Meeting someone you respect or admire is tricky because it’s natural to build expectations of who they are and how the encounter will unfold.
I had the opportunity to meet Jeanne Beker on two separate occasions at Toronto Fashion Week. Both times she was polite and professional but left no opening to start a conversation. Needless to say my enthusiasm evaporated and I walked away disappointed. With both encounters fresh in my mind, I lowered my expectations to avoid another potential disappointment.
When I entered the venue Tuesday evening I saw Mr. Scott Schuman seated behind a desk next to an empty chair. This was encouraging. He was taking the time to have a brief chat and pose for photos. When it was my turn, he looked me in the eye and shook my hand. I had months of experiences to share in a matter of seconds. I managed to comment on one of his photos, ask him a question and hand him my business card. He signed my book and in an instant the encounter was over.
I was happy for the opportunity but part of me wanted to stand in line a second time.
- I wanted to tell him:
- Jeanne Beker’s Fashion TV, the documentary “Bill Cunningham NY” and his body of work were the motivating forces behind my blog.
- In some photos I could see exactly how he connected with his subjects to capture the shot. Other times I was curious how he “pulled it off”.
- I too lived in the Midwest and NY State.
- I love how his subjects span age, race and gender. However, I haven’t seen many plus size subjects.
- I wanted to ask him:
- How do you manage to find perfect lighting in every shot without the aid of a flash or reflector?
- Before you were famous, were you able to form friendships with your subjects? Or was it difficult because the encounter was random?
- How heavily or sparingly do you use Photoshop?
- What millimeter lens do you prefer? Wide Angle (to be close up) or telephoto (to be distant & removed)?
- When you take a person’s photo, they expect it will be posted on your site. Have you changed your mind? Did you feel bad? How did you tell them you wouldn’t post their photo?
Upon reflection, I was happy with the encounter. I resisted the temptation to try again and opted for capturing images of fashionistas at the venue. I lingered for couple hours snapping photos and chatting with people. It was a very nice evening.