"I just saw you walk by. When you turned your head I caught a glimpse at your expression. So open and friendly! Your face illuminates your surrounding. "
How did he react?
His reaction lived up to his face's promise: He was absolutely taking it, smiling, chatting with me and cool with being filmed. Sunny day, sunny face, sunny guy. Perfect moment!
How did I feel?
TV cameras fascinate people. They scare them, too. I learned that yesterday. A WDR team was accompanying me during my compliment walk through Bonn. None of the passengers complained about the team standing in their way or intruding into their hangout zones. Instead people went apart, watching. Kids asked what we were doing. Everyone wanted to see what was happening in front of the camera while no one actually wanted to stand there. I complimented 7 people of which two were cool with being filmed. The others were not. Don't get me wrong, I like when people draw boundaries. If they don't feel comfortable they don't feel comfortable. I respect that. And it's not like I feel completely at ease being filmed myself. But if someone says "I better not appear on camera for I am too unphotogenic." And you feel they aren't fishing for compliments but they actually, truely believe it (and you have complimented them on their very aesthetic looks) it makes me sad. Photogenic- what does that even mean? And does it really exist? I doubt it.
I was glad everyone still took the compliments. At the end of the day that's what it comes down to. Yet I was double glad when Nils walked by after three incredibly beautiful girls had said no to being filmed- and he didn't mind the camera.
I have not met this guy before but I am one hundred percent sure he is a great person. It was not only the way his expression shone in the first place or his reaction to the compliment- but he also sent me the sweetest email hours after we'd met, saying " Ui, this was one big camera! But thank you so much for what you said, it reminded me of how awesome receiving a compliment feels. Though the whole thing happened a while ago I am still grinning broadly as I am typing these words!"
Thank you Nils, reading your email was my moment of the day!
Yes. There was an eighth compliment that day: I told the team they'd been awesome. i really enjoyed the shooting. It was a new experience I felt lucky to gain and very thankful for. And: the three of them were super cool people! Professionals who hadn't forgotten how to relax, treat each other kindly and be spontaneous while working. They didn't mind my questions about cameras and procedures. Thanks to Philip, the camera guy, I now know what focal distance means! I was stunned by the way one can make sceneries look through a camera- Philip definitely knew how to work that thing. And I got a latte art coffee at the FAZ Café :) They chose their questions well and I felt comfortable answering because I got to look into Gisela's (the reporter) friendly eyes and watch her nodding to what I said. The 4 hours I spent with them felt like hanging out with friends rather than some sweaty outdoor work day. I had fun! Thank you guys.
One more thing: Shooting in Bonn made me realize how lucky I am to be studying in paradise. Check out bits of the campus below...