bring one to a park and you don't have to do anything. Just stand there with a dog and people race toward you with a smile on their face. Too bad they don't rent puppies for social events.
So instead, I bring my mirrorless. The moment I feel trapped in a meaningless exchange, I say: "Excuse me, there's a photo over there I want to capture. Nice chatting with you."
OK, I admit it, I'm not perfectly honest at cocktail hour. But my intentions are good. And if I take your picture, that might start a conversation that we both enjoy.
And I would like that very much.