I stand on a bench in the central market of the little town of Ganges on the island of Saltspring on the west coast of Canada. It is a Thanksgiving weekend and the market vendors are little islands in a swirl of late season tourists and locals. I am demonstrating a style of photography I have called 'freestyling' to a group of visiting photographers from Duncan on Vancouver Island. Many of them are loaded down with long lens` and camera bags which does not bode well for much success in converting many of them to a way of photography that benefits from a wide angle lens and a light camera. I explain, I demonstrate and then release them do what they will do.
While I wait for any late arrivals a young woman walks down the boardwalk. Wow! I think she has done a fantastic job of bodypainting her legs and approach her to beg to take a photograph. No, she says this is a piece of tight fitting clothing and now indeed I see the occasional wrinkle around her knees. But yes I can take a picture and I will use the technique I have just finished teaching. I set my kit lens to its widest angle, give myself a good depth of field, and instead of peering through the viewfinder I reach down and place the side of the camera on the boardwalk. I tilt it upward towards my close subject, press the shutter release halfway so it focus automatically, smile up to my subject and take the photograph. So simple, so relaxed so non intrusive.
Later I stroll around among my fellow islanders to catch the flavour of a market I so seldom attend myself.“I am taking your photo,” I smile and make a connection with many Saltspringers in that hour, it is the unexpected bonus of 'freestyling' my photographs today.