Stranger 001

Stranger 001
Strange
Image by dkuropatwa
It was very hard for me to take this picture.

"This picture is #1 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100Strangers.com"

I was trying out an assignment I had suggested for Jim Groom’s ds106 class:

"This would be a hard one for me but I’d love to give it a go because I think the results would be fascinating. Walk up to a complete stranger and ask them if you can take their picture a la the 100 strangers project. Also, using a mobile device or mp3 recorder and with the stranger’s permission, record a brief conversation with them; get their story. Building on one of the ideas already submitted, add sound effects (or not if that enhances the storytelling experience best) to give it a textured soundscape. Try to keep it brief, 2 minutes might be too long. Mind you if the story is really compelling, well, you gotta learn when to break the rules too. (It might be interesting to speak with a homeless person.) Post the picture and audio track on slideshare.net, voicethread, flickr, or wherever you think you might be able to give it life beyond this assignment. Try to include a few lines about how doing this impacted you personally when you post. I wouldn’t require this but it would add more depth to the experience."

As I was shopping at Walmart I decided to try to take my first Stranger Picture. I noticed two things.

Looking for someone to take a portrait shot of I was struck by how many interesting faces the people around me had hinting at all sorts of untold stories.

The second thing: I found myself behaving extra polite & gracious to everyone I came across ("No, you go ahead."). I figured if I was going to ask someone for the favour of a picture & interview I ought to at least be polite about it.

I came across this fellow reading a comic book in a quiet aisle and decided to ask him I’d I could take his picture. I felt very uncomfortable. He was good natured and willing to let me take a picture but wasn’t comfortable with me recording any audio of our conversation. I told him I was going to post it to the Internet and that if he didn’t like the way the audio sounded or the picture looked I would delete it right in front of him. Afterward I realized I didn’t even tell him my name which might have helped make him feel more comfortable.

I’ve got to plan better for my next picture. I’ve got to have some questions in the holster that make them feel comfortable having their picture taken and sharing a story about themselves. I’ve also decided that whatever audio I capture should be complementary to my subject.

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