100 Strangers Project, Set 3

Another set of portraits, finally! Special thanks to Nick Mansfield and Katherine Stout for lighting assistance and moral support. 

I've been busy at work lately and shooting more strangers' portraits on weekends, so now I'm backlogged and working to catch up on my edits. As of today, I've photographed 37 total people for this project.

Looking back at my first two blog posts, I haven't been writing enough about the people that I'm photographing. I've been so focused on the photography and the editing, that I've neglected the context. So I thought I'd add a little more, because I think it makes the photos better. (I may go back and add more to the first two posts...)

Tiffany (Stranger 16) was the first person I photographed after a long hiatus from this project. I was nervous, like I always am on the first approach of the day, but as I walked toward her, she smiled, and I knew she'd say yes. Although her tattoos added interest to the portrait, I can't deny that I was struck by how beautiful she is. She was sitting at a bar, exactly as you see her in the photo, already lit perfectly by light bouncing from the buildings across the street. When I spoke with her, I was struck, again, by her green eyes. I'll have to post a color version, or maybe one of the earlier test shots, where I was much closer and cropped tighter.

When I started this project, I decided that I was going try and stick with a consistent style. I'm shooting everything with a 105mm prime, always at f/4, portrait orientation, and always in black and white. Shooting Tiffany's portrait, I kind of regretted some of those choices. I put a little more distance between us because I wanted to show her seated at the bar with the light that was already on her, and to do that in portrait orientation meant that she'd be much smaller in the frame. Also, in black and white, and at this distance, we can't appreciate her eyes. I was still happy with the result, though, and I may have an alternate test shot I can show later. 

Nick (Stranger 17) was in a festive mood, lets say. He'd just enjoyed a number of...beverages. It was a struggle to get him to keep still and not make funny faces at me. I clicked the shutter maybe four or five times before he was off, stumbling. He was very nice, though, and even invited us back to his house for more...festivities. 

Eda and Emre (Strangers 18 and 19) are a young couple. They were visiting from Turkey. They surprised me when they said yes to having a portrait made. I figured there'd be some cultural or language barrier. But they were game. I photographed both of them a little too deep in the shade of a building, and I was using a white reflector which was not bouncing very much light. I should have used silver. My lighting was flat and that was disappointing because I thought these two were great subjects. I think I still got decent pictures, though. 

Jeff (Stranger 20); I was all but certain that he was going to be a "no." But he was another surprise "yes." I decided he needed a little more direct light, but I didn't like that his background was going completely to black. It wasn't until I looked at it later, on the monitor, that I decided that the black background worked. He had the right look for this kind of light. 

Joyce (Stranger 21); her retro looking camera and case caught my eye. Nick (Mansfield, not to be confused with Stranger 17) says that when I approached her, she actually put her hand on her camera. She must have thought I was going to snatch it, I guess...

That's it for this set. I'm working on the next set of 5 for next week. 

See you next time.