If what you’re doing never makes smile, do something else.
At lunch the other day I left work and went for a walk. I do most days. I think it’s important to get out of the office in the day if you can. Even if you’re completely in love with what you do, take ten minutes and get some air. I walked down a couple of streets, turned back when I saw a man in a sharp suit stop outside the shop just across the road, checking his phone with these big glasses on. I went down side streets and around again. That’s how I walk when I have no direction. I choose my direction in the split second the choice comes up.
So, I’m walking down this street; sun behind me, work behind me, listening to some music, a spring in my step. Ahead of me I see a patch of light between the shadows of two buildings, a man walking alone towards me – a spring in his step too. I speed up a little wanting to make a picture while he’s still in the light – obviously not so much that I was rushing and being weird about it. Just a little quicker than the very relaxed pace I was at.
I get a photo – the one above. It’s not great. I’m still getting used to shooting 28mm after 2+ years of 56. He’s a little too far away. There’s a too much shadow around his eyes. I only narrowly avoided the lamp post coming out of his head. I didn’t find that out until much later of course (no chimping). I’m not bothered about the photo though. What matters is that as we passed I was struck by the most incredible joy. I was just smiling in the street, sun on my back, headphones in, camera in hand. I love photography. I love working hard and making things. I love walking. I love the sunshine, Tokyo, the comfortable work shoes Yuka bought me at Christmas. I love music.
If I’d never picked up a camera I might never smile like that when I’m alone.
If you never smile when you’re out by yourself, take your phone out of your pocket and make some pictures.