0175C: The Social Power Of Cameras

It was in high school that I realized the power that a camera holds in social situation. And for an introvert who was still trying to figure just how to deal with other people, this particular discovery was a bit of a godsend.

I had always been attracted to photography on some level. And while I've never see myself as one to get into photography on a professional (read: artistic) level, I've learned to enjoy having a camera on-hand more often than not. I first got to experience this when I got permission to borrow my mom's camera for school field trips.

But back to the whole social situation bit, it was during a high school soiree with some girls from St. Paul that the magic of cameras was truly made apparent to me. During the event, I really didn't have all that interest in competing for the attentions of the girls at social mixer - the reason for this is now readily obvious. But instead of just moping around in a corner, I tried to be "useful" and tried to document the event with the camera that I had again borrowed. And just like that, people would start positioning themselves for photos and going all crazy about trying to catch my attentions. Normally the girls would go first and thus naturally the guys would try to catch up in order to remain involved.

And while people don't exactly come running when I have my camera up these days, folks are generally open to having their photos taken. This may be more common here in the Philippines compared to the US or something, but it's not like I have plans of migrating anywhere else any time soon.

While my use of a camera started as giving myself something to do instead of talking to people at parties it has grown into an activity that I'm genuinely enjoying whenever we go out. Ironically, I don't seem to take as many photos of people as I'd like to, but I've been trying to put a conscious effort to do just that. The photos in themselves sort of force one into more socializing, which is never a bad thing. Admittedly I tend to stick to Tobie during bigger social events and feel perfectly content not talking to anyone else when I'm not careful.

It's weird to note, but I know I'm not alone in the feeling that socializing takes a bit more effort than expected. It's an activity that can be potentially rewarding, but it also involves the need to invest the energy into said activity. And I sincerely think there's a different kind of energy needed to do just this - if we were characters in a game it would probably have it's own energy meter to track its use.

At times I wonder though if this means that at places like O Bar and other parties, that people just know me more for the fact that I typically have a camera with me when we show up at events and such. And while I don't think that this means that they don't think well of me as a person in general - there is just the notion that my habit of taking photos like a madman is one of my more notable traits when it comes to such people.

But I don't see myself giving up being a shutterbug any time soon. Similar to my blogging, having a camera with me often feels like part of my efforts to contribute to the social record of local history. I may not take overly artistic photos (although a few friends have suggested that I may have an eye for framing shots at times) but I do enjoy being a bit of a photo-historian, or something along those lines.

In the meantime, I have almost 5,000 photos from our O Bar run last night. I do believe that I may have been a little heavy-handed with the shutter button given all the alcohol that we had also imbued throughout he evening.