Hiding behind your gear, audio walks, building confidence and other advice from Bryan Cox

Sometimes I get some really beautiful emails from readers.

Just before I fell off the audio bandwagon, I received one of these inbox treats from Bryan Cox.

He shared with me what he’s working on, his struggles + he sent me lots of virtual encouragement.

In turn, I shared with him some of my hurdles including:

  • Asking people to do interviews – this is an ongoing struggle for me. I find it difficult to actually ask strangers for interviews! I’m shy too (my face is constantly in a blushing state lol) which doesn’t help! And I have a general lack of interview confidence

Bryan is a photographer cum independent media producer and he sent me some great tips. I’ve asked him if I could share them with you because they are so damn helpful.

Over to Bryan...

Use your recorder as an excuse to approach people – hide behind your recorder

Bryan Cox Quote 1

I'm with you on actually recording interviews.... it can seem like it is a big hurdle if I think of it as "A BIG THING". So, I'm trying to get started the same way as I did with photography and that is by adopting the rule of "Take it with you everywhere you go."

This isn't actually always possible.... and sometimes our circle of friends and family are not open to us sitting there with cans on our head sticking a mic in their face while we nod and smile and say "describe that for the listener" or "tell me more about the way that felt" - that is actually a good way to get *not invited* to things.

The closest thing I can relate it to is street photography and the BIG HUGE THING was working up the gumption to walk right up to some stranger and ask them if you can take/publish their picture. If I was good at being social, I wouldn't have hidden behind this camera!

On the other hand, having the camera gave me an excuse to walk up and talk to them, and working on some sort of a story/project/whatever gave me an excuse to ask a bunch of nosy questions. In reality, walking around with a camera made me feel self-conscious. The more I got used to that, the more comfortable I felt. When I felt comfortable with the camera, I realized that it was my ticket to getting to know people and it is those types of conversations and experiences that I now want to capture on audio. A picture may say a thousand words, but half of them are lies....and the other half are questions.

Go for an audio walk

What I'm trying to do is audio walks. Photographers often do photo walks.... just before dawn, when things are quiet and just before the first "golden hour", you go somewhere and just walk around.... take pictures. You go back to the same place over and over. Try to see the light. Will the sun be better at a different time of year? When the leaves are turning? Should you come back when there's some fog? Maybe in the evening when the sun is coming in from the other side? 

You get the idea.... I'm trying to get in the habit of doing the same thing with my audio equipment. Maybe I don't get anything that I actually publish or put in my portfolio.... it is just as much about the process of getting out there, rain or shine, warm or cold.... "thinking" in sound..... and becoming comfortable enough with my tools that they get out of the way.

Bryan Cox Quote 2

I also try to appreciate that... in the digital age....this is MUCH less work than when I had to use film .......and audio was magnetic tape. - Once I've got the gear, it doesn't cost anything to capture as many bad images or as much bad audio as I want.... and just delete them.... and my shame is private. :)

....and that is exciting to me... because it isn't about the medium or the tools..... it is about the moment and the stories about the places and people that won't be around forever...... it is my challenge to get comfortable enough with both my tools.... and myself.... so that they both get out of the way.... and I get to tell these cool stories..... and through the wonder of the digital age.... I can share those all the way across the planet..... 

How is all of that not pretty damned awesome and worth being happy about? So I shouldn't be scared or afraid. - but.... it is a thing that I think *everyone* in our position goes through.

Good stuff huh? I'm definitely going to make an effort to take my gear with me more and go for audio walks!

Thank you Bryan. Show Bryan some love, you can find him here:

Photos and stories about the people and places that make DeSoto County Mississippi a special place: desotostories.wordpress.com
Website: bryancoxphoto.com
Twitter: @bryancoxphoto
Instagram: @bryancoxphoto
Facebook: facebook.com/bryancoxphoto