For a long time I’d only photograph people if they were in the way. Except for family members, it was pretty rare for me to actually intend to take someone’s picture. I have no idea why that was the case but for years it was. This past spring I was in Austin, TX. While I was out one night a group of women asked me to take their pictures. I have no reason why, its not like they were ever going to see them or anything.
I liked the way the pictures came out though – close in, from the shoulders up and with a flash – and started taking more . . . and more. This summer I was at PodCamp Boston and was starting to feel a little bored. I hit on the idea of trying to photograph all of the attendees. I didn’t get everyone but did manage to get 140 or so people. I really liked the way all the faces looked one after the other. I sat around thinking about it and eventually came up with the idea for 1000 Faces.
After PodCamp I probably had 200 pictures or so. I started looking at other events and started taking more pictures. My main source has been the Chicken Bone, a bar near my house. The people there are great and really good sports about me wandering around with my camera. Bars in general are great places to photograph people – but so are meetings, the street, events, etc.
I’ve learned a few things while doing this. First, having a big beard *seems* to put some people off. When I started I was bearded and the number times I heard “no” was pretty high. I actually did a little test one night. A friend and I were out walking and drinking. I was getting shot down more than usual and was getting kind of bummed out about it. I handed her the camera and no one said no to her. Lesson – people are more comfortable with attractive 24 year old women then bearded 42 year old guys. (I’ve since shaved and have noticed way more people say yes.)
Another thing I’ve learned. People seem to like photographs of women more than of men. I’m not saying this is science or anything but that’s sure how it looks to me. At some point I need to look at other variables – age, eye color, hair color, etc. – to see what role they play in viewing preference.
I’ve also proven (to myself at least) that all people are good looking at some level. When I take these pictures I really do see how attractive people are – women and men, young and old. It’s been funny the number of people who tell me they don’t photograph well but who then say, “wow, that’s a good picture, can I have it?” I always say yes.
Right now the photos only live on Flickr. What I’d love to do is find a place to display them. I imagine them printed larger than life and mounted along a long corridor so they can be walked past and appreciated. Too often we walk past each other in life and never look at the faces around us to see and appreciate just how beautiful people are.
Take a moment and check it out. And let me know if you’d be cool with me taking your picture.
[tags]1000faces, photographs, faces, men, women, flickr, gregpc[/tags]