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I wish I was invisible.

Not in a creepy Clay Aiken sort of way, and I wouldn't want to be invisible all the time.

Three years of invisibility in middle school was enough, thank you very much.

It would come in handy, though, especially when kids are involved.

We're trained from an early age to smile and look at the camera — a reflex that is the bane of my professional experience. It's even worse when I’m photographing a child who isn't paying any attention to me until a parent tells him or her to "smile and look at the camera!"

"What's the big deal?" you may be asking as you scratch your head. It's OK, my head itches sometimes, too.

The big deal is that photojournalists try to capture real moments, and camera awareness means that the photographer has become the cause of that moment. No amount of saying, "pretend I'm not here!" can bring back that real moment and if you tell somebody to not look at the camera, then it's just as false.

My least favorite part of those situations is swallowing all the blood that comes from biting my tongue to keep from yelling obscenities at the well-intentioned parent.

And that's what sucks about the majority of the annoyances I encounter on the job. They're generally innocuous and well-intentioned, so it's hard to be mad.

Sometimes, though, it's hard to see what the intentions were aside from kids being kids.

Such was the case when I caught the attention of one kid as I tried to capture the excitement of young Southridge fans cheering on Suns players as they headed toward the locker room.

It's always disheartening to see that one face gawking at the camera when I get them up on the computer screen. True, it's not a groundbreaking photo, but I liked the sense I got from these kids looking up to the high schoolers — a sense that is completely ruined by the inexplicably goofy face.

But I was no different not so long ago, and if my dad reads this, he'll probably smile and feel like a little slice of justice has been served.


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