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One of the biggest challenges in photojournalism is to get people you’ve never met before to relax around the camera. People are so naturally inclined to either turn toward a camera and smile or shy away from it self-consciously.
So, as I’m shooting assignments, I make a conscious effort to relate to the people I’m photographing. Yesterday’s shoot at the Bayside Community Center was no different. Early in the assignment, I got talking to Jim Turner about the San Diego Chargers. Turner, a 90-year-old Linda Vista resident, had been a fan since the team formed in the late 1950s. We chatted for a while about the recent playoff loss and LaDainian Tomlinson’s imminent departure. I even whipped out my iPhone and showed him some photos I’ve taken of the team.
After talking to Turner for a while, I stepped back and started making images for the story. His comfort in front of the camera, which developed as a result of me relating to him, allowed me to get storytelling images without the subjects of the photo emoting too much camera awareness.
— SAM HODGSON