If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that most of the photographs I take are of food or nature, with occasional other inanimate objects mixed in here and there. What you rarely see on this blog is photographs of people.
There are two reasons for that. First: I am not a parent and therefore do not have ready access to adorable children who can act as my subjects. Second (and undoubtedly the larger issue): taking pictures of real live people is quite stressful. I suspect my hesitation stems from my feeling that taking a person's photograph is something of an unwelcome intrusion into personal space, likely to be met with scowling, rolling of eyes, and irritated sighs.
Of course (so I'm told), not everyone feels that way. Some people are quite happy to be photographed. In fact, some people can't get enough of the camera.
With that reassuring thought in mind, and feeling quite inspired by the portraits of talented photographers like Ciao Chessa and nicolejoy1, I have been gathering my nerve for some time to take a plunge into people photography and participate in the 100 Strangers project. 100 Strangers is a website that challenges people to improve their street photography by taking pictures of 100 complete strangers. (And no photos on the sly; you actually have to get permission.)
Below are my first four strangers.
While walking in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden not too long ago my father pointed out these four people--three of them feverishly text-messaging on their cell phones, and one clearly just enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and smell of the roses. It was an amusing scene and so I decided to go for it and ask the group if I could photograph them. The text-messagers happily assented, and told me that it was quite appropriate that I should want to photograph them because their mother (far left) is 105 years old.
A 105-year old woman enjoying a sunny June day in the gardens with her children is certainly worthy of photographic commemoration. As she gracefully shook my hand and approved the photograph, I felt quite confirmed in my decision to give this project a try.