Embrace the Absurd
I had read about street portraits, there are people in the world that revel in this sort of thing. You can see their work on Tumbler, WordPress and Flickr demonstrating the talents that they have at spotting a shot and grabbing it. They Blog and tweet about it, how liberating it is, how they have never had a bad experience. The people they approach are always nice and always delight in having an impromptu portrait taken. I never believed these photographers. For me the notion is absurd, why would you want pictures of strangers, why would a stranger let you take their picture?
I like people, I love talking to strangers and generally I am the one in a crowd that will start a conversation with someone that is not expecting it, but taking a picture is completely different, so began a new goal in life, embrace the absurd. I headed out with my film camera with the notion that I could just walk up to a stranger and tell them that I wanted to take their photo. This for me proved to be difficult and I spent a bit of time wandering the streets of Dublin looking for someone to photograph.
Dublin is a good sized city and on a Saturday afternoon there are plenty of people knocking about but I found it very hard to find a photo. I took couple of shots of bands busking on the streets to build my confidence, singers want to be photographed, they love the attention. Soon I started to notice people in the crowds that to me looked interesting, a Father with his Daughter on his shoulders, two girls with a mountain of shopping, a man collecting for charity. I spotted a man that was standing enjoying a fire eaters antics and I decided that he should be immortalised.
I walked up to him and asked could I take his picture, he told me to go ahead and then posed like it was his job. He did not ask why I wanted it, who I was or what I was planning on doing with his image, he just walked off. Picture taken and since I had not been killed I repeated the exercise until my roll of film was spent.
I still don’t know why I want pictures of strangers, I still think it is absurd, but I now know why some people enjoy this so much.
Film: Kodak TRI-X 400
Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D
Dev: HC110 (B) 4.5min 20c