The Power of Photography To Connect

“Are you a photographer,” she shyly asked. “I am,” I said.

“Do you shoot with a DSLR or your iPhone,” she asked again. “My iPhone,” I proudly said back.

I could tell, immediately, like me, she had an enchantment with mobile photography.

I could see it in her eyes and feel it in the weight of her words.

She confessed, that, being right behind me in line, she was watching me edit my photos on my iPhone, which is what gave her the courage to strike up a conversation. Plus she said, I “looked cool”. Fair enough.

We were 3-4 people deep, in line, it was early am, at Flat Track Coffee, a hipster java shack, right next to my Austin, Eastside loft.

It took us a couple of minutes to eventually place our order. So, as serendipity would have it, we used the time, to talk about iPhones, Steve Jobs, Apple, apps, editing, etc,

I knew it. This chica was a die-hard mobile.

She was tiny, barely 5-foot, long blackish hair, curly, visible tattoos, a few facial piercings, artistically dressed, super cute.

Undoubtedly, she was cool too. And very interested in having a cool, photography conversation with someone of my experience.

Both my daughters tell me, that I don’t have a very good radar for accurately judging whether someone’s interest is personal or professional. They are, unfortunately, both right. I don’t.

This is probably because I try not to read too much into people’s intentions and motivations and accept each encounter, without guile, for what it is.

So, while there was a modest and obvious amount of chemical attraction we shortly shared, I felt the conversation clearly maneuvering toward expert topics and themes. All good. Let’s talk. Let’s grab that table.

We both got our coffees and sat down and chatted for a good hour+. It was lovely. Truly.

Actually, she chatted. I mostly smiled, nodded, and affirmed:)

If there is a benefit to living in a trendy and fashionable part of Austin, it’s that I regularly meet really interesting people, and, more importantly, lots of artist-types.

It didn’t take long, into the conversation, for me to realize, this woman, a good 15-20 years younger than myself, had little in common with me, and my life experience, EXCEPT photography. It didn’t matter one bit.

We found plenty of talking points to keep up engaged and occupied. We had our own connective language.

After several cups of coffee, we traded digits and Instagram handles and went on our merry way.

It was a stimulating way to begin a day. I’m sure she felt the same.

As I was walking home, all I could think about, was photography’s authentic and ever-present power to connect.

It’s incredible actually.

Take 1 or 1000 people, with nothing in common whatsoever, except photography, put them in the same room, and viola, magic, connection, chemistry is born. Commonality begets companionship.

Photography is a powerful and influencing language all on its own.

It is the Lingua Franca of the known world.

Photography connects us at a level and degree that many, outside of photography, have no clue about.

Romantically, I tend to prefer relationships with partners, who have more of a casual, than professional, association with and appreciation for photography. Probably, so I can take a break from my own, imbalanced photographic obsessions and compulsions.

But, be that as it may, I am forever ready to talk photography, to anyone, at any level, anytime day or night.

Since photography is a language, all on its own, you have to learn the language to get into the club.

Once you’re in, oh my, there is a never-ending connection and attachment, to enjoy and celebrate.



Jack Hollingsworth