Point of view: What kindergartners have taught me

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As a photojournalist, I sometimes become intertwined with events. I was in a courtroom once, on my knees photographing a celebrity defendant. So many photographers were crowding around her that I could not have stood up if I'd wanted to. An ignored, noncelebrity defendant seated adjacent to our focus looked at me and asked: "Don't you feel ridiculous?" "I can't even think about it," I replied.

I found myself in the spotlight the other day. Done photographing fans crowding the rally site, I needed to get to the starting point of the New England Patriots' Super Bowl victory parade. With sidewalks packed with people, I opted for walking the parade route, empty save for a sprinkling of police.

The bored-with-waiting onlookers seized on me with interest: "Hey, take my picture!" "What newspaper do ya work for?" Signs waved. Fans proffered their hands to high-five me. "Take our picture!"

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Kindergartners have taught me not to comply with such requests, for if you shoot one poser, the whole class of ready-for-my-close-up tots is disrupted. Rather than risk a fan eruption, I kept walking (smiling faintly, but keeping eyes forward), seemingly oblivious to cries of, "Aw, c'mon, why not?"

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