Photography has always been a learning process. From the moment I found this art form I loved having a vision and fulfilling it with a click and some minor adjustments. For those of you who don't know, I started off only doing nature photography, which honestly consisted of anything that wasn't people. It wasn't because I didn't like portraiture but primarily due to the anxiety I had, and still do to a lesser degree, when taking photos of people. I'm confident in my technical skills but the social interaction was something I've had to learn to be comfortable with. I'm sure some of you might be thinking that this explains some of my inept social interactions or a very small minority of you might not know what I'm talking about. Regardless, I'm far more comfortable with the unnatural interactions photography brings about but it has proven to be an immense challenge for someone as introverted as myself. It almost seems ironic that I'm drawn towards photography when everything within me want to be alone with my thoughts and vision. Unfortunately, the reality is that in order to be profitable in this industry networking and social interaction is needed in order to craft a successful media career.
I want to expand on the underlying premise of desiring solitude but knowing social relationships need to occur in order for us to be healthy. So many times growing up I literally prayed to be more extroverted due to the anxiety I felt from just having a conversation with people was literally painful. At the time, I hadn't labelled this undesirable phenomenon as introversion and most people observed it with the negative connotations of rude or stand off-ish. There are still times where I understand that I'm being perceived this way but feel much less anxiety or obligation to act in these scenarios. Having grown up playing lots of team sports and regularly attending, the most dreaded day of the week with the most surface level social interactions imaginable for a young person, church, you would think I'd slowly grow out of the shy 'kid' stage. However, I never really out grew it, rather, learned to live with it and take each conversation as a learning experience where I can improve. The most useful insight I've learned is that people, including myself at times, love hearing their own voice talk about what it happening in their life. We are all guilty of it and I don't think it's always a bad thing so, for you introverts out there, aiming to continually redirect or uncover what people passionate about is a wonderful way to converse. By unveiling what people care about and want to share with others is immensely gratifying. It feels like I've solved a puzzle whenever people light up about a subject that we managed to meander towards in the dialog. Sometimes this might result in a one sided conversation with the person going way deeper into a topic than expected but remember there is a value in conversation and you don't always need to be the benefactor.
With all this said, here are a few of my first wildlife images with my 100-400mm lens where I was able to be alone and find a moment of solitude. Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear from those of you who can relate and how you manage social anxiety or being an introvert in an extrovert culture.