I cannot tell you how delighted I am to be able to add another person into my 100 Strangers Project. If you’re a regular reader of my blog (thank you) then you will no doubt know that I quite like street photography, and those that know my Flickr Photostream will probably have seen more in my Street Photography album. The strangers however are different.
I must ask permission from each stranger for them to be included in the project. Sometimes I have a little fear and trepidation with the street photography, but walking up to somebody and asking them if you can take their picture is terrifying for me. Right outside my comfort zone. I was lucky with Ewan as we’d been introduced by a mutual acquaintance an hour or so before. I didn’t feel the same level of fear as usual. As it has been about five months since my last stranger, Brian, I was happy to have it a little easier than usual. There was no guarantee that Ewan would agree, but I felt it was a little easier than usual. A welcome confidence boost when he complied. I was also pleased with how I stood him where background distractions would be as minimal as possible, posed him, and used bounce flash to create a nice soft light. All in all I’m very happy.
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A while ago I started a popular photo project called 100 Strangers. The idea is that you take a portrait of 100 strangers that you meet in life. You have to ask their permission to take the photograph and upload it to the group. There were various reasons I decided to take on this project.
Readers of this blog will have seen pictures of Lego, the night sky, landscapes, flowers and other objects that never refuse to have their photograph taken. A stranger is just as likely to say no as yes, or possibly more so.
Pictures of people do have a certain appeal. We are interested in the lives of others.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone
I do enjoy street photography, but I have a certain amount of anonymity with this. I can hide (in plain sight) and have no reason to approach or interact with people other than to steal an photograph as they pass by. With the strangers project I have to interact, I have to speak to people, and I have to ask permission for the photo and to upload it. There is nowhere to hide.
If I do get the chance to take portraits of people I need to be able to set up the camera and the shot without thinking about it. If I’ve take pictures of 100 strangers then I will have had 100 mini unplanned photo sessions which should stand me in good stead when a pre-planned portrait session comes up.
I knew this project would take me a long time to complete. I had no intention of rushing through it in a couple of months. I need to take my time to learn from each stranger, let the lesson sink in, and move on from there.
Of late I have been a little lethargic with the project. Too much time was passing between each stranger. I lost my bottle. That was all up until this week.
I am very glad to report that I am back on track with the project. I met a very interesting young man called Batu, got to know him, asked if he’d let me take his picture, explained the project, and took the shot. This makes me happy. That’s 40 down and 60 to go.