Tag Archives: photographer

The Photogophobic Photographer


He was uncomfortable in front of the camera, which was probably a major factor behind becoming a photographer in the first place. His shyness always clamped his mouth shut whenever someone told him to “say cheese.” For that reason, he hadn’t been captured on film in years. Besides that time he was fiddling with a camera that had a stuck shutter and he accidentally took one of himself, which he burned immediately upon developing the rest of the roll in his small water closet-turned-darkroom.

And now he was dating a fellow photographer. For the first time.

He always found himself with artists or models. Confident women who not only wanted to pose for him, demanded it. And, of course, as per his demeanor, he always complied. Whether he wanted to or not.

His timidity led to a cabinet full of photographs of all kinds of women. Most he’d never seen again, but some he’d come to recognize on the big screen in theaters, in advertisements and posters, even in the press. He sometimes wondered if they remembered him taking the photographs, many of which were nudes. Although taking off her clothing was never his idea. The more confidence a woman had, the sooner she would ask him to take nudes. And his work, well, it spoke for itself. Numerous shows in some of the biggest galleries in London, full page photographs in famous magazines, he had become rather well known for his work.

But now, this girl, all she wanted was a photograph of him. He didn’t know how to avoid it much longer. She adored him from the start; he could see it in her eyes after five minutes of conversation in which he’d probably said a total of fifteen words.

The two of them were loading film before heading out into Paris, ready to photograph La Ville-Lumière, the city of lights, on their first visit to the beautiful and historical city. They were dressed to kill, her in a beautiful black dress and the beret she bought along the Seine that morning, him in a button-down shirt and his favorite brown tie with little green and orange designs. He sat on the uncomfortable hotel room couch with ugly floral print and pulled back the heavy curtain to let in more light.

Something was wrong with his Pentax and the shutter was sticking (again) so he fiddled with it as she loaded film into her Anscoflex II. She giggled and curiosity got the better of him as he looked up and heard the click.

She smiled. “I knew I’d get you eventually. Quite a candid I just captured.” She flashed him her winning smile.

He didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t angry. And after a while, he had to admit he was anxious to see how it turned out.

Footprints in the Snow

“I’m coming to Canada on a school trip. I’ll be staying right near you. I checked.”

“What?” she asked, a surprised look on her face that he could see via Skype all the way from Philadelphia.

“My professor is organizing a trip for next month for our geology club. He has some crazy notion that there’s a group of kimberlites that might have formed diamonds in them so he wants to abuse our club to become rich.”

She shifted in her seat and he could see she was uncomfortable. Either that or nervous, he couldn’t tell.

“Aren’t you excited? We’ve been online friends for two years now. Here’s our chance to finally meet.”

She thought back to that conversation as she sat in one of her favorite spots a month later. She’d come across the old cabin doing a nature shoot for her Digital Photography course and noticed the dilapidated hunting cabin that was falling apart from disuse. It was cold out and the recent snow made it stand out in the woods; she doubted anyone had set foot in the building in decades. From inside she could see enough of the snow through the giant cracks that had formed between the logs, and while a draft did float through the building the aged walls still kept some of the cold out.

Today was much like that first day she found the building. A fresh snow accompanied a cold day, and she was so nervous about meeting him that she didn’t even think to bring a coat. In her hands she held the best gift she’d ever received from a boy. Last Christmas he bought her the small porcelain carousel, inspired by a trip she’d taken over the previous summer photographing vintage carousels across the country. They reminded her of her father before he passed, and somehow the photographs all seemed to capture that, which she always thought helped her win the contest that helped her attain her first gallery show in the city.

She was to meet him in one hour in a café near campus, and even though they had Skyped for hours every week, he still insisted she bring the small toy so he would recognize her. She had romantic notions which were leading her to such nerves that she needed to collect herself in the cabin, the place she often found herself in moments of doubt, nervousness or deep thought. This one was all three.

She walked to the window, the most comfortable place to sit, and brushed the ledge off with her hands so she wouldn’t get her favorite flower print leggings dirty, just in case. She had no idea where their meeting, or date, was it a date? would lead. She’d fallen for him over the past two years of constant texts, calls, IMs, and Skype dates but never had the desire or nerve to tell him. Why bother? He’d never been a real person she could touch before. All the boys she shunned, all the dates she subconsciously sabotaged were because of him. She hadn’t even kissed anyone in over a year, which was right around the time she realized her feelings. Even though she knew she would never meet him.

But now he was coming.

She turned the little carousel over in her hands, listening to the subtle jingle of the parts inside that would play music if she wound it. They sounded so far away, but she knew she could just twist the knob and they would echo through the cabin at a high decibel.

She looked at her watch. Forty-five minutes until he would be sitting in her favorite coffee shop, the one she’d talked about often and even Skyped with him in so he could see it. She wanted to show him everything she loved, and there was only one place he hadn’t heard of, and this was it.

Maybe she would bring him, show him the hideaway she visited for the big decisions. But then he might notice the fresh footprints and put the clues together, somehow realizing that she loved him. He might say “Were you here today?” and she couldn’t lie to him. She would have to admit it. And he would look into her eyes and ask “What was the big decision you had to make?” and she would blush and smile and he would take her in his arms and she would feel him for the first time after years of wishing and hoping and their lips would meet for the first time in her favorite spot and she would share it with him and maybe, just maybe, he would fall in love with her in that moment.

She would bring him here. They would get tea in little to go containers, and she would show him to her favorite place and hope he noticed her footprints in the snow.

Photographs by Danielle Suzanne Photography. Check out her website or her Flickr.