Matt Moyer was recently on assignment for Nat Geo Travel, tasked with capturing the essence of Florida.
I have a secret. I have a thing for selfie sticks. Not that I would ever own one or be caught using one (no judgment—it’s just not for me), but I think the popularity of the selfie stick highlights a mind-set that is unique to our time. I mean, seriously, it is now a standard setting for cameras—or at least camera phones—to point toward the photographer rather than toward the world around them.
And if I am being honest, I think I love the voyeurism involved in photographing people who are using selfie sticks. It’s like watching someone preening themselves in front of a mirror. We, as viewers, are privy to a private interaction—a conversation—taking place between a person and themselves. Their thoughts are broadcast in pantomime. “I like this side of my face better than that.” “This is my sexy look.” “My lips are too thin, so I am going to purse them.” “Pouty face, hair toss—nailed it!”
As a professional people-watcher, my job is to study body language and figure out what it will communicate to the viewer. Head held in hands means sorrow. Head tilted back, smiling, means happy. These things communicate what the person is feeling, but it is a rare thing to be able to witness or even capture what a person is thinking.
And so I have a thing for selfie sticks. Shhhh … It’s a secret.
Photo Tips: We humans are hardwired to interpret body language and facial expressions. In fact, we are experts at it. This is a very good thing for photographers who specialize in people. Tune into that ancient part of yourself that predates verbal communication and use it to spot the subtle and not so subtle signals embedded within your subject’s body language. You will be surprised what they are “saying” in plain sight.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF24-105mm, f/4L IS USM lens.