Before the Shot
I saw several guys warming up for a game of takraw. (Takraw is a version of volleyball played with no hands that looks like a great way to cause permanent back damage or shred a groin muscle.) The players were kicking the ball around and stretching so I moved in close and took a photo. All the guys started laughing – they were probably very surprised to have a foreigner show up in a local park and start taking their photo.
They asked if I’d like to play so I put down my camera and kicked the ball around for a bit, but when they started the game I said, “Mai Dai” – I can’t! Not only had I never played before – and these guys were clearly serious players – but I don’t know if physical therapy is covered by my insurance.
The Decisive Moment
Sports are usually shot at a distance with a long lens, but I was able to get very close and shoot with a wide-angle since I’d already received implied permission to take photos. I think being close with the wide-angle is part of what makes this work. In addition, I love the expression on his face, the dynamic angles of his legs and arms, and the ball right on his foot.
After the shot
This was one of the first photos I took, but I continued to watch the game and I ended up taking about 30 photos. I kept shooting in part because it was so entertaining to watch these guys play. During a break in the action I thanked them and moved on. I will get some prints made and give them to the players next time I’m in the park and maybe I’ll try and play a game with them.
The Takeaway: Making a connection with people on the streets can give you the freedom to get close and take multiple photos.
Do you interact with the people you photograph on the streets?
Is takraw something you are interested in playing?