Yesterday, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, was supposedly one of the busiest travel days of the year. I’d be willing to bet a few of us were amongst the many travelers that were going home by either plane, train, or camel after a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. So, naturally, the organization I’m interning for decided to publish a feature of this bustling day. I was assigned to go out to PDX airport to photograph this busyness and capture intimate greetings and farewells between friends and family. Sounds sweet, right? Well I definitely witnessed some sweet moments but I also have never felt like more of a creepy lurker in my whole life.
Standing 10 feet from a couple passionately embracing and crying as they say goodbye to each other for who know’s how long is probably one of the creepiest things a person can do. I did this for over two hours, lingering in the shadows of the security lines, waiting for tears to be shed (solid gold) or a group hug to take place (a close second). Now this may be hard to believe, but let me tell you, people DO NOT like having their picture taken while they are having an intimate moment with someone they love and have to say goodbye to. They don’t even like a camera being nearby, fearing that it may land on them and capture the mascara jogging down their faces at hasty speeds.
I think this may have been my most awkward assignment yet because I felt very intrusive on private moments. People were giving me the death glare, turning their backs to me, and pulling their children closer as if to say, “Don’t you dare point that lens at me.” So did I learn something from being the world’s biggest creeper? Maybe. I learned that you have to do what you have to do to get things done, especially when you’re on a tight deadline. People may hate you just a little bit, but that’s a sacrifice that has to be made. I’m one of those people that hates to be hated, even if it’s just in my head. So when I see a couple (whose make-out session I have interrupted with the world’s loudest “CLICK CLICK CLICK”) stare me down and promptly strut to the other side of the security line, I want to shout, “It’s my job, I’m so sorry!” But I don’t because I also learned that if you ask people who are in the middle of saying goodbye to loved ones if you can photograph said goodbye, they tend to say a big fat “NO.” Shocker.
So I survived the assignment and the day and had two photos printed with the accompanying article, and five posted online. Awkward success? Perhaps. Over my fear of being a creepy lurker? Not quite.