So, this is the first post of the New Year and my new project: the 100 Strangers Project. The task is to find 100 strangers willing to be photographed while I try not to have a heart attack in the process.
WHY is this so difficult for me? I don’t know. I learned last spring in a street photography course that I’m really, really chicken when it comes to this stuff. And it’s not that I have an issue with talking to people generally; it’s just that bringing a camera into the mix is a totally different story.
I feel weird about it. But that’s what this project is about: getting over that.
So today, I drove to a local dog park, trying to talk myself into this thing. There were a couple of runners, but it didn’t feel right to stop them. Then there was an older woman just stepping out of her car and wearing the most interesting leopard print coat, but I was afraid I might scare her. (I know, I know: excuses!) Each person I passed intimidated me. Just as I turned around, ready to return to my car with my tail between my legs so-to-speak, I ran into Alfie and his owner. As Alfie squatted suddenly to do his business, his owner cracked a joke, “Well, this is not the best first impression.”
This was my opportunity. I explained about the project and was so thrilled and relieved to find that he was willing to help me out!
This is actually the only shot I took, and if I could do it over again, I sure would (maybe ask him to pose with Alfie, get in tighter, get out of the direct sunlight, adjust some settings), but I was dealing with a serious case of nerves, so as far as I’m concerned, it counts. It may not be my finest work technically (and note: this was not in any way caused by the subject but because of ME), but it was most definitely a valuable learning experience.
Project veterans would have certainly asked Alfie’s owner for his name (DOH!) and chatted with him more. I did a little more research, and it seems that most photographers doing this project do seek to share a little bit of the person’s story. Well, I’m surely not THERE yet.
I don’t know when this is going to get any easier for me, but HUGE thanks to Alfie’s owner for helping me get started! I so appreciate your kindness.