The lingering joy of snapping candid photographs

I love the stone statue and the discipline of the guard. Brussels, Belgium — author picture

When I travel, I love taking sneaky photographs. I don’t do it to catch people doing anything wrong. That would be done by accident since I’m always looking for the funny or the endearing, the sweet and unexpected bit of niceness. Nor do I want to click as someone misses a step and falls even if they execute the trick with non-RoseMary acrobatic grace. My goal is always to nab that special shot of a person, of people, especially the elderly, sharing a tender moment in a setting that ties place to person.

My sister Jackie taught me the fun of I-Spy snaps when we were in the Cinque Terre National Park, Italy. She takes exceptional photographs of people and nature and I work to emulate her talent.

Here’s one I like:

Elderly man in Manarola, Italy — photo by Jaculyn LoPresti

My snapping of candid pictures have been a game ever since. She’s the first person I show when I think I’ve taken a good one.

Like this one of sister & hubby in St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales — caught them good, eh?

Then there are the moments you catch a group of friends chatting and, language barrier aside, I want to listen, to hear the stories they’re sharing.

Lovely ladies in Rapallo, Italy — author pic

This gentleman appears serene, watching the Rapallo harbor. His posture seemed relaxed. But was he? What was he thinking as he sat there, staring at the boats — from small ones to elaborate yachts? Was he in the present or thinking of a trip he’d once taken by sea from Italy to Greece?

another Rapallo image — I was on a roll that trip!

These pictures, and the physical file of pre-digital snaps stashed in my desk drawer, are fodder for stories. Writer’s block? I don’t understand the term. Can’t you make a story about any one of these images? People are the most interesting — observing each other could fill a writer’s travel journal in no time (did you like how I snuck that little plug in there? I’m so smooth, right?)

If I’m lucky, I catch elderly couples showing sweet affection that melts my heart.

Ageless love in Volterra, Italy — author photo

It’s important for me to see beyond the obvious. I may be busy admiring the architecture of a massive old building, but I remind myself to see the cornices, carvings, the doors themselves. There is artwork to be found everywhere. Details entice and draw me in, trying oh-so-hard to teach me something.

Me in Siena — who looked at me & thought, “What’s she seeing?”

People can blend into a color-full crowd of bright clothing, but blurred faces or they can be seen for their individuality. We are each unique — our expressions noticed, the thoughts we ponder, the living of life full of back story.

What story do people make up about you when they catch you, unexpectedly, in a photo?

Jackie captured my husband and I seaside in Wales. It’s a photo I treasure that reminds me of new adventures in a country I fell in love with.

Husband & Me — Pembrokeshire, Wales — my happiest place. Jaculyn LoPresti photo Author of The Writer’s Travel Journal — for your adventures. Essayist of humor, grief, & family — they go together.

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