A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 12, 2009

100 Strangers

One of the more challenging photographic endeavors I have been working on is stranger photography. I am participating in a group known as "100 Strangers." AnthonyThe group seeks to help it's participants build the skills and chutzpah to request a portrait of a complete stranger, and quickly compose and get the shot.

The social challenges are great. Getting past the reluctance to approach and request a photograph of a stranger is an obstacle for many photographers. Once the person agrees, getting them to relax and drop their guard is the next hurdle. All the while, the photographer must quickly evaluate lighting conditions, composition, and the best angle for the subject. Quietening fears of how the image will be used is also a challenge.

My first stranger photography actually was done years ago in the Orient. That was a different time and place though. Times have changed. I first began to approach strangers for photographs at the Tea Party I documented some time back. Most of those people were hoping to be documented by the media, and were happy to pose. TabithaPeople such as Anthony, who I approached as he was fishing, are often more reluctant.

People moving along the street are even more recalcitrant about a quick photograph. Tabitha was attending a concert, and at first wanted five bucks for a photo. When I turned to walk away, she agreed to a photograph or two for free. The spontaneity of the resulting images is one of it's greatest attractions for me. It's a lot like fishing with shiners. You never know what you will come home with.

The objective of the group is to learn a little about the person, to make contact and have them agree to a photograph. Candid shots and long range telephoto shots are not admissible. 100 Strangers is one of the most energizing photographic endeavors I have undertaken. I am up to fifty-nine strangers now. I am using my Nikon D200 with a 50mm or 28mm lens. I noticed early on that I had a tendency to stay within my comfort zone with people not unlike myself, and I took steps to rectify that. The experience has been exhilarating. After I reach a hundred strangers, I intend to continue with the project.

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Blogger Stoney Pete said...

You have me pumped to try this. Thanks for the great idea.

6:59 AM  

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