Hiding from the camera, a young girl converses with her friend during a St. Louis School public meeting in Lowell, Ma. (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
There’s probably nothing more boring for a photographer than a public town meeting where the only thing happening is not very visual -- people making motions and rendering objections about local government issues. You usually end up with head shots of people speaking or gesturing with their hands. On this occasion, I was lucky that two young girls in attendance were having a great time conversing back and forth while their parents were paying rapt attention to the meeting. The girls didn’t want to make it easy to take their picture, so they covered their faces with their hands. I played a game of cat-and-mouse with them. They saw me point my camera and hid their faces. I put down my camera, and they talked with their faces visible, but when I raised my camera, they hid their faces again. This went on for awhile, but one girl stopped hiding her face as the other, still hiding hers, whispered that I was taking their picture.
1) Children will express their personalities in the most unlikely situations, so be alert for a great photo opportunity.
2) If children make it difficult to take their pictures at first, be patient and persistent.
3) Watch for powerful children’s smiles or facial expressions that you won’t see on adults.