"Don't forget to say hello!" -Steve McCurry
I had a fantastic afternoon.
I was wandering around chasing an idea I had involving an alley way (trying to find the right alley) and I stopped to photograph some fire escapes I thought made an interesting pattern when a guy named Larry (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) jumped out from behind a dumpster and started chatting me up about the Chicago Theater (which I was photographing the back of) and other interesting history about the city from an era long before my time. I talked to him for a bit longer and then a buddy of his named Kirk showed up. Turns out, Kirk was a huge music fan and a musician himself. I bought them a six pack of Pabst and some Newports, an we hung out for an hour or two.
One thing led to another, and Kirk and I headed for the music rooms at the library and rocked out for a bit (him on piano, me beat boxing and tapping on the chair), but not until after he gave me a thorough history lesson on old school hip hop.
It's amazing to me the opportunities I miss when I'm not willing to slow down and just enjoy people. And not photographic opportunities, but real life on life opportunities. Where in the past I would have said no, today I said "Why not?", and I was totally blessed hanging out with these guys this afternoon. All it took was some beer and cigarettes, and an afternoon of my time. As photographers, we have an awesome opportunity to interact with the people around us, and I think I've realized my photos will be more genuine if the real purpose behind what I'm doing is just enjoying time with the people I photograph. After all, the point of life isn't what we do, it's loving those around us. Photography provides an unique opportunity to do that.