Friday, March 3, 2017

Photography Stories

So the past 2 weeks I have been studying body language and non-verbal communication. I have been actively working on improving eye contact with strangers, colleagues, friends, and my s/o.

Before we get into the shit photography, let me explain the differences on the experiences and you can understand how difficult it can be for someone who grew up extremely introverted. You'd never know I was now. I'm completely different and open to people. I actively look into people's eyes. More on this.

Eye Contact

The eyes are truly the windows to your soul. Growing up introverted, I found it extremely difficult to start or even maintain eye contact with anyone, even people I knew really well. I had a bad habit of looking over their shoulder or head. I was mocked. My self confidence was extremely low and I didn't know the significance of maintaining eye contact with people.

You should know I'm not coming off as a cocky know-it-all asshole. Far from it. I've made lots of mistakes. I think there's been a few misunderstandings. But let's get into it!

Significant Other

Eye contact with your significant other is extremely important. Women have a far, far better wide angle of view than men. They are extremely adept at picking up non-verbal signals and also giving them out. Its very hard to lie to someone when you're looking at their eyes. All is revealed. Feelings are amplified and communication is very direct. If you don't maintain eye contact with your s/o, please consider searching for ways on improving your eye contact. It will dramatically improve your relationship.

Colleagues

Ok, so here is where it gets really, really tricky. It's been proven that newly met women and men who spend 2-3 minutes of continuous eye contact have a far, FAR greater chance of "hooking up" than those who didn't. So talking to men isn't a huge deal, I always look to the left or right - NEVER down. This shows a sign of submission. If you want to drive someone over the edge, stare at their middle forehead. It will give the impression you absolutely have a laser beam in your eyes. I once did this to my boss and he asked me "Umm. hey are you OK?". He broke eye contact but I did not. I regret that. To be honest it's kind of fun but dangerous. People can interpret different things dependig on the mood and scene. For example, if you are in an elevator, nobody looks at anyone. We are conditioned internally to create the least amount of space, look away from our fellow elevator riders. The same rings true for subway and bus rides. Remember to engage with a smile.

I've looked in many people's eyes and sometimes you can feel a chemistry and you have to run as far away as possible. Danger Will Robinson, Danger! Eye contact should never be too intense. There always will be give and take. If you want to remember one rule about eye contact: Never break looking down. Go left or right if you have to. Staring too long can give the impression of being "creepy". I had to explain myself to a colleague because I thought I might have been coming off a bit...creepy. I explained that I was trying to improve my non-verbal communication and presence and did not mean any harm or intention.

Strangers

This where it gets very interesting. The next time you are on the street, look into each persons' eyes but DON'T break away. Make a mental note of their eye color. If it's a guy and he stops, just raise your eyebrows and say "Hey!" as an acknowledgement and not a challenge. Most men will actually look away first unless they are really dominant.  I had this happen many, many times. About 20 years ago I had a man hit on me at a restaurant and it was a bit uncomfortable because I was with my then-ex wife. She found it hilarious. But I never had another man falling over for me at that time. Quite...interesting to say the least. But I digress.


She makes the perfect authentic street picture. The eyes have the smile. 


This brings me to women. During this week walking downtown and taking photos, I had two very interesting encounters.

Encounter One

I was walking downtown and came across a very attractive woman who was walking with a man. I looked deep into her eyes and she actually held my gaze long enough to give a smile. It kind of threw me for a shock since I'm an old guy, late 40's and nothing to brag home about. Maybe it was the scruffy Miami Vice stubble and headphones? I doubt it. Signals coming from ladies like that are clean and sharp invitations to talk to her. I don't have a picture because when it happened I was on the go. I'm not interested in cheating on my s/o so I let that go.

Encounter Two

This one was nice - the picture above from earlier today. This lady was begging for change on the sidewalk and I looked directly at her and she smiled right away. I said "Hey, have a great day!" and I smiled back.

Not all random encounters will be like this. Most people avoid eye contact on the street. Believe me when I say this, I am nothing special to look at. I wear a dress shirt, pants, no tie, and open coat because it's so goddamn warm out. One afternoon I decided to ramp up my visual perception and look at as many women as I could on the street as I waited for the pedestrian sign to go on.

I shit you not, 2 women next to me looked twice and three women across the street looked also. These were not single glances, but double takes. I held their gazes. And no, I wasn't looking like a homeless guy.

You would be absolutely amazed at how much communication goes unnoticed by every day actions. As I continue to learn and try to improve my observation without being a creepy asshole, it'll take time to figure out exactly what I want to project.

Keep shooting.

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