When I left school, I suffered from a crippling shyness towards women. It took me many years to overcome it. My entire college life was spent under its brutal interference.
The exception were women who were friends, one of whom is photographed here (in the blue dress). They were friends, not potential partners, so shyness didn’t shut me up. The lady in question had a wicked sense of humour, too, which had a lot to do with the friendship—and that photo.
Photography gave me a strange route out of my shyness. I found I could interact with pretty women when snapping; and they were happy for me to do so, usually. Hiding behind the lens reduced the shyness to surmountable. (I later found the lens had the same numbing effect on my fear of heights.)
So photography enabled me to speak to even the most beautiful, those who were way out of my league (so thought student me), as the second photograph shows. I wouldn’t normally have dared go within a hundred yards of a woman as classically beautiful as that young lady. From her photographed reaction, I’m not so sure I got the “er, can I take your photo” bit right, though: even then I preferred unposed images.
My student photography didn’t always provoke a positive response, as the last photo shows. Fortunately, I didn’t notice; I was too busy taking the photo.