This is one of the first faces I photographed with 1000faces in the back of my mind.
In February of 2008 I was in Austin on business. While I was there a few of us went out to have fun. We were all in a bar and a group of strangers came over and asked if I’d take their picture. I told them they probably wouldn’t ever see it but they didn’t care, they just wanted to have their picture taken. It was the first time I’d photographed strangers and it was fun.
Later that night on the street I took a few more pictures and then more at another bar. Not a lot, just a couple. When I got back to Boston I was at a local bar with my friend Matt. I was telling him about the fun I’d had photographing strangers in Texas and (I think) about my plan to continue. There were two women sitting next to us at the bar and eventually I asked if I could take their pictures. Both said “yes” and the woman above – Mel – was the first.
A whole lot of things were happening that night that I didn’t realize but which would have a big influence on the next couple of years. First, it was a Wednesday night, which was a night this bar had a band (at the time just a guy – Scott – playing guitar) and anyone who wanted to could get up and sing. Second, Mel and several of the others there that night were regulars and once I started showing up week after week I became one too. Third, I photographed at least 1000 people there over the next few years. In most cases they were, and remain, strangers; but in a few cases they became friends.
There was a lot of good that resulted from taking Mel’s picture more than six years ago now. I also saw some things that weren’t so good as well: poor choices, petty crimes, little dramas. All-in-all though the few years I was a regular there on Wednesday night’s were a lot of fun and I miss those times.