Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fifty Strangers

 It's been quite a while since I posted anything here. The past two years have seen a fair upheaval in my life. I said farewell to Melbourne after over three decades and now reside in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales - a thousand miles to the north. Now it's time to get off the rear end and concentrate once more on photography.

Zack Arias used a term for this. He called it a GOYA project.
What that meant was "Get Off Your A.."
You get the idea. Get up and do what you have to do. Stop making excuses, stop wasting time, stop procrastinating.

So I've set myself a project to get the juices flowing again. The idea is to shoot fifty strangers. That is, approach fifty total strangers and get their permission to make a portrait of them, there and then, where and when I find them. Ideally the image should reveal a piece of who they are.

 Sounds easy - or does it? Walk up to fifty people you've never met, introduce oneself, engage in conversation and get permission to make the image. Actually it's not quite as easy as it sounds, even for someone of a gregarious nature.

This is a different approach form the way street photographers operate. Street photography is generally of a more candid nature, looking for the unscripted, 'decisive moment'.

So last week I found myself in Byron Bay with one camera, two prime lenses (35mm and 85mm) looking for the first of the fifty strangers that I hope to photograph. I would have been happy to shoot just two, but ended up with four people who agreed to be photographed. Bless 'em. I'm not sure how long it will take me to complete this self assignment nor even what the outcome will be. I guess the answer to that will become evident along the way.

That's what he said his name was. P R as in Pirate Rick. Or as he said it - P RRRRRRR
He was playing the ukulele and singing. He had an infectious laugh and a great outlook. He said "Don't send a copy, I don't use email.  Give someone a hug instead!"
You can't argue with that sort of sentiment.

Vincent was sitting in a doorway making ashtrays from discarded drink cans.  They actually looked OK. People would come along and give a donation for them.  He was from France. He didn't say so, but I got the feeling that this was helping to pay for his visit.

As I was walking down the street I noticed the casual way in which he was sitting at an outdoor cafe.  I'm not sure I've seen anyone sitting in such an easy way at an eatery.  When I asked him if I could make the image he said "I'm here, man. Go for it."  Big smile, good nature.  There should be more like him.

Stacy was sitting near Cameron and observed what we were doing.  When asked, she also readily agreed.
Here Stacy is feeding Tyler, her son.  She told a remarkable story. Tyler is her first child.  Now in her mid-forties, Stacy has been trying for a child since her late twenties and after years of IVF is the proud and very loving mother of a beautiful boy.
May she have many years of great blessings.

So there it is.  Four requests made.  Four requests granted.

I dare say there will be a few refusals coming my way, but I've made a start and I quite enjoyed the experience.  I'm looking forward to the rest of this particular journey.

My thanks to PR, Vincent, Cameron and Stacy.

Stay safe