They say Saturday night’s alright for fighting but it’s even better for photography if you ask me – and this past Saturday was one of the best. It was the first time in a while that I shot full on strangers on the street and it was a blast.
I always enjoy photographing people but there’s something different about approaching someone you don’t know, in a place you have no connection to, and asking for a photograph. There are three responses. People can ignore you. They can say “no.” They can say “yes.” I’m fascinated by how people respond, how they interact with me and how they face the camera.
If you’ve had your picture taken by me you know there’s no mistaking what I’m doing. I stand less than two feet from whomever I’m photographing and my lens (a Tokina 12-24) is not something you can easily ignore. People can use the UV filter as a mirror and many do. Then there’s the external flash. No, there’s nothing about the process that isn’t in the person’s face and I like it that way.
Occasionally people suggest that I use a zoom so I can photograph people more candidly. No way! I want people to know what I’m doing. I always ask and I want them to share their face with me as they would anyone else – openly and looking clearly ahead. It’s how we look at the world and that’s what I want in the faces I photograph.
Everyone was really great. I think in the whole night there were only one or two people who said “no” to being photographed. Most people were totally into it and had a great time. Here are some of the shots from that night. You can see all my faces on Flickr.
One thing I wonder about is whether or not to write descriptions of the people in my pictures. Sometimes I’d love to but I think that changes things too much.